A shootout ensued in Oxford Saturday night with No. 20 Ole Miss hanging on to defeat No. 13 LSU 55-49 in front of a record-breaking crowd of 66,703 at Vaught Hemingway Stadium.
Both teams combined for 1,343 total yards — 706 for Ole Miss and 637 for LSU — with opposing quarterbacks Jaxson Dart and Jayden Daniels throwing for a combined eight touchdowns and rushing for a collective two.
Ole Miss struck first blood when Lane Kiffin and company, known to go for it on fourth down, drew up a pass play to All-American running back Quinshon Judkins to take a 7-0 lead.
The Rebels’ defense got off to a hot start, forcing the Tigers to punt on their first drive. On LSU’s second offensive possession, Liberty transfer Daijahn Anthony forced Daniels to fumble, setting up a touchdown run by Ulysses Bentley IV to give Ole Miss a 14-0 lead.
LSU responded with a Daniels touchdown pass to slow the Rebels’ momentum.
Dart found his go-to weapon in Jordan Watkins for a 63-yard touchdown to put the Rebels up by double-digits. LSU scored on the ground to put themselves within a score. Dart continued the circus of a first half with a touchdown pass to a wide-open Dayton Wade to reclaim a double-digit lead.
Daniels threw his second touchdown pass of the game, putting the Tigers within seven. Ole Miss moved the ball down the field on the following drive, setting up kicker Caden Davis for a 28-yard field goal. LSU, with under two minutes remaining in the half, scored another touchdown to trail by three points.
The Rebels stalled on their next offensive drive and gave a hungry LSU offense the ball with under 30 seconds in the second quarter. The Tigers drove down into Ole Miss territory, but an incomplete Damian Ramos field goal kept the Rebels up at halftime.
The high-powered offensive battle continued into the second half.
LSU opened up the third quarter with an eight-play drive for 85 yards and a Daniels rushing touchdown to take a 35-31 lead. A successful 48-yard field goal attempt by Davis pulled the Rebels within one point.
The Tigers continued to punish the Rebels defense, with running back Logan Diggs marching into the endzone for LSU to claim a 42-34 lead late in the third quarter. On the next drive, Judkins found the end zone, giving the Rebels a chance to tie the game. However, a failed two-point conversion attempt gave LSU a 42-40 advantage in the fourth quarter.
Ole Miss’ defense began to pick up some steam in the fourth quarter with the unit’s first stop of the half courtesy of a sack recorded by linebacker Ashanti Cistrunk. The Rebels failed to convert on fourth down, giving LSU an advantageous field position and a chance to separate themselves on the scoreboard.
Daniels proceeded to find Brian Thomas, Jr. for the wide receiver’s third touchdown of the game to give the Tigers a 49-40 advantage with under 10 minutes remaining in the game. Ole Miss did not go away, though. A quarterback sneak by Dart put the Rebels back within two points with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
After a big stop by the defense, the game rested in the hands of Dart and the Ole Miss offense. The Rebels received the ball at the 12-yard line with the game on the line. A touchdown pass to Tre Harris put Ole Miss up 55-49 with under a minute remaining.
LSU drove down to the Ole Miss 16-yard line, but back-to-back penalties drove the Tigers back with under 15 seconds left to play. Two incomplete passes later, Ole Miss found themselves victorious in a rollercoaster of a game to cement arguably the most important win in Kiffin’s tenure.
“For them to show up today after us losing [last week] and set the record for highest attendance in school history for a game — we say, ‘do things better than they’ve ever been done before,’ it’s a motto we have — that’s awesome,” Kiffin said afterward. “You could feel it in the game. Certainly, you could feel it in the fourth quarter. It was really, really neat to have that electric environment.”
Ole Miss, for the first time in the season, rushed for more than 300 yards. Judkins led the way on the ground with 177 yards and a score. On the receiving end, Harris, who had finally fully recovered from a week two injury, had 153 yards and a touchdown.
Both signal callers delivered impressive performances with Dart finsihed with 389 yards through the air and 50 on the ground with five total touchdowns. Daniels’ stats nearly mirrored Dart’s. The LSU veteran had 414 passing yards, 99 rushing yards, and five scores.
Next up for Ole Miss (4-1, 1-1 SEC) is a home match against Arkansas next Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT.