On Friday, the Tigers will face Arkansas (10-1, 6-1 SEC) in the final game of the regular season. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium on CBS (Ch. 4).
Arkansas, a national championship game contender (and it's well deserved), bounced Mississippi State 44-17 on Saturday while other contenders' hopes went up in mushroom clouds all around LSU. Oklahoma lost to Iowa State, Oregon fell to USC, Clemson was kicked out by North Carolina State and Oklahoma lost to Baylor.
Friday's matchup will feature the Razorbacks' passing game against the Tigers NFL-type, soul-killing defense, two of the Top 5 teams, national title hope at stake
In order to set up the matchup, LSU had to get by its once-rival on their Senior Night. Twenty-eight seconds in the game, The Tigers took all the momentum from the Rebels as cornerback Ron Brooks intercepted a third-down pass and ran 46 yards for a touchdown.
The Tigers scored 21 points in the opening quarter and added another defensive score early in the second quarter when linebacker Kevin Minter picked up a fumble in the end zone. By halftime, LSU was up 35-3 and only the margin of victory was ever in question.
Nine Tigers combined to rush for 353 yards on 50 attempts. Alfred Blue led the way with 74 yards on four attempts including a 57-yarder. Starting tailback Spencer Ware added 70 yards including a 35-yard touchdown run while Kenny Hillard also scored and gained 59 yards on seven attempts while Michael Ford used five carries for 50 yards including a 19-yard touchdown.
James Stamply ("Rudy"), a walkon senior, scored his first career touchdown on a one-yard run in the third quarter that extended LSU's lead to 49-3.
Jordan Jefferson started his second straight game in place of Jarrett Lee and became the Tigers' all-time leading rusher at quarterback with 955 yards. He finished the night 7-of-7 passing for 88 yards and a 22-yard touchdown pass to Russell Shepard. Jefferson had 26 yards rushing yards on six carries.
Lee and Zach Mettenberger saw action at quarterback, but most of it was "mop-up" duty. Only one pass was thrown by the two although Mettenberger gained 25 yards on a keeper down to the Ole Miss 1.
Miles instructed Mettenberger to take a knee because he didn't think the Tigers needed any more points so Mettenberger kneed down four times and they turned the ball over to the Rebels.
Miles is starting Jefferson over Lee because Jefferson needs snaps he missed while suspended. Miles wants Jefferson game-ready for the upcoming games against Arkansas, possibly Georgia in the SEC Championship Game and for the BCS National Championship Game. Jefferson's running skills give the Tigers more opportunities on offense.
Here's Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt's take on the game: "You can't start the way we did, especially against a team like LSU. You can't give them gifts like we did and one thing we didn't want was turnovers,, especially when they got seven points right off the bat. That was the worst thing that could happened at that point. LSU's a good team, but we helped them."
"Our defense was sharp to start," said Miles. "That defensive score early was kind of an indicator of how the game went for our opponents."
A rematch with Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Jan. 9 seems almost unavoidable. Only three possibilities remain and one of them hasn't been played yet. They are: LSU-Alabama, Arkansas-Alabama or LSU-Arkansas.
Welcome to the SEC West showdown
How other media saw the LSU game:
Rick Cleveland, Jackson Clarion-Ledger: "Were this a pro fight, they'd have called it in the first couple of minutes. Winner by TKO, top-ranked LSU.
Were it a college baseball game, the mercy rule would have invoked early.
Were it a street fight, LSU would have been arrested and charged with menslaughter. No bail.
by Ed Staton