Rebels pull off upset of sixth-ranked Tigers

By By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

OXFORD, Miss. — Apparently LSU can’t take a hint.

There was, after all, plenty of advance warning by the time the Tigers squared off with Ole Miss that this was no ordinary

day in the Southeastern Conference.

But after an afternoon of one upset after another, it got a little nuttier still in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Instead of bringing some sanity after

four SEC upsets, LSU played right along as Ole Miss’ Andrew Ritter

kicked a 41-yard

field goal with two seconds remaining to give the unranked,

injury-depleted Rebels a 27-24 victory over the No. 6-ranked Tigers.

“This one is on me, I take it,” LSU head coach Les Miles said of the loss. “I did a poor job of preparing this football team

for playing this game.

“There is a way I could prepare this team to put them in a better position, emotionally, and prepare them to play in the kind

of stadium they played in tonight.”

By the time LSU got finished with a desperate multi-lateral kickoff return that would have needed help from the Stanford band

for any hope of survival, the party was on in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Also, most of LSU’s season dreams were pretty well shattered.

So say goodbye to LSU’s SEC title hopes, let alone the BCS. Gone in 60 minutes as the Tigers fell to 6-2, 3-2 in the SEC.

Hold off on declaring the Tigers’ defense LSU-worthy again. It’s back to the drawing board on that one after LSU gave up 525

yards to the up-tempo Rebels.

Also send out an all-points bulletin on that new-and-improved offense. It hit a big rut from an unexpected source and was

shut out in the first half by an Ole Miss defense that was missing five starters.

LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who threw only two interceptions in LSU’s first seven games, threw three interceptions

in the first half, two in the end zone, all three to kill potential scoring drives that might have come in handy later.

It certainly wasn’t a fluke. Ole Miss outgained LSU 525-388, the Rebels led by 17 early in the second half and had an answer

to all of the Tigers’ comeback attempts.

Finally, the Rebels drove 61 yards in 14 plays, burning all but two seconds off the clock after LSU tied the game with 3:19

to play on Mettenberger’s 4-yard pass to Jarvis Landry.

“I think we came out a little flat,” said LSU running back Jeremy Hill, who was held to 64 yards rushing. “It wasn’t anything

they did. It was more on us.

“We just didn’t execute like we have for the entire season — like we should have been. We started clicking a little in the

second half but …”

But by then the Tigers’ defense seemed to be in a fog.

“There were a lot of missed breaks on balls,” LSU safety Ronald Martin said. We’ve got to fix that.”

“People start getting anxious,” said defensive tackle Ego Ferguson, whose blocked field goal kept LSU in it and allowed the

Tigers to tie the score late. “That’ll hurt you in the end.”

Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace strafed the Tigers for 346 yards passing while completing 30 of 39 passes and his scrambling

legs were also a key to the Rebels converting 11 of 18 third downs.

He did a little of both in directing the game-winning drive.

“I feel like I missed a tackle,” Ferguson said. “Getting a sack would have been a different story. A couple of busted coverages

… and they just drove the ball down and got in field goal range.”

Backup Rebel running back Jaylen Walton gashed LSU for 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“I saw some missed tackles that we have to get corrected,” Miles said. “I saw pressure on the quarterback, too, (but) I think

the Ole Miss quarterback played extremely well.

The LSU quarterback, not so much.”

Mettenberger’s final numbers didn’t look so bad — 19 of 33 for 274 yards and the touchdown to Landry.

But Mettenberger had thrown more than one interception only once before in his career — last year against Ole Miss when he

had two — before serving up three in the first half, all while trying to go deep. Two of them came on first downs.

“Those were throws that should not have been made,” Miles said, suggesting Mettenberger should have been more patient. “The

(other) routes had plenty of options. He just needed to throw a completion.”

The tone was set early. LSU’s second possession started at the Ole Miss 38 after Odell Beckham’s 21-yard punt return. But

Mettenberger’s throw toward Beckham was picked off.

The raucous Ole Miss crowd suddenly got into the game and never left.

“That changed the complexion of the game,” Miles said. “We had great position. We should have just put it in there and scored

first.”

Mettenberger also threw into double coverage for the other two interceptions.

“Again, that’s on me,” Miles said. “I could easily have said, let’s go through an intermediate throw. My fault.”