LSU routs Ole Miss 45-16 in Death Valley matchup

Posted on Sep 30 2018 - 4:44pm by Chance Robertson

BATON ROUGE, La. – Ole Miss traveled to Death Valley on Saturday to take on the No. 5 LSU Tigers in a battle for the Magnolia Bowl trophy. What ensued was a frustrating night for the Rebels in all aspects of the game, culminating in a 45-16 defeat.

Ole Miss football picked up its second loss of the season in Baton Rouge this weekend against the LSU Tigers. Photo: Chance Robertson

After being put into a difficult spot early, following a Jordan Ta’amu interception on the first drive, the Ole Miss defense started off strong, forcing LSU to attempt a 53-yard field goal. The attempt clanked off the crossbar, keeping the game scoreless.

Ole Miss then struck first with a 30-yard field goal by Luke Logan, following the Tigers’ miss.

The Tigers answered Ole Miss’ field goal with a touchdown pass from Joe Burrow. After a quick three-and-out by the Rebels, LSU scored its second touchdown of the night, pushing the Tiger lead to 11 by the end of the first period.

The second quarter didn’t start off any better for the Rebels.

After an Ole Miss timeout, LSU decided to go for a fourth-down conversion and forced the Ole Miss defenders offsides, resulting in a first down. LSU would then drive down the field to score its third-straight touchdown and increase its lead to 18.

Though there weren’t many positives for the Rebels in the first half, the defense forced a fumble near the end of the quarter to give Ole Miss one last scoring opportunity heading into halftime.

Ole Miss was able to create some momentum with this final 12-play, 90-yard drive that resulted in Logan’s second field goal of the night. While it appeared to be an excellent opportunity to go for it on fourth down, head coach Matt Luke chose to kick the field goal to get points from the forced turnover.

“I did not want to get down there and have it be a four-score game,” Luke said. “I wanted to get points.”

Logan’s field goal left the score 28-6 at the half.

The first half was difficult for the Rebels. Missed opportunities and missed tackles dug the team into a 22-point hole. Ole Miss gave up 28 straight points in the first half, the last of which came from a 65-yard touchdown pass from Burrow to Justin Jefferson. Defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff said he was disappointed with the defense for allowing such explosive plays.

“You cannot win an SEC football game giving up explosive plays — particularly early in a football game,” McGriff said.

Ole Miss opened the second half with a Scottie Phillips touchdown, cutting the lead to 15. However, the LSU offense came right back and scored a touchdown of its own.

Logan converted his third field goal of the game to make the score 35-16. That field goal would be the last points the Rebels put on the board. Ta’amu said his frustration Saturday night came from the small errors that popped up throughout the game.

“It was very frustrating, because I know we can do better. It’s just little details out there that we can fix and just executing,” Ta’amu said. “With some penalties, dropped balls, missed throws … we just needed to fix that up.”

The Rebels allowed 10 more points in the fourth quarter on a Burrow rushing touchdown and a Cole Tracy field goal to bring the final score to 45-16.

Defensive back C.J. Moore and linebacker Mohamed Sanogo take down LSU running back Nick Brossette. LSU won the game 45-16. Photo by Josh McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

While the Tigers played well, Ole Miss gifted them many opportunities for success by committing 17 penalties for 167 yards on top of the 573 total yards allowed. Luke was not pleased with his team’s penalties, but said he takes full responsibility for his team’s miscues.

“The false starts and after-the-whistle penalties, the unsportsmanlike conduct — those things are the things that can’t happen, and we need to eliminate all those,” Luke said. “But again, that’s coaching. That’s not on the players.”

Questions about players’ morale often surface following a tough loss, but linebacker Mohamed Sanogo said declining morale isn’t a problem at all with this Rebel team.

“We stayed very positive, and I’m proud of my teammates for that,” Sanogo said.

Ole Miss has ULM next up on its schedule and will be looking for a bounce-back win following this weekend’s tough SEC loss.