OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics) – Ole Miss freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee scored four times and rushed for 212 yards, but it was not enough as No. 1 LSU survived an offensive flurry, 58-37, Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Senior Day.
Ole Miss (4-7, 2-5 SEC) and No. 1 LSU (10-0, 6-0 SEC) combined for 1,328 yards of offense, the third most between two SEC opponents in conference history.
Plumlee became the first Rebel to run for four scores since 2009 (Dexter McCluster, four, vs. Tennessee), and set the Ole Miss quarterback single-game rushing record, surpassing Norris Weese’s 178 yards set against Mississippi State in 1972. Plumlee also finished 9-for-16 passing (123 yards, 1 INT).
Jalen Julius and Willie Hibbler highlighted the Rebel defense with nine tackles each. The defense finished the contest with three sacks and two interceptions of Joe Burrow (32-for-44 passing, 489 yards, 5 TD, 2 INTs) – just the second time in his career that he has thrown multiple interceptions and the first since throwing two at Florida on Oct. 6, 2018.
LSU started hot offensively, using its potent passing game to reach the end zone on the game’s opening drive. Burrow found Ja’Marr Chase (227 yards receiving, 3 TDs) open down the sideline for a 34-yard score less than three minutes into the action.
Ole Miss responded with a strong drive, beginning with a Plumlee connection to Elijah Moore (143 yards, 1 TD) for 30 yards on the Rebels’ first offensive play. However, the series stalled out just outside of the red zone and Luke Logan missed wide right from 38 yards out to keep it a 7-0 game.
The Rebels came up with a stop after the miss after LSU worked its way to the 30-yard line. Keidron Smith (eight tackles) came up with a key pass breakup on the drive before Sam Williams and Willie Hibbler combined to halt Burrow on third down, leading to a missed 48-yard field goal by Cade York.
The following Ole Miss series stalled out at midfield. The Rebel defense nearly came up with a critical turnover on the first play of the ensuing drive when Zikerron Baker laid a big hit on Thaddeus Moss, jarring the ball loose. Moss was able to pull the loose ball back in, and LSU went on to make it a 14-0 game on a 4-yard rushing score by Tyrion Davis-Price.
A Rebel punt opened the second quarter, and it wasn’t long before LSU found the end zone again. Burrow hit Chase on back-to-back plays, including a 51-yard touchdown reception to make it a 21-0 Tiger lead.
Matt Corral (6-for-11, 1 TD) took over under center on the following series and drove the Rebels across midfield before the Tigers forced a punt. LSU, meanwhile, kept rolling offensively, as Burrow hit Justin Jefferson (112 yards, 1 TD) for a 12-yard touchdown to make it a 28-0 contest.
Plumlee returned at quarterback on the following drive, but it was Jerrion Ealy (143 rushing yards) who provided the spark the Rebels needed. The freshman running back exploded for 49 yards on the first play and seven more on the second. Back-to-back Plumlee rushes brought the Rebels inside the LSU 5-yard line, where he finished it off with a 5-yard rushing score to put the Rebels on the board.
LSU added three more before the break. The Rebel defense looked destined for a stop after a holding penalty put the Tigers behind the chains, but on the very next play, Lakia Henry (six tackles) was flagged for a late hit out of bounds. Ole Miss still managed to hold deep in its own territory as Williams and Jacquez Jones (eight tackles) met in the back field for a third-down sack of Burrow to force LSU to settle for a 33-yard field goal from York to make it 31-7 at halftime.
Ole Miss opened the second half with the football and wasted little time cutting the gap. Plumlee connected with Octavius Cooley on the first play of the third quarter, and the big tight end rumbled ahead for a 29-yard gain. Then Plumlee got loose for a 46-yard rushing score. The Rebels then went for two, and Plumlee found Moore to make it an eight-point drive and a 31-15 game.
The Tiger offense put together a strong drive in response, converting two third downs and a fourth down before the Landshark defense clamped down deep in its own territory, forcing two Burrow incompletions as LSU settled for a 27-yard York field goal.
The Rebel offense stayed hot, opening the next drive with a 15-yard run from Ealy. Plumlee did the rest, exploding for a 60-yard rushing score on the next play for yet another two-play, 75-yard drive. Ole Miss again went for two, and Plumlee won a race to the pylon to make it a 34-23 game.
This time, LSU had an answer. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (172 rushing yards, 1 TD) opened the series with a 20-yard rush. Burrow later hit Jefferson for a 48-yard gain. The two Tigers connected once again for a 7-yard touchdown to make it 41-23.
A 22-yard Ealy rush had Ole Miss poised to answer right back, but on 3rd-and-7, Plumlee was intercepted by Kary Vincent Jr. The Landshark defense did its job in response, holding LSU without a first down to force a 52-yard York field goal.
Keidron Smith gave the defense a spark with an interception on LSU’s next drive. Plumlee scored from 35 yards out with a nifty fake pitch play, cutting the deficit to 44-30 early in the fourth.
Deantre Prince then leaped up to give Ole Miss the ball right back with an interception of his own with 11:13 to go in the fourth.
Ealy continued his first-play success, rushing 19 yards to start the drive. Moore picked up a huge third-down conversion to keep the drive alive near midfield. Plumlee found the edge with a third-down pickup to continue the drive. The drive would end at the LSU 34-yard line after a turnover on downs.
The Rebels looked poised to have the Tigers stopped on the ensuing possession, but Chase broke free for a 61-yard receiving touchdown, pushing the score to 51-30. Corral reentered the game and found Moore on a 55-yard score after reversing direction, making it 51-37.
Luke Logan would attempt a bouncing on-side kick, but it was scooped up by Jefferson. Edwards-Helaire would then cut up the middle 49 yards for the final score of the game.
Ole Miss is off next Saturday but will close its 2019 regular season on Thanksgiving Day at Mississippi State. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN.