Story from Ole Miss Athletics:
OXFORD, Miss. – The stars were aligned for Ole Miss on Saturday night. A full moon. An electric, record crowd of 66,703. A powerful offensive attack. And a little bit of luck, as LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels’ potential game-winning pass into the endzone fell incomplete, sealing a 55-49 Rebel victory over the 12th-ranked Tigers on a magical night at Vaught-Hemingway.
Ole Miss (4-1, 1-1 SEC) and LSU (3-2, 2-1 SEC) combined for a mind-boggling 104 points and 1,343 yards, but it all came down to that final play with five seconds on the clock and the Tigers in position to win on a walk-off touchdown in the endzone. Ole Miss safety Daijahn Anthony had different ideas, though, as he broke up the potential 26-yard game-winner, putting all 66,703 in attendance into a frenzy as the celebration was underway.
The tale of the tape on this one was lengthy. The 55 Rebel points stand as the most scored against an AP ranked opponent in Ole Miss history, the combined point total of 104 stands as the third-most in conference history between two SEC opponents, and the 1,343 yards of total offense stands as the fifth-most in the history of the SEC – the most since 2020.
This game stands out in the Rebel record books as well, with Ole Miss’ 706 yards of total offense ranking sixth all-time – giving head coach Lane Kiffinfour of the six 700-yard games in program history.
LSU had a superb day as well, tallying 637 total yards with Daniels ending the day with 513 yards of total offense and five touchdowns, but the Rebels used a complete team effort to emerge victorious.
Ole Miss received a brilliant outing from starting quarterback Jaxson Dart, who ended the day 26-of-39 for a season-high 389 yards and four touchdowns. He was effective on the ground as well with 50 yards and a touchdown, but it was a breakout day by sophomore running back Quinshon Judkins that helped the Rebel offense keep LSU guessing, ending the day with 177 yards and one touchdown on 33 carries while adding a touchdown catch as well.
The Ole Miss offensive line did not allow a single sack, four different Rebels caught a touchdown, three different runners ran one in, and wideouts Tre Harris (eight catches, 153 yards, one TD) and Jordan Watkins (five catches, 103 yards, one TD) combined for 266 yards and two scores to compliment Dart and Judkins for Ole Miss’ all-around effort.
On the defensive side of the ball, Ashanti Cistrunk had two key sacks and John Saunders Jr. led with eight tackles, but it was Anthony who played hero all day long with a crucial forced fumble in the first half and the aforementioned last-second pass breakup to seal the game alongside his six tackles.
Ole Miss started the scoring blitz on the first drive of the game, with Judkins capping off a 14-play, 75-yard drive by hauling in a swing pass from four yards out to make it a 7-0 game. Two rare three-and-outs followed, and from there both offenses went into overdrive.
Sparking the bonanza was a huge forced fumble by Anthony, who jarred the ball loose with a big hit on a scrambling Daniels deep in Ole Miss territory. The Rebels made them pay, as Ulysses Bentley IV scampered in from 43 yards out three plays later to make it a 14-0 game with 4:00 to play in the first quarter.
That would be the first of six straight drives to end in either an Ole Miss or LSU touchdown across an absurd next quarter of play. LSU got on the board not long after Bentley’s score, with Daniels dropping a dime to Brian Thomas Jr. from 20 yards out, cutting the Rebel lead to 14-7 with 1:15 left in the opening frame. Ole Miss couldn’t let the first quarter end without another score, this time a 63-yard bomb from Dart to Watkins to push the Rebel lead to 21-7 with just 12 seconds left in the frame.
The second quarter featured an incredible 31 combined points scored: a one-yard rush by LSU’s Logan Diggs at 12:46 to cut Ole Miss’ lead to 21-14; a 15-yard touchdown pass from Dart to Dayton Wade at 8:10 to extend back up to 28-14; an 11-yard touchdown pass, again from Daniels to Thomas Jr., at 4:30 to cut it back to 28-21; a 28-yard Ole Miss field goal by Caden Davis at 1:42 to make it 31-21; and a two-minute drill 29-yard score from Daniels to Kyren Lacy with 58 seconds to go to cut the Rebel lead to 31-28.
LSU opened the second half taking the lead at 11:30 in the third quarter on an eight-play, 85-yard drive, helped greatly by Ole Miss penalties, that ended with a one-yard rushing score by Daniels. With the game now 35-31 to LSU, the Rebels were able to chip away three more points at 8:20 in the third following a 48-yard field goal by Caden Davis to make it a 35-34 game.
That set up a tug-of-war that would last the remainder of the game and keep the Vaught-Hemingway faithful on the edge of their seats until the finish. LSU closed the third quarter with a 12-yard score on the ground by Diggs at 3:41, making it 42-34 heading into the final frame. Judkins found the endzone again with 14:13 to play, this time on the ground from 11 yards out, but a failed two-point conversion left the Tiger advantage at 42-40.
LSU caught a huge momentum swing on its next drive, with a 34-yard dime from Daniels to Thomas Jr. standing up to video scrutiny after review to make it a 49-40 game with 8:34 to play. Adding to that was an Ole Miss penalty enforced on the kickoff that put the Rebels in a hole to start the next drive.
However, Ole Miss responded with two scores and two massive defensive stops to close out the game. The Rebel offense marched down the field after the shortened-kickoff on a 10-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a one-yard QB sneak by Dart at 5:06 to make it a 49-47 game.
LSU got a first down on its first play of the next drive, but the Rebel defense clamped down immediately afterward, with an Ashanti Cistrunk sack stymying the Tiger offense and forcing a punt with 2:36 to play.
With the game on the line, Dart, Harris and the Rebel offense came through with an eight-play, 88-yard scoring drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Dart to Harris and a successful two-point conversion, giving Ole Miss a 55-49 lead with just 39 seconds to play.
At first that appeared to be too much time left to give LSU, as Daniels found Chris Hilton Jr. on a 42-yard completion on the very first play of the drive to get into Rebel territory. The Ole Miss defense stiffened again, forcing an incompletion and a near-game winning interception by DeShawn Gaddie Jr. Ole Miss originally thought it had forced LSU into a fourth down after a great open-field tackle by linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste, but a flag for horsecollar gave LSU new life.
But LSU immediately responded with two false start penalties, thanks in large part to the raucous Ole Miss faithful. With five seconds to play, and on 2nd-and-20 from the Ole Miss 26, Daniels escaped a near-sack by Cedric Johnson, scrambled around and let one loose into the endzone, where Anthony was ready to force the incompletion as time expired and begin the party in Oxford.
Ole Miss will remain home this next week to host Arkansas (2-3, 0-2 SEC) on Oct. 7, with kickoff at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium set for 6:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network.See a typo? Report it here.