7:45 PM ET, November 19, 2005
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, OXFORD, MS
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 fourth-ranked Tigers.
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 showed.
"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 well."
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 Miss 152-6.
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 said.
The Tigers then scored twice in the second quarter to take control.
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.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... when the Tigers bus had no trouble navigating traffic in the Oxford square on the way to the game.
Gameball goes to... the LSU defense. the Tigers limited the Rebels to 175 total yards, including only 7 on the ground.
Stat of the game... 56: The 33-point margin was Ole Miss' largest since a 47-0 loss to Kentucky 56 years ago.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-12||2-14|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||2-2|
|TD||14:50||CRAIG DAVIS 3 YD PASS FROM JAMARCUS RUSSELL (COLT DAVID KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 47 yards.
|TD||9:42||JOSEPH ADDAI 1 YD RUN (COLT DAVID KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 45 yards.
|TD||8:36||EARLY DOUCET III 20 YD PASS FROM JAMARCUS RUSSELL (COLT DAVID KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 68 yards.
|FG||4:04||CHRIS JACKSON 48 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 11 yards.
|TD||14:53||JUSTIN VINCENT 1 YD RUN (COLT DAVID KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 15 yards.
|TD||11:44||BENNIE BRAZELL 55 YD PASS FROM MATT FLYNN (COLT DAVID KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 67 yards.
|TD||2:28||TAYE BIDDLE 7 YD PASS FROM MICHEAL SPURLOCK (MATT HINKLE KICK)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 86 yards.