By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
BATON ROUGE, La. – It had been more than a month Ole Miss had rushed for 100 yards in a game.
That changed on Saturday against one of the nation’s top defenses.
LSU ranked No. 7 nationally against the run, giving up just 97.2 yards a game on the ground.
Ole Miss went into Saturday’s game after rushing for just 55 yards on 40 carries against Vanderbilt last week and averaging just 1.68 yards per rush over the previous three games.
LSU made adjustments and limited the Rebels’ success later in the game. The Rebels finished with 147 yards on 41 attempts, an average of 3.6 per carry.
“We didn’t run the ball extremely well later in the game, but we’re playing the same five linemen pretty much every snap. They really made some adjustments to stop the run game,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said.
Quarterback Bo Wallace led the Rebels with 54 net yards on 11 carries. He scored the game’s first points on a 58-yard run, setting up the play nicely after four straight positive plays from Randall Mackey and Jeff Scott.
Mackey was more involved in the run game and had nine carries for 41 yards and a 6-yard touchdown run.
“I don’t think it had to do with Jeff or Mackey as much as it had to do with a new blocking scheme we brought into this game,” Freeze said.
Hugh Freeze said he’d need to watch film before commenting about spacing on the Rebels’ coverage of the 89-yard punt return by LSU’s Odell Beckham.
“I saw two guys scott-free. Neither one of them made it, and they didn’t make him change directions laterally enough. We’re going to have problems with the guys we’re asking to cover punts right now,” alluding to the team’s depth problems.
The return came at the end of the longest punt of the game for Jim Broadway of Ole Miss, a 51-yarder.
2 – The Rebels were 2-for-2 on fourth-down conversions, and both drives ended with Ole Miss touchdowns.
LSU drove 64 yards in nine plays and ran 4:03 off the clock to score the winning points on a 1-yard run by freshman Jeremy Hill.
“This is probably one of the worst ones. We should have had it. We let it slip away.” – Ole Miss athlete Randall Mackey
The Rebels will be back at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for the regular season finale against rival Mississippi State.
Cornerback Charles Sawyer left the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return. … DE C.J. Johnson, ailing with a variety of injuries, did not play in the game. He’s the team’s sack leader at 4.5 on the year. … With Johnson out, Channing Ward, freshman from Aberdeen)got more snaps and finished with four tackles and a tackle for loss.