Mississippi LSU Football

LSU wide receiver Kayshon Boutte (1) reacts after making a touchdown against Mississippi during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

Where to Begin?

Should we start with the fact that the LSU defense forced six turnovers but still allowed Ole Miss to gain 558 yards and score 48 points?

How about Kayshon Boutte, the freshman receiver for the Tigers, setting a Southeastern Conference record for receiving yards in a game? 

Whatever you choose to focus on, LSU and Ole Miss played a season finale that was fitting for 2020. The Tigers eventually won 53-48, but getting to 5-5 on the season did not come easy for LSU. 

The story of the year for LSU has been its defense. Tonight was no different for a variety of reasons. For starters, LSU forced six turnovers. Five interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and one fumble, recovered by safety JaCoby Stevens that won the game for the Tigers. Of course, in keeping with spirit of the 2020 LSU defense, it also allowed Ole Miss to score 48 points while gaining 558 total yards. A classic tale of the good, the bad and the ugly for the Tigers on defense. 

Saturday marked senior day for LSU, so it was only fitting senior JaCoby Stevens recovered the fumble on Ole Miss' final drive to secure the victory for the Tigers. Stevens was overwhelmed that his career as a Tiger ended on such a high note.

"I'm at a loss for words at the moment," Stevens said. "I guess that's the way to end your career. To go out like that is really special."

As a result of the defense's play this season, LSU's defensive coordinator, Bo Pelini, has been on the hot seat for most of the year. Many in the fanbase have said he should be fired. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron has stated multiple times that he would evaluate his staff's performance at the end of the season. With LSU imposing a bowl ban this year, Saturday night marked the end of the season. 

When asked about a decision regarding his defensive coordinator, Orgeron said, "You know what? I'm just going to enjoy the victory."

Thankfully, the Tiger defense was bailed out by their offense. More specifically, freshman quarterback Max Johnson and Boutte. Johnson finished 27-51 for 435 yards and three touchdowns. All three of his touchdowns were caught by Boutte, who finished with 14 receptions for 308 yards, an LSU and SEC record for receiving yards in a game. The young duo showed the future is bright for LSU.

"He's got ice in his veins," Orgeron said when asked about Johnson. "He's going to be a great quarterback for us." 

Orgeron also complimented Boutte, saying, "Anything you threw, he was gonna catch."

The 2020 season did not go the way LSU had hoped. Finishing 5-5 after winning a national championship the previous season was not a part of the plan for the Tigers. There were highs and lows. There were injuries to key players and opt outs that killed momentum for LSU just as it looked to be gaining some.

But in the rain on Saturday, LSU's only focus was to win. No matter how sloppy the weather and gameplay were, the team never blinked. It took every blow 2020 could throw at it and still managed to finish with a .500 record. This season had its share of both forgettable and unforgettable moments. Saturday was an unforgettable one for the Tigers.

LSU linebacker Jabril Cox summed it all up best.

"This is one that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life."

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