No. 1 Football Overcomes Rival Ole Miss, 41-24
OXFORD, Miss. — The top-ranked LSU football team won for the 18th-straight time in the month of November, getting the better of an offensive battle with rival Ole Miss on Saturday, 41-24, at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
LSU (10-1, 6-1 SEC) recorded its 10th win of the season for the third-consecutive time, a first in school history. The Tigers, who clinched the school’s first outright Southeastern Conference Western Division title, will face Arkansas on Friday, Nov. 23, at 1:30 p.m. CST in Tiger Stadium to complete the regular season.
Then, on Dec. 1, LSU will take on either Tennessee or Georgia in the SEC Championship game at 3 p.m. CST in the Georgia Dome. Tennessee needs a win over Kentucky in Lexington to secure its berth. A Tennessee loss would pit the Tigers and Bulldogs in the title game.
Looking to avoid the pitfalls of other top-ranked teams, LSU scored for four rushing touchdowns and answered a punt return touchdown by Ole Miss with a 98-yard kickoff return for a score by Trindon Holliday in the first quarter.
Charles Scott led the platoon of LSU running backs with 66 yards on only three carries including a 29-yard touchdown that capped the scoring late in the contest. Jacob Hester added 65 yards on 13 carries with a 2-yard score, while Keiland Williams carried five times for 41 yards with a 10-yard TD.
LSU quarterback Matt Flynn completed 17-of-25 passes for 168 yards without being intercepted. He scored LSU’s first touchdown of the game with a 5-yard run on the Tigers first drive of the game.
His favorite target was Early Doucet, who caught eight passes for 58 yards.
Tigers safety Craig Steltz had two interceptions and five tackles.
Though Ole Miss (3-8, 0-7 SEC) amassed 466 yards of total offense, LSU had an answer each time the Rebels tried to stay within a score. The Rebels close their 2007 season on Friday, Nov. 23, against in-state rival Mississippi State in Starkville.
The yardage was the most against the LSU defense since Sept. 10, 2005, when Arizona State had 560 in Tempe.
After starting Seth Adams, Ole Miss changed the pace of the game by inserting speedy quarterback senior Brent Shaeffer. Shaeffer, who played in four games this season, threw for 208 yards on 13-of-28 passing with two interceptions in the comeback attempt.
However, he was most effective running the ball. With LSU linebacker Darry Beckwith out with an injury, the Tigers had trouble containing Shaeffer, who scampered for a game-high 94 yards on eight carries with a 38-yard touchdown.
He also connected with Shay Hodge for a 33-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Adams played sparingly, completing 4-of-11 passes for 57 yards with an interception in the endzone when he was brought back into the game to end the first half.
Though the Rebels advanced to the Tigers 39-yard line on their first possession, LSU forced a Rebels punt after Adams threw consecutive incomplete passes.
On the ensuing possession, the Tigers started from their own 2-yard line after a downed punt, but put together the second-longest drive in the SEC this season.
LSU used an 11-yard catch by Demetrius Byrd and a 21-yarder by running back Richard Murphy to get out of their endzone’s shadow. The Tigers then marched into Rebels territory with runs of 7 and 21 yards by Williams before Flynn kept the ball on a quarterback option to score from the Ole Miss 5.
LSU led 7-0 with 7:37 left in the first quarter.
Ole Miss again pushed the ball into LSU territory, getting all the way to the LSU 2-yard line before Tigers linebacker Jacob Cutrera forced Green-Ellis to fumble. Linebacker Luke Sanders recovered at the LSU 1-yard line.
Special teams quickly became a factor in the game, as LSU was forced to punt from their 10. Patrick Fisher‘s punt was fielded by Green at the LSU 44, who ran by two over-pursing Tigers down the field and then untouched for a touchdown.
Though the Rebels tied the game at 7-7, it only lasted 14 seconds.
Speedy LSU return man Trindon Holliday took the Ole Miss kickoff at his 2-yard line, broke a pair of tackles then ran all alone down the left sideline for his second career kick return touchdown.
LSU led 14-7 with 3:04 left in the first quarter.
Neither team scored for the duration of the half.
Four penalties plagued the Tigers in the second quarter, while Ole Miss’ final 11-play drive of the half ended with a Craig Steltz interception thrown by Adams in the endzone.
To open the second half, LSU again dominated the Rebels on the edges and beat them with their speed.
After a short kickoff was returned to the LSU 46, Flynn connected with Doucet for 14 yards to the Ole Miss 35. On fourth-and-inches from the Ole Miss 26, the Tigers converted their ninth fourth-down of the season on 11 attempts to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, Williams sprinted around the left end for a 10-yard touchdown.
With 10:10 to play in the third quarter, LSU led 21-7.
Ole Miss was able to answer by getting a 35-yard reception and run by running back Bruce Hall to the LSU 11. Consecutive incomplete passes by Shaeffer fell incomplete, and the Rebels settled for a 23-yard field goal by Joshua Shene with 6:51 to play in the quarter.
The Tigers answered with consecutive field goals by Colt David of 48 and 46 yards to go ahead 27-10 with 11:36 to play.
Ole Miss wasn’t quiet done offensively, as the Rebels converted two third-and-long plays including a 38-yard scramble for a touchdown by Shaeffer with 9:11 to play.
Trailing 27-17, Ole Miss tried an on-side kick. However, LSU’s R.J. Jackson recovered with no problem. LSU couldn’t move the ball and were forced to punt.
Faced with second-and-18 after a sack by LSU defensive end Kirston Pittman on Shaeffer in LSU territory, the Ole Miss quarterback threw his first interception of the game. Steltz took the ball at the LSU 23-yard line to the Ole Miss 35 before being corralled. An illegal block by Ole Miss gave the Tigers first-and-10 at the Rebels 20.
Four plays later, Hester ran for a 2-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 34-17 with 3:44 left.
Just as it looked like the game was well in hand, Shaeffer again led the Rebels to a quick scoring drive. He completed a four-play, 68-yard drive with a 33-yard pass to Hodge.
Ole Miss trailed 34-24 with 2:54 left.
Another on-side kick was received by Hester. Two plays later, Scott ran for a 29-yard touchdown to cap the scoring.
LSU vs. Ole Miss
Nov. 17, 2007 ? Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (Oxford, Miss.)
1. LSU’s game captains were 7 Ali Highsmith, 74 Brett Helms, 6 Colt David and 81 Mit Cole.
2. LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. The Tigers kicked to open the game. LSU received the second half kickoff.
3. Tigers extending their consecutive starts streak today were: CB Chevis Jackson (37), LB Ali Highsmith (25), LT Ciron
Black (24), CB Jonathan Zenon (24), LG Herman Johnson (21) and DT Glenn Dorsey (19).
4. First-time starters for LSU in today’s game: FB Shawn Jordan.
5. LSU’s 98-yard scoring drive to open the game is its longest of the season.
6. LSU has scored on its first possession of the second half in nine of 11 games this season. Five of those nine scores have been touchdowns.
7. With a successful fourth down conversion in the first possession of the second half, LSU improved to nine of 11 on fourth-down conversions this season.
8. LSU extended its November winning streak to 18 games with the victory. The Tigers have not lost in the month of November since losing to Arkansas, 21-20, on Nov. 29, 2002 in Little Rock, Ark.
9. With the win over Ole Miss today, LSU has clinched the SEC Western Division title outright for the first time in school history.
10. Tonight’s win also … gives LSU 10 wins in three straight seasons, a first in school history … gives LSU six wins in the SEC for the fifth consecutive season, also a first in school history.
11. LSU improved to 14-2 in games played as the No. 1 ranked team.
1. QB Matt Flynn scored his third rushing touchdown of the season, and the fourth of his career, on a five-yard run with 7:37 to go in the first quarter.
a. Flynn’s three rushing touchdowns this year are the most by a quarterback in a season since Marcus Randall also had three in 2004.
2. With first quarter tackles, LB Ali Highsmith extended his streak to 37 straight games with a tackle and S Craig Steltz extended his streak to 21 straight games. With tackles in the second quarter, cornerbacks Chevis Jackson and Jonathan Zenon extended their streaks to 21 consecutive games, while DT Glenn Dorsey extended his streak to 27 straight games with a tackle in the third quarter.
3. PK Colt David‘s five extra points kicked in today’s game extended his consecutive PAT streak to 62, the fourth longest streak in LSU history.
a. David’s 53 PATs this season sets a single season school record. The total betters his own record of 50 set last year.
b. With successful field goal attempts of 48 and 43 yards today, David moved into sole possession of the Tigers’ single season records for field goals made (21) and field goals attempted (26). David has now made 11 straight field goal attempts, dating back to the Kentucky game.
c. David’s 11 points today give the senior kicker 122 points this season, a total that sets the single season scoring record. LaBrandon Toefield held the previous record of 114 points set during the 2001 season.
4. LB Jacob Cutrera‘s forced fumble with 5:32 in the first quarter was the first of his career.
5. RB Tridon Holliday returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score with 3:04 to go in the first quarter. The KO return for a TD is the second of his career (last Arkansas 2006) and ties as the fifth longest in school history, matching the distance of Jerry Stovall’s return against Georgia Tech on Oct. 6, 1962.
a. Holliday becomes the first player in school history to return more than one kickoff for a touchdown during his career.
7. With two interceptions today, S Craig Steltz now has six picks for the season and 11 for his career. The multiple pick game is his second of the season and second of his career as he picked off three passes in the Tigers’ season-opening win over Mississippi State.
8. RB Keiland Williams scored his sixth rushing touchdown of the season, and the 11th of his career, on a 10-yard run early in the third quarter.
9. RB Jacob Hester scored his ninth rushing touchdown of the season, and the 17th of his career, on a two-yard run in the fourth quarter.
10. With eight receptions today, WR Early Doucet moved into a tie with Craig Davis for seventh on LSU’s career receptions list with 141.
11. RB Charles Scott scored his fifth rushing touchdown of the season, and the 10th of his career, on a 29-yard run late in the fourth quarter.
12. S Curtis Taylor intercepted his second pass of the season and career with under a minute to go in the game.
a. Taylor’s eight tackles on the day tie his career high set versus Florida this year.
OLE MISS POSTGAME NOTES
This game was the 96th all-time between the Ole Miss Rebels and LSU Tigers dating back to 1894 … LSU is Ole Miss’ second-most played opponent besides Mississippi State, whom the Rebels will play for the 104th time on November 23.
LSU holds a 55-37-4 overall advantage in the series and an 8-4-1 edge in Oxford.
The Tigers have won six straight overall and four in a row at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium … Ole Miss’ last victory in the series was a 35-24 triumph in Baton Rouge in 2001 and the last win at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium was a 37-31 overtime finish in 1998.
#6- BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Sr., RB); #15- Robert Lane (Sr., TE); Jamarca Sanford (Jr., DB)
The crowd of 61,118 was the fourth-largest in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium history.
Ole Miss faced the nation’s No. 1 team for the first time since 1994 … This marked the Rebels’ fourth game of the season against a top-25 foe and second against a top-five opponent.
The Rebel football program is three wins short of 600 … Ole Miss boasts an all-time record of 597-459-35 (.566 winning percentage).
With 53 yards today, senior RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis has topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second consecutive season with 1,020 yards … He is only the second player in school history to reach the 1,000-yard singleseason mark twice in his career, joining Kayo Dottley (1949 and 1950).
Senior QB Brent Schaeffer posted a career-high 208 passing yards on 13-of-28 attempts with a 33-yard TD to Shay Hodge and two interceptions … Schaeffer also rushed for a career-high 94 yards on eight attempts with his second career TD run in the fourth quarter from 38 yards out.
Sophomore WR Shay Hodge hauled in four passes for 90 yards with his fifth TD of the year.
Sophomore WR Dexter McCluster topped the team in receptions with five for 73 yards.
Ole Miss’ 466 yards of total offense, 265 through the air and 201 on the ground were all the most surrendered this year by LSU, who leads the nation in total defense … The Rebels outgained the Tigers in total offense, 466 to 396.
Junior DB Jamarca Sanford led the unit with 10 total tackles … Sanford has 34 stops in the last three games and has reached double-digit stops in five games.
Junior DL Peria Jerry equaled his career highs of eight tackles and six solos, including one TFL and a pass break-up.
Sophomore DL and SEC sacks leader Greg Hardy recorded two for 16 yards today and had one QB pressure.
Sophomore DB Cassius Vaughn was credited with a career-best seven solo stops.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
Ole Miss had a return for a TD for the second consecutive game … After Mike Wallace took a kickoff back for a score against Northwestern State, Marshay Green returned a punt 44 yards for a TD in the first quarter today … It marked
Green’s second career punt return for score (Mississippi State, 2006).
The Rebels have had five TDs this year that were not scored on offense ? today’s punt return, a blocked punt recovery, a kickoff return, an interception return and a fumble return.
With Trindon Holliday’s 98-yard return in the first quarter, Ole Miss allowed a kickoff return for a TD for the first time since last year’s Arkansas game (Felix Jones, 100 yards).
LSU POSTGAME QUOTES
LSU Head Coach Les Miles
“I want to congratulate Ole Miss. They played a hard fought game after the open date and gave us some of their best shots. They showed a lot of spirit and played well. I’m proud of the confidence this team has to have picked up their 10th win of the season and an outright Western Division Championship. I don’t like the fact that they had a punt return for a touchdown against us. They put in a new quarterback, and some things happened. We ended up playing great defense.”
On if they overlooked Ole Miss
“I think there were just some better plays. We ran into a mobile quarterback. He ran the football and made some plays. He also made some plays with his arm. I want to defend the pass better than we did tonight. We’ll just have to look at the film and make some adjustments. He was a little surprising.”
On special teams
“Overall we got some offside kicks and some punt formations that we hadn’t seen before. A couple of sky kicks were in there as well. We did a good job with most of it. We returned the ball better today. Trindon (Holliday) had the return on the kick off. Other than their punt return for a touchdown, which we under-kicked, I thought we did a pretty good job today. The problems we had are things we can fix. Offensively we are improving.”
On the running game improving at the end
“It’s always the old coaching axiom. You keep running the ball so that three yards will turn into four, four will turn into six, and six will turn into eight. If you start off in the first quarter like that, those gains just improve. We were there by the end of the game.”
On Brent Schaeffer
“I certainly don’t remember him doing that last year. He’s more mobile than I thought. He really put the ball in there and wasn’t afraid to take it in. He also made some plays with his arm. He is something we are going to have to work on. I can promise you this. We weren’t looking for him. That’s partially my fault. He wasn’t in our gameplan.”
#18 * RB * SR * Jacob Hester
On (Brent) Schaeffer
“He is a shifty guy, and we couldn’t let him get on time. It happened a few times but we got it fixed.”
On play of defense
“I think that we played okay. We definitely didn’t do our best. We’ve got to come out next week and do more.”
“We typically do better against traditional running teams, because they run straight at us and that is what we are the best at.”
Changing out QBs inside the 10
“I think that they made a smart move by doing that.”
#44 * S * SO * Danny McCray
On the team
“We’re doing pretty good. We’ve still got some work to do. We still have some games to play. I think that we still have time to improve.”
Coach Miles said that you didn’t do well against QB
“We’ve just got to look at our technique. We’ve got to do things like we’ve practiced. If we do that, we’ll be alright.”
#15 * QB * SR * Matt Flynn
On the offense
“On offense we did what was necessary. We’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They came out and had a good game plan for us. We really weren’t supposed to force the ball down the field. They weren’t letting us throw it deep. They used good coverage. We had to take a bunch of underneath stuff. In a game like that, you can’t make any big mistakes. We really held onto the ball, and when we needed big plays towards the end, they were there.”
#9 * WR* SR * Early Doucet
On the offense
“We came in there and make big plays when we needed it. The offense did their job. The O-line had a pretty good season. They’ve done a good job. They’ve given Matt the time that he needed. He’s done a tremendous job as well. He can make the throws, the runs, the checks, everything that you need in a leader.”
The difference on Jacob Hester’s return
“Special teams can always change the outcome of a game. When he (Marshay Green) made that return for a touchdown, it startled us a little bit. We knew that we had a guy that was capable of the same thing. Taking that one to the house was a big momentum booster for us.”
OLE MISS POSTGAME QUOTES
Ole Miss Head Coach Ed Orgeron Postgame Quotes
“First of all, I thought our guys fought really hard. We are very disappointed with the outcome of the game. Obviously, some turning points in the game were a fumble by BenJarvus (Green-Ellis) on the first down and the turnover by Seth (Adams). What happened down there was we were out of timeouts. We were having problems getting the play called on time. Brent (Schaeffer) was a little rattled, so we decided to put Seth in. The play we worked on, he should have never threw the ball. He should have threw the ball out of bounds so we would have at least gotten the field goal. We made a mistake. Other than that we got more yards than they did by putting Brent in there, and spreading them out was a good idea. We made some plays, but we didn’t get it done. LSU is a good football team. Now we need to turn our sights to Mississippi State. We have a short week, so we have to get back to work tomorrow.”
On the play before the end of the first half…
“It was a combination of things. Brent hadn’t been in there in a while, and we tried to change the plays to get the formation right. It just wasn’t working the way we wanted it to work. That’s the reason we took him out down there when we didn’t have any more timeouts. We had another penalty, and we put Seth in there. He calmed down halftime and he came out and did a pretty good job in the second half.”
On Brent’s performance…
“Well, I think he played very well although he had the interceptions. We knew we had to put our best players on the field with the speed that LSU had, and we thought that he could give us a chance. We spread it out a little bit and had success with it.”
On Seth Adams’ interception…
“I haven’t talked to him yet, but he knew he made a mistake and should have thrown the ball out of bounds.”
On the possibility of Brent starting against Mississippi State…
“We will look at it. He looks like he will give us our best chance right now, but we will look at it on film.”
On the excessive number of penalties from both teams…
“There is no excuse for that. We should have had it. There were some foolish penalties out there. That should not have happened because we don’t want those penalties. In a rivalry like that, the game was heated, but that is still no excuse for penalties.”
On Greg Hardy’s play…
“He played well. He’s a good player for us, and it’s good to have him back.”
On the challenge of a short practice week…
“Usually we don’t work on Sunday, but we will have to work tomorrow. We had some recruits in today, so it was a big day for us. We will start on Mississippi State tomorrow.”
Ole Miss Offensive Players Post-game Quotes
SENIOR QUARTERBACK BRENT SCHAEFFER
On the game
“We played a little better today. We came up a short against the number one team in the nation. We had a lot of plays here and there. We didn’t always make them. We had a lot of penalties, but we played hard. They played harder. We played a good team.”
On the lack of scoring production as a whole
“Whatever went wrong, those are the things that kill us and stop us all the time. We get in the red zone and we can’t convert those seven points. That’s what separates the number one team from what we’re doing. We have to finish when we get down there and make the plays that count. We’re moving the ball and getting in the red zone, but we’re not capitalizing. If we do that, it’s a totally different game.”
On being able to run against LSU
“I was just trying to make plays. They’re a good defense and sometimes everyone was covered. You just have to take off with the ball and do the best you can and that’s what I did.”
On the wide receivers
“They played great. They’re coming on. When I saw these guys last year as freshmen, I knew they would be good. They’re going to be NFL caliber receivers and they keep blossoming and getting better every day.”
On the upcoming Mississippi State game
“It’s going to be big emotionally. It’s going to be tough for me because I have been through a lot in college. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs. I try to keep my head up. I’m not playing this last game for me, I’ll be playing for Ole Miss. We really need the win over Mississippi State with them being an in-state rival and the season we’ve had. We need the win.”
SENIOR RUNNING BACK BENJARVUS GREEN-ELLIS
On the game
“We played well at times, and at times we shot ourselves in the foot. That was the story of the game.”
On the 1,000 yard rushing season
“I wish I could have helped the team win more games by doing it.”
On the LSU defense and Schaeffer’s running
“It was just basically execution. With his mobility, Brent was able to run for a lot of yards against them.”
On the upcoming Mississippi State game
“We’re going to be fine going down there to Mississippi State. If there is one game on the schedule we have to win, this is it.”
SOPHOMORE WIDE RECEIVER MARSHAY GREEN
On the punt return for a touchdown
“Well they had been kicking short. I tried to catch it and the team did a good job of blocking.”
“The turnovers in the first half slowed us down. The offense had a pretty good game and Brent really took things over when we he was supposed to. I feel like if we can get in the red zone against any team in the nation, we can score. But the turnovers hurt us.”
SOPHOMORE WIDE RECEIVER SHAY HODGE
On the offense
“Today was a fun day for our offense. We got to go four wide and run and gun. We did pretty good on offense, but mistakes happened when we had chances to score. Those are going to happen, but you have to try to not let them stop you.”
On the turnovers
“We just had miscues, whether it was a bad route or a misread by the quarterback. It was all of us.”
On the difference with Brent in the game
“If the play breaks down, Brent is going to scramble. You just have to go and you’ll get open. It’s fun playing with Brent. He has the legs and a strong arm and the ability to throw the ball deep. I think those things are a big reason we were able to get a lot of yards today.”
On the upcoming Mississippi State game
“We have to capitalize on every chance we get to score. We can’t leave our defense in a bind and not leave them in a hole. We have to make them feel good about coming out on the field. It’s going to be a hard week and Coach Orgeron is going to be on us to get up and get ready, just like he was for this game with LSU.”
Ole Miss Defensive Players
Defensive Back * Jr. * Dustin Mouzon
On the defense…
“Overall, I think we did pretty well on defense tonight. They got that last touchdown mainly because I missed a tackle. I think we did a good job of holding these guys down and you have to give credit to the secondary because they didn’t complete many deep balls.”
On missed assignments…
“I have to rate our assignments good because I don’t think we had too many missed assignments. We didn’t hit well at some points, but I don’t think missed assignments were a problem tonight.”
On the LSU offense…
“I give them credit because they are a good and talented team. I think they have a lot of similarities to Florida and Missouri, but we didn’t do a good job as a defense stopping them.”
On Mississippi State…
“We have to throw this game away and get ready for Mississippi State. It would have been a big reward to beat these guys tonight, but the State game is something we will have to hear about all year if we lose to them so we will have to be ready.”
Linebacker * Jr. * Ashlee Palmer
On the defense…
“I think we came out a little slow early on. We started to pick it up and we knew we could stop them on third down and get them off the field. I think we were well prepared, but they just executed better than we did”
On the second half scoring…
“I am not really sure what the difference in halves was because the second half we seemed to get more stops. I think they started to execute their offense better by making some big plays that broke our coverage down a little.”
On his individual play…
“I was just trying to find the ball basically. The coaches call the plays and I just try to fill my gap and find the ball.”
“They are by far the best team we have played this year. I think they are beatable, but we just came out a little slow.”
Defensive Lineman * Soph. * Greg Hardy
On the defense…
“We played hard against a good team. They were able to cause some turnovers and make plays when they had to.”
On the defensive line…
“We felt like we could and should play with them, and I think we played really hard tonight.
On his return…
“I was really excited about coming back and playing tonight. We were able to make some plays tonight against a great team.”
Defensive Back * Jr. * Jamarca Sanford
On the defense…
“We played well sometimes and sometimes we didn’t make the plays we needed. They were able to capitalize when they needed to.”
On the LSU offense…
“They have a good offense and were able to capitalize when they needed to. We have to go back and look at film and fix those mistakes.”
On next week…
“We just have to capitalize next week if we want to beat Mississippi State. We have to make plays and let our defense get off the field. They are going to be ready to play because it’s one of the biggest games of the year. I have some former teammates that play for them and I’ve got to be ready.”