OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Jaxson Dart threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Tre Harris with 39 seconds remaining as No. 20 Mississippi rallied past No. 13 LSU 55-49 on Saturday night.
Ole Miss (4-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) survived a final play incomplete pass to the end zone from the 25-yard line by LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels that sailed slightly above Chris Hilton Jr., sandwiched between two Rebel defenders.
“I’ll tell you my story line. We’re down two scores in the fourth quarter and it would have been easy to give in,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said. “We get two stops, drive the field twice, no fluke plays, 700 plus yards, no turnovers, score (twice) and win this game. So proud.”
The teams combined for 1,343 yards of total offense, 14 touchdowns, two late lead changes and strong individual performances from both quarterbacks.
Dart, who threw four TD passes and rushed for another score, finished 26 of 39 for 389 yards. He ran for 50 yards and successfully rallied the Rebels from a 49-40 deficit in the final 8:34.
LSU (3-2, 2-1) was led by Daniels, who finished 27 of 36 for 414 yards and four touchdowns, including scoring passes of 11, 20 and 34 yards to Brian Thomas Jr. Daniels rushed for 99 yards as the Tigers wiped out a 28-14 first-half deficit before falling.
“Obviously, very difficult loss,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said. “Angry, disappointing – I can’t give you all the adjectives. Hats off to Ole Miss, but I expect our kids to respond to this the right way. They play for LSU and they know that’s not the standard here.”
The Rebels won on an 88-yard drive that lasted less than two minutes, capped by a Dart-to-Harris TD pass. Dart was 3 of 3 on the drive for 54 yards as the Rebels capped a total offense performance of 706 yards. Quinshon Judkins finished with 33 carries for 177 yards and a touchdown.
“We had an overwhelming amount of confidence in the huddle before the game-winning drive,” Dart said. “I understand this is a legacy game for me. Will I ever forget it? Hell no, it was the funnest moment of my life.”
ONE COSTLY TURNOVER
The only turnover in the high scoring affair provided a potential 10 or 14-point turnaround in the first quarter. Trailing 7-0, LSU’s initial drive in Ole Miss territory ended on a Jayden Daniels fumble, forced on a jarring open field tackle by safety Daijahn Anthony and recovered by Trey Washington at the 25-yard line to end the scoring threat. Four plays later, Ulysses Bentley IV scored on a 43-yard run to build the early 14-0 Ole Miss lead.
FIRST HALF FIREWORKS
Ole Miss led 31-28 at halftime as the teams combined for 760 yards of offense, were 3 of 3 apiece in the red zone and averaged more than 9 yards per play. Dart was 17 of 23 passing for 292 yards with three touchdowns and a QB rating of 205.3. Daniels was 15 for 19 passing for 234 yards and three touchdowns, added 67 rushing yards and a QB rating of 234.5.
Ole Miss: The signature win during Lane Kiffin’s tenure could not have come at a better time. The Rebels were coming off a deflating loss at Alabama and a similar occurrence last season sent Ole Miss into a four-game losing tailspin. The impressive bounce back performance in a high-stakes game kept alive division title dreams.
“We took a lot of criticism, heard a lot of criticism for what happened at Alabama last week and that’s good,” Kiffin said. “We heard it. We really responded well in practice, we really responded tonight. Sometimes a loss can help you.”
LSU: Devastating loss that might be difficult to get past. The Tigers led 49-40 with less than nine minutes left and had Ole Miss backed up to its own 12-yard line before fading. Daniels, Thomas and running back Logan Diggs, 19 rushes for 101 yards and two touchdowns, had brilliant individual performances but it was not enough.
“Jayden was terrific, threw some incredible passes. He played well,” Kelly said. “Our receivers made big plays and our backs ran well. They (Ole Miss) made a couple of plays at the end they needed to win and deserved to win.”
The No. 20 Rebels, the fourth-highest ranked SEC team in the poll, are poised to move up, but no SEC team has moved up more than five slots in any single week. No. 13 LSU is certain to drop, but will the Tigers become this season’s first two-loss team to remain in the Top 25?
LSU: A two-game road trip concludes at No. 23 Missouri on Saturday.
Ole Miss: The No. 20 Rebels host Arkansas to complete a two-game home stand on Saturday.
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