OXFORD, Miss. — Ed Orgeron didn’t have many good moments during the three years he was actually employed at Mississippi.
The LSU coach had a great one at the Rebels’ expense Saturday night.
Derrius Guice ran for a season-high 276 yards and a touchdown to lead No. 24 LSU over Ole Miss 40-24 in Orgeron’s return as a head coach to Oxford. Danny Etling threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns and the LSU defense shut down Ole Miss’ usually productive passing game.
LSU (6-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) has won three straight games, all in conference play. It’s been an impressive turnaround for the Tigers, who three weeks lost a stunner at home against Troy and the program appeared in disarray.
“We were in a hole and we dug ourselves out of a hole,” Orgeron said. “We know who we are — we’ve got to play with passion. We’ve got to play with energy and work hard to get the things we want. It doesn’t just happen.”
The 5-foot-11, 218-pound Guice ran for 126 yards in the first half, which was already good enough for his season high. It was the biggest reason the Tigers had a 13-6 by halftime and the junior was far from finished.
Guice said the LSU players were well aware of Orgeron’s history at Ole Miss and that gave the team some extra emotion. Orgeron was the Ole Miss coach from 2005-07 before being fired after having a 10-25 record over three seasons.
“Come out fighting, come out with your fists up and leave with your fists up,” Guice said. “It’s one of those games. Coach O didn’t talk about it a lot, but we knew we had to pull it off for him.”
Ole Miss (3-4, 1-3) came into the game with the SEC’s most prolific passing offense, but struggled for pretty much the entire night against an impressive LSU defense.
Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson — who came into the game leading the league with 2,143 yards passing — hurt his right knee during the second quarter and didn’t play the final series of the first half. He returned in the second half, but the Rebels’ offense didn’t fare much better.
“In this league, when a play is there, you have to make it,” Luke said. “We did not make enough of those plays tonight. I’m disappointed in the outcome. You’ve got to win the one on ones.”
Patterson completed just 10 of 23 passes for 116 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. Ole Miss interim coach Matt Luke said Patterson has a sprained knee.
LSU: It’s another impressive win for the Tigers, who have resurrected their season since the Troy loss on Sept. 30. Guice had a huge game on the ground and Darrel Williams added 103 yards rushing and 105 yards receiving. The LSU defense did a great job containing the Ole Miss passing game, which came into Saturday averaging more than 357 yards per game.
Ole Miss: It was a frustrating night for the Rebels, who couldn’t get anything going with the passing game. Patterson didn’t look the same after his injury, often walking with a slight limp after plays. The Ole Miss defense couldn’t stop Guice, who had huge running lanes the entire night.
“We knew to win this game, we’ve had to stop (Guice) and we didn’t,” Luke said.
LSU has a bye week before travelling to face No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 4.
Ole Miss hosts Arkansas next Saturday.