In a Nutshell: Ole Miss falls to LSU, 45-20, in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE, La. – The perfect Ole Miss season ended in Tiger Stadium Saturday with a 45-20 loss to LSU. Here is a quick breakdown of what happened.
THE POSITIVE: Another quick start. Ole Miss scored touchdowns on its first two drives, but after that, did not see the end zone again. Quick starts are great, but a team must sustain the effort. After the early lead, Ole Miss was outscored 42-3.
THE NEGATIVE: Missed tackles and missed opportunities. Ole Miss missed numerous tackles in the game to allow Tiger runners to gain additional yards. That is nothing new in college football this season as many teams seem to be missing tackles.
Ole Miss missed an easy touchdown in the second quarter when Jonathan Mingo was a few steps behind the LSU defense, but the pass was overthrown. Had that connection worked, the Rebels would have had the momentum.
Dart and Mingo missed another connection early in the fourth quarter as Ole Miss was trying to mount a comeback. Instead of having a big gain, the Rebels ended up punting.
There were also costly penalties. Ole Miss was called for ten penalties for 111 yards, and they came at inopportune times.
THE OUTSTANDING UNIT: The offensive line. For the most part, the offensive front gave time for Jaxson Dart time to throw and created holes to allow Quinshon Judkins room to run. But late in the game, LSU was able to pin its ears back and rush the passer and the line could not keep up with the onslaught.
THE TURNING POINT: With Ole Miss driving to possibly take the lead in the third quarter, Dart was pressured into throwing a bad pass that the Tigers intercepted in the end zone. LSU then took the ball and drove downfield to take a lead the Rebels could not overcome.
THE PLAYERS THAT MADE A DIFFERENCE: Quinshon Judkins and Malik Heath.
With Zach Evans unable to play, Judkins became the workhorse. The true freshman ran 25 times for 111 yards and both Ole Miss touchdowns.
Heath was Jaxson Dart’s favorite target Saturday. The Mississippi State transfer caught seven passes for 144 yards. His production could have been better, but he left in the fourth quarter with an injury.
WHAT THIS MEANS GOING FORWARD: Well, it is good news for Alabama and LSU. With the win, the Tigers hold a tiebreaker over Ole Miss, but if Alabama can beat the Rebels and LSU, the Crimson Tide can get to the SEC Championship game.
For Ole Miss, the loss means there is no wiggle room left. To get to Atlanta, the Rebs must win out and hope for a bit of help.
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.