LSU holds No. 7 Ole Miss without a TD in last 3 quarters in 45-20 win

LSU has its biggest win of the Brian Kelly era.

The Tiger defense stopped Ole Miss’s offense in the second half in a 45-20 win over the No. 7 Rebels. It was Ole Miss’s first loss of the season and, as LSU fans would love pointing it out, it wasn’t a surprise either. LSU entered the game as a 2-point favorite.

Ole Miss took an early 17-3 lead and it briefly looked like it would be a cakewalk. This cakewalk was more of an LSU rout. Ole Miss failed to score a TD the rest of the way as LSU tied the game at 17-17 on the way to a 42-3 run to close the game.

LSU QB Jayden Daniels had five total touchdowns against Ole Miss a week after he had six touchdowns against Florida. Daniels threw for two scores and ran for three as Ole Miss’ defense was powerless to stop him on the ground in the second half. After putting LSU ahead for good with a pass to Mason Taylor for Taylor’s first collegiate TD, Daniels rushed for two scores in the fourth quarter.

Ole Miss’ explosive attack couldn’t spark any sort of comeback. Ole Miss entered the game relying heavily on a rushing attack featuring Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans. With Evans out Saturday, the rushing charge fell on Judkins and LSU grabbed it. Judkins finished with over 100 yards and two scores, but Ole Miss averaged less than four yards per carry as a team.

Ole Miss QB Jaxson Dart threw over 30 passes in a game for the second time this season and wasn’t very effective. Dart was 19 of 34 passes for 284 yards and an interception. After totaling nearly 300 yards of offense in the first half, the Rebels only broke the 100 yard mark in the second half in awful weather.

Is LSU a contender in the SEC West?

It was hard to envision LSU as a team to be reckoned with in SEC West in Kelly’s freshman season after their self-inflicted 24-23 loss to Florida State in Week 1. And it’s also worth mentioning that this is the same Tigers team that was strangled 40-13 by Tennessee two weeks ago.

But at 6-2, LSU should be ranked in the AP Top 25 on Sunday and heads into its bye week with Alabama next and dreams of a 10-win season.

While a 10-win season is a long shot — the tide will be favored Nov. 5 — a nine-win season is now a reasonable expectation with a home stretch from Arkansas, UAB and Texas A&M. And if LSU beats Alabama, well, SEC West would be the Tigers’ loss in the final three weeks of the season, because LSU would have tiebreakers over Crimson Tide and Ole Miss.

Daniels had his worst rushing game of the season in that loss to Tennessee with 16 carries for 38 yards. Since then, he has scored six rushing touchdowns among his 11 total touchdowns and now has 21 total touchdowns in eight games.

He has also made progress as a passer. Daniels was just 8 of 20 in a 21-17 win over Auburn and has completed more than 70% of his passes since then. If Daniels continues to be a scoring threat on the ground and in the air and LSU’s defense is as good as it was the last three quarters on Saturday, then the rivalry game against Alabama is two weeks away. could be a lot spicier than many initially thought.

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA – OCTOBER 22: Jayden Daniels #5 of the LSU Tigers celebrates a touchdown during the second half of the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Tiger Stadium on October 22, 2022 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

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