OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- LSU's defense caught up with its offense,
and now it's looking like nobody in the SEC West will catch the
With an overpowering run defense coupled with an efficient
offense, LSU routed Mississippi 40-7 on Saturday night and used its
most complete performance of the year to move one step closer to
the SEC championship game.
"Our defense and our offense played great," linebacker Cameron
Vaughn said. "We have some guys out there on defense that our
opponents should be afraid of."
LSU (9-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) held Ole Miss to 7 yards
rushing in giving the Rebels their worst loss in Oxford in 56
years. Coach Les Miles said the Tigers' defense has made steady
progress during their return to the top of the SEC West -- and it
"We were going to get to the point where we're at. We really
needed the games that we had," Miles said. "We needed some
passing problems, we needed some running that got loose on us at
Alabama. I think we're really in good position right now to play
The rout leaves only Arkansas standing in the Tigers' path to
Atlanta. LSU can clinch its third title game berth in five seasons
by beating the lowly Razorbacks next week.
"Every team starts the season with goals and ambitions. Very
few teams get to November and have everything to play for," Miles
said. "The ability to win the West, win the conference, play in a
BCS bowl -- all those things still loom very strong for this
football team. ... We're right where we want to be."
JaMarcus Russell had a 3-yard scoring pass to Craig Davis and a
20-yard TD toss to Early Doucet, and Joseph Addai and Justin
Vincent each had 1-yard touchdown runs, in leading LSU to its
eighth straight win since an overtime loss to Tennessee.
Russell finished 13-of-22 passing for 142 yards, while Addai had
70 yards on 14 carries and Chris Jackson kicked a season-best
48-yard field goal for LSU.
"We were just outmanned," Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron said.
The Tigers defense, which entered as one of the SEC's best,
lived up to its reputation by taking a shutout into the final
minutes in its rare blowout win over Ole Miss. LSU had won the
previous three meetings by a combined seven points.
"They kind of put us in great field position (and) made it easy
on us, being on the short field," Russell said.
The Rebels (3-7, 1-6) crossed midfield only once against LSU's
defensive starters but avoided their first shutout since 1998 when
backup Micheal Spurlock threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Taye
Biddle with less than three minutes to play.
"We have an attitude around here that we will always keep
fighting," Biddle said.
Still, it was Ole Miss' worst defeat in Oxford since a 47-0 loss
to Kentucky in 1949, and it was the second straight miserable
rushing performance for the Rebels -- who had just 10 yards on the
ground in last week's loss to Arkansas.
This time, Ole Miss' leading rusher was receiver Mario Hill --
who had 9 yards on one carry.
"We know we have got to get bigger, stronger, faster and more
physical to play a team like LSU," Orgeron said. "We have a ways
to go to catch up with LSU."
The Ole Miss offense entered as one of the worst in the SEC, and
for much of the first half, the Rebels played like it. Ole Miss
gained only 36 total yards and two first downs while LSU took a
16-0 halftime lead.
At one point in the second quarter, the Tigers had outgained Ole
Ole Miss' offensive struggles put the Rebels in an early hole.
Ethan Flatt took a snap, stumbled in the end zone, fumbled and fell
on the ball for a safety to give LSU a 2-0 lead.
"I really didn't know what (Flatt's) problem was," Vaughn
The Tigers then scored twice in the second quarter to take
Russell's 3-yard scoring pass to Davis extended the lead to 9-0
two plays into the second quarter. On the Tigers' next possession,
Addai then had a 1-yard touchdown run to make it a 16-point game.
Flatt was 9-of-15 passing for 49 yards in his second start of
the season for Ole Miss. Spurlock replaced him early in the third
quarter and was 11-of-23 for 149 yards.