It was a struggle defensively in the second half for No. 1 LSU,(10-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) but the Tigers avoided an upset after its emotionally charged 46-41 win over No. 3 Alabama last week as the Tigers scored 31 first half points en route to a 58-37 win over Ole Miss (4-7, 2-5 SEC) in the Magnolia Bowl.
Everything seemed to be going according to plan for the Tigers as they jumped out to an 31-7 lead in the first half, but the Rebels surged in the second half eerily similar to the game last week in Tuscaloosa. The comeback came courtesy of an impressive rushing attack led by quarterback John Rhys Plumlee and running back Jerrion Ealy, who combined for more than 250 rushing yards and three touchdowns. While the Rebels offense picked up, LSU continued to have success on the offensive side of the ball doing enough to secure the win.
Senior quarterback Joe Burrow finished 32-42 for 489 yards and five touchdowns, while sophomore receiver Ja'Marr Chase led the Tigers in receiving with eight catches for 227 yards and three touchdowns. Junior running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire averaged 7.5 yards per carry en route to 172 yards and one touchdown.
Burrow was as good as he's been all season in the first half, going 22-24 for 319 yards and three touchdowns. Near the end of the first quarter, Burrow completed an 18-yard pass to Chase, breaking Rohan Davey's single-season passing yard record of 3,347 yards.
It took just over two minutes for Burrow to get the Tigers in the endzone on their first drive, as he maneuvered the pocket to his right and hit Chase for a 34-yard touchdown to give LSU an early lead.
Ole Miss responded with a decent drive of its own pushing into LSU territory, but were stopped just outside the red zone and missed a 38-yard field goal. LSU took over on their own 21, and Burrow orchestrated a nine-play 49-yard drive but were held to a 48-yard field goal that freshman kicker Cade York pushed wide right.
Ole Miss stalled on their ensuing drive, and Burrow made six straight completions for 72 yards setting up the Tigers in the red zone where freshman running back Tyrion Davis-Price scampered into the end zone from 8-yards out giving LSU a two score lead.
Burrow stayed hot on LSU's next drive, hooking up with Chase on back-to-back plays for 22-yards and then a 51-yard touchdown. The Rebels continued to struggle on offense, punting for the third time in the first half, and Burrow led another scoring drive this time capping it off with a 12-yard pass to Jefferson.
Ole Miss finally had a breakthrough on offense late in the second quarter when Ealy rumbled for 49 yards followed by two rushes for 16 yards by Plumlee getting the Rebels inside the LSU 15-yard line. Plumlee punched it in from five yards out getting Ole Miss on the board but still trailing 28-7. LSU managed a field goal before the half giving them a 31-7 lead at halftime.
The second half proved to be a different story for Ole Miss offensively, scoring 16 points in the third quarter and rushing for 180 yards. Meanwhile, LSU had to kick two field goals out of the three drives they had in the third quarter. The Rebels cut the lead to 11 points halfway through the third quarter, but that was the closest it would get as the Tigers would score 24 points in the remainder of the game to close out their tenth win of the season.
LSU will return to Tiger Stadium on Nov. 23 to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks (2-8, 0-6 SEC) at 6 P.M.