It took a late fourth-quarter drive that lasted 4:03 for LSU (9-2,5-2) to secure a 41-35 win over visiting Ole Miss (5-6, 2-5), but it was a memorable game nonetheless for everyone in the stadium including the 2012 LSU seniors in their final home game played in Tiger Stadium.
In the 101st meeting on the gridiron between LSU and Ole Miss, it was yet another back-and-forth contest played between the two western division rivals. A type of game that seems like is played almost every time Ole Miss visits Red Stick.
LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger had his third-straight game of over 250 yards passing, finishing with 282 yards through the air on the day. However, unlike the previous two games, Mettenberger was not protective of the football, turning it over twice on interceptions. In a 21-20 contest at the time Mettenberger forced a throw in the end zone that was picked off by Ole Miss defender Senquez Golson. A mistake that Mettenberger and the LSU offense will need to work on in upcoming weeks in knowing game -situation and management.
Throughout the game, Mettenberger was hit hard and even had to leave the game for one play as he was shaken up by a blind-siding hit from an Ole Miss defender. Mettenberger showed his toughness and maturation as a big-time quarterback by being able to shake off both the turnovers and the tough hits he was taking all game, and was able to lead his offense down the field for the game-winning drive in the final minutes of Saturday’s contest.
Ole Miss was able to expose a weakness in the secondary as they were able to rack up over 300 yards passing on the day including touchdown passes of 56 and 30 yards to wide receiver Donte Moncrieff from quarterback Bo Wallace. LSU gave its most total yardage of the season, 463 yards, and was kept off-balance throughout the contest by Ole Miss’ read-option based offense. Wallace, along with his two touchdown passes, was able to scamper 58 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, giving the visiting Rebels a 7-0 lead to start the game.
However, the LSU defense was able to make some big plays in the game by forcing four turnovers to keep the contest in reach for LSU to pull of some late game magic.
The game-changing play for the Tigers occurred in the fourth quarter when Odell Beckham Jr. returned a punt from his own 11-yard line, began going left, cut up-field and made a couple Ole Miss defenders miss, then dashed to the outside and up the sideline before being escorted into the end zone by a number of fellow Tigers.
The 89-yard punt return is the same amount of yardage, down the same sideline, and eventually into the same end zone as the famous Billy Cannon return on Halloween night in 1959. Of course Cannon’s return had a little more on the line that night as both teams were competing for a potential national title-
LSU wraps-up its regular season schedule with a trip to Fayetteville the Friday after Thanksgiving to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks. With a win, LSU could potentially set itself up to be invited to be a participant in one of the illustrious BCS bowl games in January.