In LSU football lore, every generation apparently needs to experience an Earthquake game.
And on Saturday, the underdog Tigers created one of the greatest memories in school history, knocking off No. 3 Ole Miss in the waning moments.
The 10-7 final score was not indicative of the non-stop action that heavily involved the work of the LSU and Ole Miss defenses.
But during crunch time, the Tigers’ rushing attack took center stage, implementing 12 straight runs on a 95-yard, game-winning drive that culminated with QB Anthony Jennings’s play-action touchdown pass to unheralded tight end Logan Stokes (with 5:07 left) — his only reception of the season.
After that, the LSU defense clamped down on the Ole Miss offense, thwarting two potential drives late in the fourth quarter. First, the Tigers denied the Rebels on downs at midfield and then intercepted a Bo Wallace pass at the 2-yard line with two seconds left — immediately after Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze passed on a 47-yard field goal to tie the game.
The runners accounted for 264 of LSU’s 406 total yards, with freshman Leonard Fournette (154 yards), Terrence Magee (119 total yards) and Kenny Hilliard each racking up at least 60 rushing yards.
Their output was especially critical on this night, as no Tigers wideout or tight end tallied more than two receptions against the vaunted Rebels defense — which had allowed only 10.6 points per game entering Saturday.
(How’s this for a moral victory: Ole Miss improved its points-against average for the season.)
At 7-1 overall (4-1 in conference), the Rebels’ journey through the SEC meat grinder is far from over. With little time to spare, Ole Miss hosts No. 5 Auburn next Saturday, in yet another showdown of elite-level West clubs.
And then after a pair of winnable outings against Presbyterian (Nov. 8) and Arkansas (Nov. 22), Ole Miss concludes its regular season against No. 1 Mississippi State (in Oxford) — which will easily rank as the most-hyped clash in Egg Bowl history.
Even if the top-ranked Bulldogs should fall to No. 4 Alabama on Nov. 15.
With the defeat, though, Ole Miss missed a chance to ostensibly secure a spot in one of the coveted "New Year’s Six" bowls (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, Cotton, Peach).
Given the off-the-charts quality of the SEC’s premier teams, it stands to reason the conference will get four clubs into the major six bowls — three from the West (amongst Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama, Auburn) and one from the East (Georgia).
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In the opening paragraph, we referenced an Earthquake Game. In 1988, LSU toppled a top-five Auburn team in the final seconds, with quarterback Tommy Hodson hitting Eddie Fuller for an 11-yard touchdown pass — giving the Tigers a thrilling 7-6 victory.
The enthusiastic roar from the Tiger Stadium/Death Valley faithful registered as a technical earthquake with a seismograph located in LSU’s Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex — approximately 1,000 feet from the stadium.
The seismograph reading was discovered the morning after the game by LSU seismologist, Don Stevenson, whose findings subsequently led to an ESPN report from 1991 on the ’88 clash between LSU and Auburn.
The news crew dubbed the event as The Earthquake Game — a distinction that profoundly holds up 26 years later.