- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
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OXFORD, Miss. -- LSU had won three straight and nine of the last 11 against Ole Miss, but recent history didn’t matter on Saturday. The Rebels took back the Magnolia Bowl trophy with a 27-24 win at home. Here are three things we learned from the Tigers in the loss.
No BCS title for LSU: The Tigers still needed some help, but they were the top-ranked one-loss team in the polls, and with games against Alabama and Texas A&M still on the schedule, they could’ve propelled their way into the BCS national championship had they won out. That dream died Saturday with the loss to Ole Miss. Now, LSU is 6-2 and sits behind both Alabama and Auburn in the SEC West. The Tigers will be lucky to be ranked in the top 10 when the initial BCS standings debut on Sunday. Although the Alabama-LSU showdown has lost some of its luster, the two-loss Tigers would love nothing more than to ruin the Tide’s perfect season.
Slow start dooms LSU: It wasn’t until the third quarter when LSU finally woke up, but by that time, it was too late. The Tigers were shut out at halftime for the first time since the 2011 BCS national championship game against Alabama. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger carried over his struggles from the Florida game, as he threw three interceptions in the first half. The LSU senior had been the most-improved quarterback in the SEC through six games, but in the past two, he has looked more like last season's version of himself. He did settle down in the second half and threw his first touchdown in over eight quarters of play, a four-yard strike to Jarvis Landry.
Miles outcoached by Freeze: LSU’s Les Miles can be quirky at times. He can make some calls that make you scratch your head. But rarely does he get outcoached. That’s what happened on Saturday, though, as Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze motivated his players and dialed up the right plays to win the game. Afterwards, Miles admitted that he did a poor job of preparing his football team. He essentially took the blame for the loss. The most curious call came at the end of the game when Miles had a timeout left but let the clock get below 10 seconds before calling it. It might not have made a difference, but it gave LSU no chance to come back.