Guice, LSU offense shine in 40-24 win at Ole Miss
OXFORD, Mississippi - No. 25 LSU has found an offense, but it needs to relocate its defense during an open week before playing at No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 4 after an open week.
Meanwhile, Ole Miss (3-4, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) is looking for a defense.
The Tigers (6-2, 3-1 SEC) amassed 593 yards of offense in defeating Ole Miss, 40-24, Saturday night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium behind 276 yards on 22 carries by tailback Derrius Guice and another 103 yards on 22 carries by tailback Darrel Williams, who also caught four passes for 105 yards.
Guice had 268 yards on 18 carries through three quarters and could have easily broke his own school rushing record of 285 yards on 37 carries in the win at Texas A&M last season, but Williams finished out the game at tailback. Guice now has three of the top four rushing games in LSU history - the 285 vs. Texas A&M, the 276 on this night and 252 on 21 carries in the win over Arkansas last season.
"They just hurt us too much on the ground," Ole Miss coach Matt Luke said.
Kicker Connor Culp also had a banner night, booting field goals of 47, 35, 38 and 32 yards.
The Tigers also took a 37-16 lead early in the fourth quarter on a fan special - a 60-yard touchdown pass to a tight end. Foster Moreau gathered it in from quarterback Danny Etling while all alone on the LSU sideline and sprinted the rest of the way - about 40 yards on the run - for the score.
The Tigers took a 30-16 lead on an 11-yard touchdown shovel pass from Etling with 2:31 to go in the third period. Etling finished 9 of 13 for 200 yards with two touchdowns. The offense looked crisp, creative and dominant, but it was against the No. 13 defense in the 14-team SEC that was allowing 450 yards a game coming in, including 238 on the ground.
Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC), which defeated Tennessee 45-7 on Saturday, leads the SEC in scoring defense and rushing defense.
Etling took matters into his own hands and scored on a 5-yard run with 6:04 to go in the third quarter for a 23-9 lead with the Tigers' first touchdown since the first quarter.
Ole Miss had crept to within 16-9 on a 39-yard field goal by Gary Wunderlich earlier in the third quarter.
Just after Etling's touchdown, Ole Miss found the end zone for the first time on a 28-yard run by tailback Jordan Wilkins to cut LSU's lead to 23-16 with 4:11 left in the third quarter. Ole Miss drove 69 yards in seven plays behind sophomore quarterback Shea Patterson of Shreveport.
LSU blew a first and goal at the Ole Miss 5-yard line on its first drive of the game after a 63-yard catch and run by Williams on a swing pass from Etling. Williams did not have enough speed to score, then the Tigers went backwards.
Williams was stopped for a 2-yard loss on first down before Etling, who would run for his life much of the first half, was sacked for a 12-yard loss. He was sacked three times in the first half. Culp then booted a 35-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 10:38 to play in the first quarter.
LSU's only touchdown of the first half came on a 7-yard run by Guice for a 10-3 lead with 4:52 left in the opening period. Guice, who led all rushers with 126 yards on 11 carries in the first half, set up the touchdown with a 58-yard run to the 7. He had 98 yards in the first quarter alone on six carries.
The Tigers moved 59 yards in 10 plays late in the second quarter but could not push it in and settled for a 38-yard field goal by Culp and a 13-3 lead with 1:17 to go before halftime. LSU caught a break when Ole Miss was called for pass interference on wide receiver D.J. Chark. The 15-yard penalty gave LSU a first down at the Ole Miss 37. Chark was coming back for an under thrown ball and ran into the defender instead of the other way around.
Ole Miss lost Patterson in the second quarter to what appeared to be a knee injury. He was not hit on the play, but appeared to injure himself cutting. He was listed as questionable for the second half, but he opened Ole Miss' first drive of the third quarter and remained in the game.
Junior college transfer Jordan Ta'amu replaced Patterson in the second quarter and helped lead Ole Miss on a 66-yard drive in 10 plays for a 26-yard field goal by Wunderlich as time expired. Ta'amu completed 2 of 6 passes for 23 yards on the drive and rushed once for 15 yards.
Culp gave LSU a 16-6 lead with 12:02 to go in the third quarter on a 32-yard field goal after a 60-yard drive in six plays. But the Tigers could not finish the job.
Ole Miss drove 67 yards in 10 plays on its first possession of the game to tie it 3-3 on a 31-yard field goal by Wunderlich with 4:39 left to play in the first quarter.