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No. 5 LSU escapes Ole Miss with last-minute TD

Nov 21, 2010 - 3:16 AM Baton Rouge, LA (Sports Network) - Stevan Ridley ran for three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 44 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, as fifth-ranked LSU escaped with a 43-36 victory over Ole Miss.

Ridley finished with 89 yards on 18 carries for the Tigers (10-1, 6-1 SEC), who have won 11 straight home games. Jordan Jefferson completed 13-of-17 passes for 254 yards with one touchdown and added another score on the ground.

Jeremiah Masoli had given Ole Miss (4-7, 1-6) a 36-35 lead on a 65-yard touchdown pass to Markeith Summers with just under five minutes left in regulation.

But the senior wide receiver somersaulted into the end zone, resulting in an excessive celebration penalty. The Rebels failed on the two-point conversion.

A 34-yard kickoff return by Patrick Peterson set the Tigers up near midfield. Jefferson orchestrated an eight-play drive that Ridley finished off with a seven-yard run, and a two-point conversion made it 43-36.

"I felt like we were running the football well," said LSU head coach Les Miles about the last scoring drive. "We had Michael Ford going, established him and we had the weak option going. The combination of those two plays allowed us to go right down the field."

Any chance of a dramatic Rebels' comeback ended when Masoli was intercepted for the second time on the final play of the game.

"It was a very hard-fought ball game," said Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt. "I thought our guys played their hearts out. Again, it was just like this season has been. We just came up too short."

Both LSU and Ole Miss committed turnovers on its first second-half possession.

After Jefferson began the third quarter with a 16-yard completion to Terrence Toliver, Michael Ford ran for what appeared to be a 54-yard touchdown. A video review, however, determined Ford stepped out of bounds at the Ole Miss 40.

Later on the drive, Jefferson was picked off by Rebels safety Fon Ingram, but Masoli fumbled while being sacked on the second play of the subsequent series. LSU's Drake Nevis recovered the ball at the Ole Miss 12, and the Tigers led, 23-17, after Josh Jasper made a 24-yard field goal.

The Rebels responded with an 11-play, 90-yard drive during which they converted their third fourth down in as many tries. Brandon Bolden's three- yard dash to the end zone and Bryson Rose's extra point gave the visitors their first lead of the game with 4:34 remaining in the third quarter.

Ole Miss, which was crushed by Tennessee, 52-14, a week ago, recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, but wound up punting the ball away.

Jefferson then took the Tigers 80 yards in eight plays, capping the drive with a three-yard touchdown on a quarterback sneak early in the fourth quarter. LSU failed on the two-point conversion and led, 29-24.

Masoli answered with a 22-yard TD run up the middle to put Ole Miss back on top. The Rebels also went for two, and Masoli's pass fell incomplete.

Ford's 27-yard catch-and-run on a shovel pass gave LSU a 35-30 advantage with 7:30 to play. Once again, the Tigers were denied on the two-point conversion.

Ridley scored on a two-yard run on the Tigers' first possession of the game just three plays after Masoli had his first pass tipped and hauled in by LSU defensive end Lavar Edwards.

Ole Miss' Jeff Scott returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield, and Bolden scampered to the end zone on first down, tying the game at 7-7.

After the teams traded field goals, Ridley ran for another two-yard touchdown on the second play of the second quarter to give LSU a 17-10 lead. The score was set up by Deangelo Peterson's 32-yard reception.

The Tigers marched to the Ole Miss one on their next drive, but were forced to settle for a 25-yard Jasper field goal.

A four-yard TD run by Masoli capped a nine-play series and trimmed the Rebels' deficit to three, 20-17, with 27 seconds left before halftime.

Game Notes

The Tigers snapped a two-game losing streak to the Rebels...Ford had 58 yards on nine carries...Masoli completed 15-of-23 passes for 177 yards and picked up 64 yards on the ground...Bolden ran for 91 yards on 18 carries...Ole Miss finished 4-for-5 on fourth down conversions.