Mississippi Visits LSU
Nov. 18, 2008
(AP) - After surviving a scare last week, LSU hosts an opponent that has proved to be far from afraid at Tiger Stadium, not to mention a coach who nearly derailed its national title hopes last season.
The 18th-ranked Tigers return to SEC play Saturday against Mississippi on the heels of the biggest comeback in school history.
Coming from behind has been all too familiar for LSU at home against the Rebels.
The Tigers (7-3, 3-3) have taken six in a row over Mississippi overall but won the last three at home by a combined seven points, including a 23-20 overtime victory in 2006.
LSU trailed in the third quarter of each of those three games after losing the previous three meetings in Baton Rouge.
The Tigers also were behind in the third quarter last week against Sun Belt Conference foe Troy - by 28 points. They responded with 37 unanswered points - 30 in the fourth quarter - for a 40-31 victory over the unheralded Trojans.
LSU's largest comeback had previously been 21 points at Ole Miss in 1977.
After gaining 60 yards in the first half, the Tigers totaled 280 in the second. They held Troy to 69 total yards over the final 26 minutes.
"I like the momentum of the finish," LSU coach Les Miles said. "I like the position of our team now. I think we are looking forward."
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Lee had 15 of his 20 completions in the final two quarters for 130 of his 216 yards. Brandon LaFell set career highs for receptions (12) and yards (126) and had a 33-yard touchdown catch. Charles Scott rushed for 61 of his 95 yards in the second half and scored a touchdown.
Scott scored on a 29-yard run and had 66 yards on just three carries in last year's 41-24 road win over Ole Miss.
The Rebels (6-4, 3-3) have been anything but pushovers this season against ranked teams. They lost 30-28 to then-No. 20 Wake Forest on a late field goal on Sept. 6 and fell 24-20 to current-No. 1 Alabama on Oct. 18, but easily their most impressive game of the season was a 31-30 road win over No. 4 Florida on Sept. 27.
"I think we'll be very focused on our next opponent," Miles said. "That team beat Florida in Gainesville. Our team understands what that means."
Miles' counterpart understands how to pull an upset in Tiger Stadium.
Before coming over to Ole Miss in the offseason, coach Houston Nutt led an unranked Arkansas team into Baton Rouge last season and emerged with a 50-48 triple-overtime victory. The defeat snapped a 16-game home winning streak for LSU, which rebounded to win the SEC and a national championship.
"This will be my 11th time, as a head coach, going against LSU. They always look the same to me - good in a uniform," said Nutt, who has a 3-7 mark against the Tigers. "They've got some awfully good football players. We've got to be physical in a game like this."
Ole Miss earned bowl eligibility for the first time since 2003 with a 59-0 drubbing of Louisiana-Monroe last week at home.
Quarterback Jevan Snead threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more as the Rebels posted their most lopsided win since a 69-7 victory over Southern Miss in 1969. Mike Wallace had 111 yards receiving and a touchdown, and Cordera Eason had his second straight 100-yard performance with a career-high 106.
This game will feature two strong rushing defenses. The Rebels rank 13th nationally, allowing 103.4 yards per game, and LSU is 15th at 104.8.