Jefferson, LSU finally solve Nutt, Ole Miss
BATON ROUGE, La. — The best passing performance of Jordan Jefferson’s career helped fifth-ranked LSU survive another scare by old nemesis Houston Nutt.
Jefferson passed for a career-high 254 yards, threw for one touchdown and ran for another, and LSU beat rival Mississippi for the first time in three meetings, 43-36, yesterday.
LSU (10-1, 6-1 SEC) trailed, 36-35, with 4:57 left when Patrick Peterson returned a kickoff 34 yards to midfield, setting up a winning drive that ended with Stevan Ridley’s third touchdown rushing.
Ole Miss still had 44 seconds to come back, which did not seem all that unlikely the way the fourth quarter was going. But LSU’s defense held firm and Peterson, who was likely playing his final game in Tiger Stadium, intercepted Jeremiah Masoli’s desperation pass as time ran out.
LSU was heavily favored, but as usual, Nutt found a way to make the Tigers nervous in a wild, seesaw game that featured 890 yards of offense.
Brandon Bolden rushed for 91 yards and two TDs for Ole Miss (4-7, 1-6), which came in needing to win its final two games to be eligible for a bowl. Masoli finished 15 of 23 for 177 yards, one TD, and two interceptions.
Jefferson was an efficient 13 of 17 with one interception, while Ridley’s 89 yards rushing and Deangelo Peterson’s 76 yards receiving led LSU.
The game offered the latest example of Nutt’s knack for getting a team ready to play LSU. In 2007, his Arkansas squad nearly ruined then-No. 1 LSU’s national title run with a 50-48 upset in triple overtime. In his first season at Ole Miss, the Rebels dominated the Tigers in Baton Rouge, 31-13, then last season pulled out a 25-23 upset in Oxford.
LSU appeared in control for much of their latest encounter, but three times had to settle for field goals after getting inside the Ole Miss 20. That allowed the Rebels to stay close and finally take a 24-23 lead on Bolden’s 3-yard run in the third quarter.