Sunday, October 20, 2013

Les Than Stellar Performance Dooms LSU

A Vaught-Hemingway record crowd witnessed Ole Miss' shocking upset of 6th ranked LSU.

Ole Miss kicker, David Ritter banged a 41-yard field goal between the pipes with :02 to play, giving the Rebels a 27-24 win over the 6th ranked LSU Tigers.

Rebels quarterback Bo Wallace threw for (  ) yards on a 31-39 effort.  On the Ole Miss game-winning drive, Wallace made the two key plays to sustain the effort.  On 3rd and 6 from the Rebels 19 yard line, Wallace scrambled to pick up the first down.  Three plays later, facing 3rd and 9 at the Ole Miss 26 yard line, Wallace found Ja-Mes Logan for 13 yards to keep the drive alive.  Ritter will enjoy the spoils the come with booting the game-winning kick in an SEC contest against a bitter rival but Wallace was the true star of the game for the Solo Cup loving squad.

The Rebels shut LSU out in the first half, despite missing five starters on defense.  Zach Mettenberger turned in a clunker over the first thirty minutes, including a pair of interceptions in the Ole Miss end zone that prevented the Tigers from posting points. 
Coming into the contest, Mettenberger had thrown only two picks the entire season.  Mettenberger was intercepted a third time in the first half when Charles Sawyer corralled an errant throw at the Rebels 11-yard line. 

In the second half, LSU barreled back into the game after spotting Ole Miss an additional seven points on a Jaylen Walton touchdown scoot from 5 yards out.  The Tiger rally was built on TD runs by Jeremy Hill and Kenny Hilliard.  LSU tied the game 24-all on a Mettenberger toss to Jarvin Landry from four-yards out.  Earlier on the drive, Mettenberger hooked up with Odell Beckham, Jr. for fifteen yards on 4th and 10 at the Ole Miss 31 yard line.


Wallace and the Rebels stormed downfield for the eventual game-winning kick with little resistance. The hardest thing to explain is why LSU and Les Miles didn't call their last timeout after stopping Ole Miss on third-down with :28 seconds to play.  Instead, the clock ticked down to :06 before a timeout was called---and strangely, it was LSU, not Ole Miss who asked for the clock stoppage.   Ritter split the uprights and on the ensuing kick, the Tigers were penalized for an illegal forward pass while trying to lateral their way down the field.  

Imagine if Les had called for timeout at the :28 second mark.  If Ritter boots it through, Ole Miss is kicking off to the most dangerous return man in the SEC with :22 seconds to play.  A 35-40 yard return from Beckham would have given Mettenberger a chance to cover 30 yards of real estate and move LSU into Colby Delahoussaye's field goal range. 

Miles took the blame for the loss during his post-game comments, saying afterward, " I did a poor job of preparing this football team for this game."  In a comment that Tiger fans will be reading between the lines until Miles clarifies the true meaning of the statement, Miles added, "We game them too many turnovers, not patient enough handing the football off to run the football and that's my fault."  

Is that the first shot aimed at Miles friend and offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron? Is it a return of Les taking the offense back to 2011? 

Expect a less-than-sell-out crowd for Saturday's homecoming game against Furman.  I estimate 55,000 in attendance at kickoff. After the Tigers blast the 3-4 Paladins (Furman beat Appalachian State Saturday 27-10 to even their Southern Conference ledger at 2-2), they will have a week off to gear up for Alabama. 

A BCS Championship as well as SEC Championship appear to be as likely for the Tigers as Les having three timeouts in his pocket in the final minute of a close game.  LSU will assume the role of spoiler for 'Bama.  If the Tigers are successful, the SEC's streak of providing the college football world a title-holder with a drawl will come to an end.