Sunday, November 18, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: LSU 41, Ole Miss 35
By Gary Laney
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Three things we liked, and didn't like, from LSU's 41-35 win over Ole Miss Saturday.
1. Miles' rant: After the senior night game, the usually affable Les Miles took umbrage with characterizations of his small senior class as one lacking stars and was upset with media characterizations of wide receiver Russell Shepard as "a flop."
"My point to you is, there is no such thing as a flop that takes the field for our football team," Miles said emphatically, almost giving it a feel of a fiery speech to his team, complete with the occasional expletive.
He apologized for the salty language, then finished the rant with the same passion, but in a way that transitioned back to his more affable side.
"What a spectacular group of men," he said. "You go find them, you throw your arms around them, you give them a big kiss on the mouth ... if you're a girl."
Rant over and smile back on his face, Miles made his point, then changed the mood of the room in a heartbeat.
2. Resilient Tigers: Give Miles credit. His teams don't always play their best, but they rarely sleepwalk to a loss. Ole Miss took it to the Tigers much of the night, yet LSU found a way to rally to win. It's why LSU is a win away from its sixth double-digit win season in eight years, the best in the SEC.
3. Bring back the memories: In 1959, Billy Cannon returned a punt 89 yards into Tiger Stadium's north end zone for a winning touchdown on Halloween night. He started left, weaved right, breaking tackles, then up the right sideline.
On Saturday, Odell Beckham, Jr., tied the game against Ole Miss running a similar path on an 89-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that propelled the Tigers' comeback.
1. Leaky secondary: LSU gave up its second straight 300-yard passing game. After playing so well early in the season, the youth of LSU's secondary has been showing.
2. Turnovers are back: LSU went 16 quarters without a turnover, but turned it over three times against Ole Miss, twice on Zach Mettenberger interceptions, once on a Jarvis Landry fumble.
3. Red zone struggles: The Tigers reached the red zone six times, scoring touchdowns just half the time. Mettenberger threw a goal line interceptions and LSU settled for two field goals. LSU entered the game with the SEC's third worst percentage of touchdowns in red zone possession (21-for-42, 50 percent). That percentage did not improve.