In a Nutshell: Rebels drop Magnolia Bowl battle to LSU, 53-48
Between LSU’s huge upset at Florida last week and Ole Miss being forced to take a full three weeks off without a game, it turns out momentum means something. While Ole Miss showed some rust from the time on the sideline, the Tigers’ confidence was riding high after the win in Gainesville.
The Rebels outscored LSU 27-20 in the second half, but too many mistakes doomed Ole Miss to lost 53-48 to end the regular season at 4-5.
Here is The Rebel Walk’s look at the Magnolia Bowl win in a nutshell:
THE POSITIVE: The special teams. Not only did Jerrion Ealy score on a 100-yard kickoff return, but Mac Brown averaged 47.3 yards a punt including a boot of 51. Luke Logan made all six of his conversions.
THE NEGATIVE: The offensive line. The opus of Corral’s interceptions cannot just be on him. All day, Corral could not properly set up in the pocket. He was forced to move around and throw off-balanced. Corral ran for 158 yards, yet many of those were scrambles or designed runs to allow the defenders to run by him as he faked to pass.
THE KEY UNIT: The rushers, and not the ones on the defensive front. On the offensive side, Corral ran for 158 yards, while Henry Parrish added 82, Ealy notched 44, and Snoop Connor ran for 23.
THE KEY PLAY: Pick a pick. All four interceptions in the first half led to 27 points. The five interceptions led directly to 33 LSU points. It is hard to win a game when the opposition is spotted nearly five touchdowns.
THE MOMENTUM SHIFTER: The sack. Ole Miss had a lead and just needed to get a few first downs and burn the rest of the clock for the win. But, facing a third down, Corral was under immense pressure which resulted in a sack for a 13-yard loss, forcing the Rebels to punt. The sack energized the LSU sideline and let them know the Tigers only needed a game-tying field goal after they had nailed a game-winner last week at Florida. Instead, LSU took that momentum and turned it into a game-winning touchdown.
WHAT THIS MEANS GOING FORWARD: Well, first there should be a bowl game. But who can play depending on who is available? Elijah Moore and Kenny Yeboah each opted out of the season last week so they could heal some nagging injuries and prepare for the NFL Draft — but both Ealy and Braylon Sanders each left the Tiger Stadium field with apparent ankle injuries and neither returned.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.