Last Modified: Saturday, November 17, 2012 11:25 PM
BATON ROUGE — Well, that was certainly different.
The rest of the Southeastern Conference all seemed to be toying with the notion of dropping down to the FCS Saturday, so LSU and Ole Miss, danged if they didn’t decide to have an out-of-body experience of Big 12 offenses gouging and flying through Pac-12 defenses.
Right there in Tiger Stadium, where offensive showcases come to die.
Beep-beep. See you later.
Not bad, actually. It was a little change of pace, a far more hectic pace once LSU realized what it was involved in.
Maybe it’s not the kind of thing the SEC wants to get out in public, certainly not what it wants on the national showcase telecast as long as the league is finger-wagging at the rest of the country that defense usually wins championships and mostly separates the SEC from the gimmicks and toys and new-age silliness of all the pretenders.
LSU 41, Ole Miss 35 — and a whole lot of points got lost on the way to an overworked scoreboard.
Keep it hush-hush … no matter how much fun it was to watch.
If you can’t beat ‘em, send everybody deep, air it out and join them — and LSU wasn’t going to beat Ole Miss any other way in the parallel universe that engulfed Tiger Saturday afternoon.
There was quite the celebration afterward, even if LSU’s proud defense might want to stay in hiding for a while and disavow any knowledge of what transpired with 890 combined yards finally gashed out big gulps at a time.
But I can only tell you that Les Miles had a ball. In fact, he got so excited that I can only print select parts of what he said in this particular family newspaper.
He doesn’t mind winning ugly and he doesn’t mind if occasionally it gets a little too exciting for any of his fans’ health.
He just likes to win.
He might wake up today regretting it, not so much for the expletive deletives in the heat of his merry excitement, but for seemingly enjoying watching his team survive a bona fide, last-team-with-the-ball, track-meet shootout.
It’s not the kind of thing LSU is usually comfortable with.
For all the experience it has had in THIS kind of game, LSU’s ruffians might as well have gotten themselves involved in a cricket match or the Daytona 500.
“I felt like I was a bowler at the bowling lane,” Miles said.
I have no idea what that means, but it was somehow fitting for a game where we didn’t really see much genuine LSU football.
There is something to be said for LSU winning a ping-pong match when you’re used to trusting your defense, yet watching it give up 463 yards (it only seemed like more).
LSU’s famed DBU — Defensive Back U. — often became Didn’t Have a Clue.
And still managed to make a contribution with three interceptions.
When Ole Miss finally got LSU’s attention in the fourth quarter … well, the Rebels needed two completions to cover 65 yards and take a 35-28 lead.
But when it absolutely had to, when Ole Miss was looking to break a 35-35 tie (avert your eyes, SEC) the LSU defense came up with back-to-back sacks for 20 yards, which is where dreams of 53-yard, go-ahead field goals go to die, in this case wide right.
“If they get a three-pointer there they take a commanding lead,” Miles said, deftly getting his sports mixed up again. “But that defense said no.”
LSU was still trailing, however, when it got so spooky it seemed they were milking this gag too far.
At the end of the first quarter, LSU took the opportunity to celebrate the second-most famous play in LSU-Ole Miss’ long history. The big screen rubbed Rebel fans’ noses in the 1972 Bert Jones-to-Brad Davis pass, with the two main characters smiling from and waving from the field.
Then, in the fourth quarter, Odell Beckham reminded them of the most famous play in the series when he picked up a punt not far from the same spot — the 11-yard line — where Billy Cannon became a legend forever in 1959.
Beckham’s journey finished 89 yards later in the end zone — roughly the same 89 yards Cannon (who was in a stadium suite watching) traversed — and the score was tied, and LSU had all the momentum.
That long-ago game was a 7-3 LSU victory, and both teams spent a lot of time giving up and punting on third down.
This one was — what? — a gazillion to a bazillion, with light years worth of offense and they both might still be scoring if two bewildered defenses had not stumbled onto forcing seven turnovers.
“Was it the same route?” Miles asked in his excitement of the punt return. “You need to check that. Was it the same day? Is this Halloween?”
No, it wasn’t Halloween.
It was something stranger still.
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Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org