On Saturday, LSU handed No. 7 Ole Miss its first loss of the season 45-20 as Jayden Daniels scored three rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns.
Thanks to this game, the dynamic Daniels set a new LSU mark for touchdowns by a quarterback on the ground in a season with nine. Over the course of two games, Daniels has scored 11 total touchdowns (five rushings and six passing). In last week’s 45–35 victory over Florida, he recorded three of each.
At the final buzzer, LSU supporters swarmed the field to celebrate their team’s overwhelming victory over a historically significant and highly-ranked opponent. With a win over No. 6 Alabama, LSU (6-2, 4-1 SEC) would re-enter the competition for the SEC West title in coach Brian Kelly’s first season with the Tigers.
Based on data compiled by ESPN Stats & Information, LSU is the only team to come back from a halftime deficit and beat an AP Top-10 team by 25 points or more since at least 2005.
Kelly remarked that his group was eager for this chance. “They considered it a huge opportunity and a huge honor to play at this stadium. And obviously, they played fantastic football in the final three quarters.”
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LSU outscored Ole Miss 42-3 in the second half after being outgained 200 to 80 in the first quarter and fell behind 17-3 on Jonathan Cruz’s field goal to start the second quarter.
Coach Lane Kiffin’s Mississippi offense was held to 404 total yards, while the Tigers finished with 500.
Daniels completed 258 of his passes and ran for 121 more while not turning the ball over once. Both of his touchdown passes went to Jaray Jenkins who caught one for 34 yards and Mason Taylor, who caught one for 1 yard. He scored touchdowns on runs of 3, 11, and 17 yards, the latter of which effectively put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter.
Late in the fourth quarter, Josh Williams scored the game-winning touchdown for the Tigers on a 1-yard run.
After all, “that’s why you come to LSU,” Kelly remarked, referring to the presence of a strong visiting team. “And all of our top players delivered outstanding performances. Also, that was a crucial necessity.”
In the second half, LSU had almost a perfect performance. Although the Rebels were able to stop the ball on third down at the Panthers’ 15-yard line early in the fourth quarter, they still lost the game due to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty committed by linebacker Harold Perkins Jr. Ole Miss (7-1, 3-2) was down 11 points at the time and ended up needing to punt anyhow a few minutes later.
Kiffin summed up the debacle by blaming missed tackles. “We were used like a pawn. Experienced some injuries up top during play, which is never ideal. Defensively, we had a lot of problems.”
In the end, the Tigers were down 38-20 until Daniels drove his team 75 yards for a score.
Ole Miss was threatening to take a 21-3 lead when Judkins scored on rushes of 3 and 6 yards in the first quarter, but the LSU defense held strong on third down from the LSU 13 to force a field goal instead.
After that, the Tigers scored twice to pull even. After Daniels threw a 34-yard touchdown throw to Jenkins, Jenkins scored on the ensuing play when Daniels kept the ball on a read-option run from the Tigers’ 3.
Mississippi took a 20-17 advantage into halftime thanks to a field goal by Cruz from 48 yards out.
In the second half, however, LSU’s defense pounded Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart. Totaling 19-of-34 passes for 284 yards, the Rebels’ QB had a successful day. Passing under duress from linebacker Micah Baskerville, it was picked off by LSU’s Joe Foucha in the end zone in the third quarter.
Kelly has the Tigers playing their best football three weeks after a disappointing home loss to Tennessee. For the third time this season, LSU overcame a 13-point deficit in a conference game and came back to win.
On November 5th, the Tigers will play the Crimson Tide.
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