We said this matchup would come down to controlling Jordan Ta’amu and bringing the pressure earlier this week. Saturday night’s game illustrated just that. It look LSU a little while to find its pass rush, but when it did, it absolutely dominated.
And by “dominated,” we’re talking an 45-16 Tiger victory over the Rebels.
Ole Miss opened the game with a touchback, starting the action off at its own 25. LSU gained the momentum early, with an interception by Grant Delpit. LSU took over at its own 48, quickly making its way into Rebel territory. The drive would end in a missed 53-yard field goal by Cole Tracy, leaving both teams scoreless with 12:02 remaining in the first quarter.
Ole Miss responded by edging its way deep into the Tigers’ side of the field, and showed they too could open up the run game with a 24-yard rush by Scottie Phillips. The Rebels delivered a killer passing play with a 19-yard connection from Ta’amu to Braylon Sanders, followed by a 13-yard rush from Phillips. The drive resulted in an Ole Miss field goal to put the Rebels up 3-0 with 9:06 remaining in the first quarter.
LSU answered back with a drive in which the team looked strong on the ground, as well as in the air. A 21-yard laser from quarterback Joe Burrow to receiver Ja’Marr Chase, set up by rushes from running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and a 19-yard reception by receiver Stephen Sullivan, put LSU up 7-3 with 5:59 remaining in the first quarter.
The Tigers were within scoring range shortly after with a drive that ended in a 4-yard touchdown run by running back Nick Brossette, The play was set up by a 23-yard reception by receiver Racey McMath and back-to-back rushes by Burrow. (And no, Burrow didn’t slide. But he did go out of bounds on one of the plays, at least.)
LSU ended the quarter in dominant fashion, with Grant Delpit batting down a pass from Ta’amu, then putting him in the turf for a sack on the following play.
The Tigers kicked off the second quarter action at their own 17, with a 2-yard carry from Brossette. LSU looked like it was onto something, but was almost forced to punt after a big drop from receiver Dee Anderson, followed by an 8-yard reception by Sullivan that was short of the first down. Ole Miss was caught offsides, though, keeping the drive alive.
After runs by Burrow and Brossette - coupled with an Ole Miss pass interference penalty -the Tigers gave Edwards-Helaire a go at QB. The wildcat trick worked magic, with the running back taking it in for a 3-yard touchdown that extend the LSU lead to 21-3.
LSU set up its second scoring play shortly after with a 65-yard touchdown reception by Justin Jefferson on a two-play drive that lasted under a minute. With 7:41 left to go in the half, the Tigers were dominating, 28-3.
LSU made its way into Ole Miss territory yet again at the tail end of the quarter, but a fumble by Burrow gave the Rebels life, setting their offense up at the 9-yard line with 2:36 remaining in the half.
Despite the help of a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on cornerback Greedy Williams, Ole Miss was able to generate only a field goal on its last drive of the half to cut the Tigers’ lead to 28-6.
It’s worth noting that Burrow was LSU’s leading rusher at the end of the half, with six attempts for 58 yards. Edwards-Helaire - an athlete whose position title is actually running back - was second behind him with five attempts for 34 yards and one touchdown.
LSU opened the second half with what would have been its first three-and-out of the night, but were able to salvage the drive thanks to a roughing the kicker penalty on Ole Miss. A reverse from Brossette to Jefferson for 19 yards, complete with a block by none other than Burrow put the Tigers within striking range.
But a fumble by Brossette in the red zone killed the drive in classic LSU second half football fashion, allowing the Ole Miss offense its first shot of the half. The turnover proved harmless though, as the Rebels kicked the football away just as quickly as they had taken it.
The first Ole Miss touchdown of the game came with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter, with a 1-yard rush by Phillips trimming the LSU lead to 28-13.
The Tigers wasted no time responding though, with Burrow sending a 52-yarder to receiver Terrance Marshall Jr. to put the offense deep in Rebel territory. That drive ended in a 5-yard LSU touchdown from Burrow to Jefferson, giving Jefferson his second receiving touchdown of the night and bringing the score to 35-13.
LSU added to its lead with a fourth-quarter field goal by Tracy furthering the team’s lead to 38-16.
Joe Burrow capped off the scoring with a 35-yard touchdown scamper while the team was running out the clock. His score drew the ire of the Ole Miss defense, resulting in an unsportsmanlike flag. Burrow finished the night as the team’s leading rusher and passer, throwing for 292 yards on an 18-25 night passing and running for 96 yards on 9 carries.
LSU will take on its third SEC opponent of the year in the Florida Gators (4-1) on the road next weekend at 2:30 p.m. CT.