LSU gets treat with sweet win

Published 9:41 am Tuesday, October 28, 2014

BATON ROUGE — Another opponent’s dreams came to Tiger Stadium Saturday night and — just like Uncle Les preaches and warns and often garble-cackles — it was where they came … to die.

Sorry, Ole Miss.

It wasn’t personal.

But Happy Halloween anyway, in a ghoulish sort of way.

It just happened to be the Rebels in the way on a night Tiger Stadium decided to be Tiger Stadium again, even right to very spine-tingling end when nobody could leave early this time because every last Bourbon-laced vocal chord was needed and you mentioned corn dogs at your own risk.

No offense. It could have been anybody. And it’s not a place for faint-hearted.

Check outside Tiger Stadium and you’ll see the recent RIPs, five straight years now with the prop headstones of a top-10 opponent full of hopes and dreams that wandered into this nutty, ear-splitting place full of high aspirations and hoping to further pad a national resume’.

At least one per season met a similar demise now for the fifth straight year.

Alabama in 2010. Arkansas in 2011. South Carolina in 2012. Texas A&M with the Johnny Football Traveling Road Show last year.

LSU was only ranked higher than one of them, Arkansas in 2011.

Now it’s the Rebels, the co-darlings of this year’s football capital of Mississippi who’ve been vanquished. And against the most unlikely of Tigers, a team written off after their belly flop on the Auburn plains.

It’s almost become cliché around this place they call Tiger Stadium.

But cue the horror film anyway. Bring in a creaky staircase and crank up the organ.

Don’t open that door! Stay out of the cellar!

It’s Les Miles in a hockey mask! Here’s the Mad Hatter!

It was little consolation, but the Rebels and their dreams, unsuspecting as they may have been coming in, were in good company out there in Tiger Stadium’s faux cemetery.

Unbeaten and No. 3-ranked, Ole Miss had visions of the first College Football Playoff dancing its heads. The Rebels were in the midst of their best season since 1963 and LSU surely wasn’t, not with two losses already.

Les Miles wasn’t willing to go back that far.

“You might have thought we were back in the middle 1970s,” Miles said with more than a hint of satisfaction.

Whenever.

Actually, LSU’s 10-7 upset was a Stone Age scoreboard despite the best efforts of a new-age, no-huddle, up-tempo, spread-the-field outfit like the Rebels to streamline things and fast-forward to a slick victory.

The old Michigan Man evidently thought there’s a still a place for hard-nosed, in-your-face football in a pinball world.

Miles was a stubborn old coot Saturday night.

In a good sort of way.

Whether he trusts his quarterbacks or not, he was convinced that it didn’t matter and that his Tigers could line up and pound away at the nation’s No. 1-ranked scoring defense.

Just this week someone — it may have been me — scoffed at that notion and all but belittled it.

But Miles has a way of getting the last convoluted word. And he stuck with it — no matter the miscues that tried to foil the plan along the way.

Forward pass? He don’t need no stinking forward pass.

“We knew last week they figured out who they wanted to be,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. “That’s the best offensive line we’ve played. Defensively they’re kind of coming into their own.”

LSU was going to run and run and run.

And run they did. It seemed like more than the 264 yards I’m looking at on the stat sheet.

Never mind that for most of the night the old-fashioned Tigers had little to show for dominating the line of scrimmage.

Miles, whatever his faults, gets his players to play like wild men.

So it didn’t matter when they kept coming up empty at the business end of their impressive marches — a missed chip-shot field goal, a fumble into the end zone.

LSU was marching up and down the field like the Fifth Army and, yet, didn’t get a point to show for it until late in the first half and didn’t take have a lead until the 5:07 mark of the game.

It would have been easy to get frustrated.

Ole Miss’ only points came two plays after a dropped interception — and looked for all the world that that touchdown might hold up.

It was looking like the Tigers sure have warmed up to much to this spoiler’s role.

Remember, Kentucky still had some lofty ambitions itself when it arrived last week. Hard to recall after the Tigers 41-3 demolition, but there were suspicions along that the Wildcats were getting ahead of their ambitions.

But Ole Miss was the real deal.

And the Tigers seemed to be stockpiling what ifs and woulda-coulda-shouldas for the winter.

But somehow, Miles seems to get it done when you least expect it.

LSU gets a welcomed week off now, but perhaps now it’s worth saying without sounding like a fool.

Bring on Bama.

l

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU

athletics. Email him at

shobbs@americanpress.com(Associated Press)

Gerald Herbert