By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
The Tigers needed a win in Saturday's season finale to avoid their first losing season since 1999. Mission accomplished as LSU would hang on late to defeat the Ole Miss Rebels/Black Bears/Land-Sharks in a wet and wild shootout, 53-48 in Death Valley. With the win the Tigers end a very disappointing and frustrating 2020 football season with a 5-5 record.
Below is our "Da Boot Sports" game break down.....
The Tigers won the toss and surprisingly took the ball to start the ball game. Max Johnson and the LSU offense would quickly go three-and-out. Zach Von Rosenberg would boom a nice 50 yard punt, setting Ole Miss up with a 1st and ten at their own 15 yard line after committing a penalty on the return.
On the Rebels first offensive play Matt Corral would swing the ball out to Braylon Sanders who looked to be tackled after an eight yard gain. However, it appeared Sanders rolled over on top of a LSU defender, bounced back up to his feet and continued to run deep into LSU territory. The play would be reviewed and overturned bringing the ball back to the Ole Miss 23 yard line. Two plays later Corral would hit Casey Kelly who was wide open in stride for a 57 yard gain down to the LSU 26 yard line. Two plays later Corral would hit Sanders in the far corner of the North End Zone for a 20 yard touchdown. Luke Logan would kick the point after to put the Black Bears up, 7-0 with 11:18 left in the quarter.
Both teams would trade punts, setting LSU up with a 1st and ten at the Ole Miss 31 yard line after a poor Land-Shark punt out of the end zone and a nice return by Koy Moore.
The Tigers could only manage to drive 15 yards on seven plays and would need to send in Cade York to kick a 34 yard field goal. York's kick was good putting LSU on the board, 7-3.
LSU would kickoff to the Rebels, setting them up 1st and ten at the 25 after a touchback. On 1st down, Jay Ward would intercept a Corral pass and return it 31 yards for a touchdown. The score would put LSU up 10-7 with 5:26 to go in the 1st quarter.
Both teams would once again trade punts setting up an Ole Miss drive, 1st and ten at their own 37 yard line. The Black Bears would drive into LSU territory before facing a 4th and 3 at the Tigers' 40. Matt Corral would throw another interception on the play. This time to Todd Harris. Harris would grab the turnover at the 15 and return it 14 yards out to the LSU 28 yard line. A penalty on the return would move the Tigers back half the distance to the goal. On 2nd and eight at the LSU 16, Max Johnson would find Kayshon Boutte for a 23 yard gain to the 39 yard line to end the 1st quarter.
LSU would continue their possession to start the 2nd quarter, putting together a very nice drive. The Tigers would increase their lead to 17-7 on a 1 yard quarterback sneak by Max Johnson. The 86 yard drive in nine plays was the first real production from the LSU offense so far in the contest.
LSU's momentum would be short lived as Avery Atkins' kickoff would be gathered in at the goal line by the Land-Sharks' Jerrion Ealy. Ealy would turn on the jets and out run the LSU kickoff team 100 yards for the score. The touchdown quickly cut the Tigers' lead to three points, 17-14 with 12:03 to go in the 3rd.
Johnson and the LSU offense would try to respond driving 47 yards into Ole Miss land before stalling at the Rebels' 39 yard line. Von Rosenberg would come in the game and have his punt downed at the Black Bears' five yard line as the rain would begin to fall.
Ole Miss would do a nice job of driving out of the shadow of their goal post as they would move out to their 40 in only four plays. On the next play, Ali Gaye would get to Corral, causing another interception by swatting the ball away and grab it out of the air.
LSU would waste little time, as Max Johnson would find Boutte for a 32 yard touchdown pass on 4th and two. The score would put LSU up 24-14 with 4:50 left in the first half.
Ole Miss would answer the LSU score as Corral would drive the Land-Sharks 61 yards in six plays as Henry Parrish would punch it into the end zone from 1 yard out. The touchdown cut the LSU lead down to 24-21 with 3:07 left in the half.
While the Black Bears had regained the momentum in a wild second quarter of play, the LSU offense had begun to play well and continued clicking as they would answer the Rebels score. Another nice drive by the Tigers going 75 yards in nine plays. Once again the Tigers would strike on 4th down. On 4th and one from the 18, Johnson would find Kayshon Boutte again for the score to put LSU up 31-21 with :58 ticks left on the game clock.
Only a few seconds later on 1st and ten at their own 35, Matt Corral would drop back to throw. Jabril Cox would step in front of the pass intercepting the ball at the 33 and return it 14 yards to the 19 yard line with :35 second to go.
The Tigers would be unable to put it in the end zone and would have to settle for a Cade York 34 yard field goal, sending us into halftime with LSU up by a score of 34-21.
Ole Miss would start the 2nd half with the ball, 1st and ten from their 17. On 3rd and 11, Jay Ward would intercept Matt Corral's pass at the LSU 40, returning it back 16 yards to the Black Bears' 44.
The Tigers would have to settle for a 23 yard Cade York field goal after the 39 yard, 11 play drive would stall at the Land-Sharks five yard line. With 9:50 left in the quarter, LSU would hold a 37-21 lead.
As the rain would continue to fall, it looked as though the Tigers were taking control of the game and about to put the Rebels away. However, Ole Miss would refuse to quit. Their offense would dig down deep and begin to move the ball at will against the LSU defense. The Land-Sharks would answer going 65 yards in five plays as Henry Parrish would sweep into the end zone from ten yards out for the score. The Black Bears would fail at an attempted two point conversion. LSU's lead would now stand at 37-27.
LSU would quickly go three-and-out giving the ball back to an Ole Miss offense that was
now clicking on all cylinders.
The Tigers would struggle to stop the Ole Miss attack as the Rebels as the game would begin to become a wild back and forth shootout. The Land-Sharks would chomp into the LSU lead as they would drive 77 yards in eight plays, ending with a five yard touchdown pass from Matt Corral to Dontario Drummond. With 4:03 left in the 3rd, LSU would cling to a 37-34 lead.
Max Johnson and the LSU offense would fight back driving 48 yards in six plays, highlighted by a Johnson to Kayshon Boutte 47 yard completion to the Ole Miss 31 yard line. The Rebel defense would halt the drive here, forcing Cade York to attempt a 50 yard field goal. York, who kicked the game winning, record setting 57 yard field goal last week in Gainesville, booted this one right down the middle through the uprights, extending LSU's advantage to 40-34.
Corral and the Black Bear offense would begin their next drive with 2:16 left in the 3rd quarter and quickly travel 67 yards in six plays as the quarter would come to a close.
The Rebels would continue their drive into the final period of the game, scoring on the first play as Corral would connect with Braylon Sanders on a 25 yard touchdown pass giving the Land-Sharks their first lead since early in the 1st quarter, 41-40 with 14:53 left in the game.
The back and forth battle would continue as Max Johnson and the Tigers would try to answer. On the first play of the drive, Johnson would hit Boutte for a 47 yard gain to the Ole Miss 31 yard line. Four plays later, LSU would face a 2nd and six at the ten and Max Johnson would make his first and only mistake of the game. Johnson would under throw a pass into the end zone attended for Kayshon Boutte, that would be intercepted, killing a huge scoring opportunity.
Matt Corral and the Rebels would slowly dominate a seemingly beaten LSU defense. as they
would drive 80 yards in 11 plays, scoring their 4th consecutive touchdown as Matt Corral would take it into the end zone from two yards out on a bootleg to extend the Black Bears lead to 48-40 with 8:43 left on the game clock.
The rain would continue to fall as LSU would begin their next drive. Johnson would start things off with a seven yard scramble, along with a Rebel personal foul on the play to tack on 15 more yards. On the next play Boutte would grab a Johnson pass for a 16 yard gain to the Land-Sharks 37. The Tigers would grind the ball down to the Rebels 15. From there, Johnson would hit Boutte again at the Ole Miss one yard line. On the next play, Johnson would take it in himself on a quarterback sneak. LSU would attempt and fail at the two point conversion, and the Black Bears would hold onto a 48-46 lead with 5:31 left in the game.
Ole Miss would start at their 25. This time the LSU defense would stand tall and shut the Rebels down. On 3rd and 12 at the 23, Corral would be sacked for a ten yard loss by Neil Farrell.
The Tigers would begin a 56 yard drive from their own 44 with only 2:36 left that would take only three plays. On 1st and ten from the Rebels 45 yard line, Johnson would hit Boutte crossing the field in stride. He would spin away from a tackler and take it up the near sidelines for the go ahead score. York's point after would give LSU a 53-48 lead with 1:02 left in the game.
The Land-Sharks would begin their final drive from their 34. Matt Corral would put the Ole Miss offense on his shoulders and begin to carry them up the field through the steady rain fall. With a 1st and ten at the LSU 28, it looked as if the Rebels were destined to score the winning touchdown and steal the win. Corral would drop to throw and begin to step up in the pocket to run. Ali Gaye would hit Corral causing a fumble. JaCoby Stevens would recover the ball at the 27.
The Tigers would line up in victory formation and end the game. 53-48 Victory for LSU.....
For the second straight week the Tigers played with energy and heart for 60 minutes. Max Johnson once again played an outstanding game finishing 27-51, 435 yards passing, 3 TDs, 1 INT, adding 45 yards on the ground with two rushing TDs. With both John Emery and Ty Davis-Price out with injuries, true freshmen running backs Josh Williams, 55 yards on 12 carries, and Tre Bradford, 53 yards on 9 carries filled in nicely. But the night belonged to Kayshon Boutte who finished with 14 catches for 308 yards and 3 touchdowns. Boutte's 308 receiving yards breaks Josh Reed's LSU receiving yards record (292 at Alabama in 2001) and the SEC record held by Arkansas's Cobi Hamilton (303 vs. Rutgers in 2012).
Even though the LSU defense gave up 558 total yards and 48 points to the Rebels, they had several moments throughout the game where they would make key plays to help the Tigers escape with the win. They would put nice pressure on Matt Corral all game long, sacking him twice and intercepting him five times returning one for a score. LSU would win the turnover battle 6-1.
So the 2020 LSU football team will finish with a 5-5 record and will be the first time in 20 years that they will not play in a Bowl game.
A 2020 season that would begin with high expectations and would quickly turn into a shocking nightmare filled with players opting out before and during the season. Losing a red hot starting quarterback with a season ending injury causing two young true freshmen to be thrown into the fire with no experience, which would contribute to offensive inconsistencies. Then a poorly coached defense that gave up a decade of big plays week after week until showing some improvement in the final two games of the season. Yes, the 2020 LSU football season has mercifully come to an end.
However the future is bright for this young LSU football team. Several talented true freshmen gained valuable game experience, improving each week and in the process new stars have shined. The Tigers will have a lot of talent coming back in 2021 along with a very strong 2020 recruiting class. So let the offseason expectations begin to rise and GEAUX TIGERS!
Photos By: LSU/SEC