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Ole Miss Returns LSU To Its Lost Season, 31-17, On Eli Manning Day

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OXFORD, Mississippi – This was the LSU that athletic director Scott Woodward and football coach Ed Orgeron had in mind two weeks ago when Woodward fired Orgeron, and Orgeron readily accepted his pressure-less interim status with that $17 million buyout.

The somewhat relaxed Tigers were embarrassed, 31-17, at No. 12 Ole Miss Saturday, allowing 264 rushing yards and rushing for just 77 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in a similar fashion to their 42-21 loss at Kentucky on Oct. 9.

“I was embarrassed,” Orgeron said when his firing went public last Sunday of the Kentucky loss in which his team allowed 330 rushing yards. “Just wasn’t LSU’s style of football. When he (Woodward) came and talked to me after the Kentucky game, I knew it was time. There was going to be a change made. I just felt that.”

And if not that week, this week as Orgeron must have felt the same way Saturday as Ole Miss rushed for 264 yards to 77 by LSU and roared to a a 31-7 lead in the third quarter. Rebels tailbacks Snoop Coner and Jerrion Ealy gashed LSU for 117 yards and 97 yards, respectively.

The Tigers’ 49-42 upset of No. 20 Florida last week felt like an aberration on this day as LSU (4-4, 2-3 SEC) was not in the game long after taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. The Tigers lost a fourth game in October for the first time since 1999 – the last time LSU had a losing season at 3-8.

Ole Miss (6-1, 3-1 SEC) beat LSU for the first time since a 38-17 win in 2015 that helped lead to then-LSU coach Les Miles almost getting fired that season. It happened four games into the 2016 season, and Orgeron took over.

LSU had a chance to take a 10-0 lead when it faced fourth-and-goal from the Ole Miss 3-yard line. But Orgeron, who has nothing to lose including that buyout, went for it. And Ole Miss nickel back Tysheem Johnson picked off quarterback Max Johnson’s pass at the 1-yard line.

Ole Miss drove to a field goal to get within 7-3 early in the second quarter, and LSU’s offense was basically done for the day until late in the game after it was long decided, The Rebels scored two touchdowns to close the first half and take a 17-7 lead.

It was still close, but it was over as former Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning had his No. 10 placed next to his dad, former Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning’s No. 18 and former defensive back Chucky Mullins’ No. 38 at halftime.

“Seeing my No. 10 hanging up there next to my dad will be one of the greatest moments of my life,” Manning said on the field just before the unveiling. “Thank you. I love Ole Miss. Hotty, toddy.”

And the party was on.

Archie’s grandson, Arch Manning – the most coveted high school quarterback in the nation for the class of 2023 as a junior at Newman High in New Orleans – was also on hand. So was Archie and Eli’s mom Olivia, a Philadelphia, Mississippi native, who was Ole Miss’ homecoming queen when Archie was a senior in 1970.

In the Arch sweepstakes, Ole Miss likely has the lead over LSU now, if not the multitude of other suitors, such as Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Texas and others.

M-A-N-N-I-N-G was spelled out in each end zone, supposedly for Eli and Archie and not Arch to keep within NCAA recruiting rules. But a Manning is a Manning.

It was Eli Manning Day, but it could have been Ed Orgeron Day, too, as Rebels’ fans reveled in their former head coach losing to them for the first time as a head coach since Ole Miss fired him following the 2007 season. It was Orgeron who often poked fun of Ole Miss as LSU’s coach as he beat the Rebels five straight times – once as LSU’s interim coach the first time in 2016 and four more from 2017-20.

LSU crept within 31-17 late in the game, but it was only cosmetic.

After an open date, LSU goes to No. 4 Alabama. As of now, Orgeron plans to be there.

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Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau has been on the LSU beat since 1998 with multiple outlets in Louisiana, prior to that he had covered both Auburn and Alabama. He won first place for his game feature on LSU's upset at Florida last season from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He was also named Beat Writer of Year, by Louisiana Sports Writers Association in July; placed in three Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) categories – Beat Writer, Explanatory, Game Coverage – last spring. Guilbeau was also the FWAA first-place winner for columns in 2017 and was also the top overall winner in 2016 FWAA placing first for his game story, second in columns, and receiving honorable mention for features.

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