Coach Ed Orgeron will never admit it.
But Saturday’s dominant victory over Ole Miss had to feel awfully good.
Coach O beat his former team for the second-straight year on Saturday, as the Tigers walloped the Rebels 40-24 to keep the Magnolia Bowl Trophy for another year.
LSU’s sometimes inept offense was awfully good on Saturday, gaining 593 yards against the Rebels’ overmatched defense.
Orgeron, who was Ole Miss’s head coach for three seasons earlier in his career, shied away publicly from making this win about him, instead opting to deflect credit to the LSU team which is now 6-2 overall and has now won three games in a row going into its bye week.
“It’s just another SEC game,” Orgeron said. “It’s a great rivalry between LSU and Ole Miss and I’m just glad to win. I’m happy for our players and the Tiger family. This wasn’t about me at all. Whatever happened at Ole Miss in the past (doesn’t matter). I’m grateful to have the job here. I’m so happy to be the LSU Tiger football coach.”
LSU had good things happen in all three phases on Saturday night.
Offensively, the Tigers moved the ball with ease throughout the game, using short passes and dominant rushing to continually push forward the Rebels.
LSU scored 10 points in the first quarter – first on a 35-yard field goal by Connor Culp to go up 3-0 – a 72-yard drive started after the Tigers’ defense forced Ole Miss into a three-and-out drive to start the game.
Ole Miss got a field goal of its own in the first quarter to tie the game at 3, but just a minute later, LSU went up for good with a seven-yard touchdown run from Derrius Guice to go ahead 10-3.
Guice was a monster in the win, rushing 22 times for 276 yards and a score.
“It felt good,” Guice said after the win. “It felt good to get rolling.”
In the second quarter, both teams traded field goals, sending the game to halftime with LSU up 13-6.
Culp was an emerging star in the win, booming home all four of his tries – just one week after making a game-winning kick against Auburn.
In the second half, LSU started scoring more touchdowns and kicking fewer field goals.
The Tigers scored 27 second-half points, including 17 in the third quarter to keep the Rebels in check. Quarterback Danny Etling scored on a scramble to put the Tigers up 23-9 midway through the third quarter – their largest lead at that point in the game.
After the Rebels struck for a touchdown of their own to cut the lead to 23-16, Etling answered again with a shovel pass touchdown to J.D. Moore to put LSU up 30-16 after three quarters.
The icing on the cake came early in the fourth quarter when Etling hit Foster Moreau on a 60-yard touchdown pass off a play-action fake to put LSU up 37-16. The entire Rebels’ defense bit on the run threat and Moreau was running free down the field for a big touchdown.
Culp added the last LSU points of the game later on a 47-yard field goal, which was right down the middle.
Ole Miss scored a garbage-time touchdown late to bring the game to its final margin.
After the game, Orgeron credited the coaching staff for keeping players focused in a game that a lot of national media analysts called a “trap game” for the Tigers.
The coach also said he briefly talked about LSU’s next game – a road date at Alabama, which will come in the first weekend of November.
“We’re confident,” Orgeron said. “Our kids have fought. We were in a hole, but we fought. We dug ourselves out of that hole and we kept going.”