Recap and Reaction: Fournette Shines As LSU Tops Ole Miss

The LSU Tigers came out of the locker room behind interim head coach Ed Orgeron looking fired up and ready to take it to the Ole Miss Rebels, but as the game got underway, that wasn’t quite the case. Orgeron’s team struggled out of the gate, and quickly found themselves trailing by a score of 10-0.

The offensive play calling looked very conservative, and the defense looked helpless as Ole Miss star quarterback Chad Kelly picked them apart. After back-to-back poor drives by the LSU offense, the Tigers finally set Leonard Fournette loose, and he delivered with a 59-yard touchdown run to put the team on the board.

The Tigers would get the ball back, and Danny Etling would find D.J. Chark on a busted coverage for a second touchdown to put LSU up for the first time in the game. They would score again on an even longer Leonard Fournette touchdown run, and the Rebels added a field goal and a touchdown before the halftime intermission.

Overall, the Tigers greatly outplayed Ole Miss in the first half. But, heading into the break, the two teams were tied at 21.

Three things kept LSU from really taking control of the contest early on and building a double-digit lead in the first two quarters. The first was a fumble on a busted play deep in their own territory. The Tigers ran a wide receiver reverse that seemed destined to lose yardage from the start, but things got even worse when the ball was knocked from the hands of D.J. Chark.

Then, in the second quarter, LSU had an easy interception off of a poorly thrown deep ball from Chad Kelly. The ball floated in the air, and with no receiver in sight, it looked like the Tigers would get the ball back with all the momentum and a chance to extend their lead. But instead, two DBs collided going for the ball, and Ole Miss would continue their drive and eventually tack on three points.

Finally, late in the first half, the LSU defense got a huge stop to force a punt with just over a minute to go in the half. The Tigers had an eight point lead, and looked to be in a great position going into the second half. But Danny Etling would fumble the ball inside the team’s ten yard line, and Ole Miss proceeded to score and convert a two-point conversion to tie the game before the end of the quarter.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

But in the second half, the LSU Tigers came out and let the Rebels have it.

The team played with an angry, hungry mentality, and by the end of the third quarter it was clear that the outcome had been decided. The highlight of the night continued to be Leonard Fournette, who finished the night with a school record-breaking 283 yards and three touchdowns. He ran all over the Rebel defense in the final two quarters, and continued to break off huge runs. His first game back was nothing shy of historic.

The passing attack was not as dynamic as it had been in the previous two games, but with a far better opponent coming to town, that was expected. Etling and the receivers will need to be more productive next week against Alabama, but with Fournette back and playing well, a lot of weight is lifted off the shoulders of the passing game.

LSU’s defense was much more aggressive in the second half of Saturday’s game, and it let to big plays all over the field. Whether is was stuffing the run or getting tremendous amounts of pressure on Chad Kelly, the defense had their way with the Rebel offense.

This was a huge victory for the LSU Tigers, as they open their season-ending conference stretch with a 38-21 victory. They should move up in the rankings, and the team showed a lot to like as they head into Alabama week. Next Saturday will be the biggest game of the season, so it was important for the Tigers to play well tonight. With this win, LSU is still alive in conference and possibly even College Football Playoff contention, so gear up for a hectic end to the season.

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