CATEGORY: FOC College Football
HED:Faulk held in check by Rebs' stingy defense
By Gene Phelps
OXFORD -- Call it bending, then breaking, but not all the way.
Ole Miss' defensive unit did a number on LSU's high-powered offense for three quarters in Saturday's SEC shootout won 37-31 by the Rebels in overtime -- limiting quarterback Herb Tyler and running back Kevin Faulk to 199 yards on 45 plays.
But the fourth quarter belonged to LSU.
Taking advantage of a short Ole Miss punt and two turnovers in Rebel territory, the Tigers put 21 points on the scoreboard in the final period to force the overtime. LSU's last touchdown came on a 1-yard pass from Tyler to Rondell Mealey with two seconds remaining.
"We still haven't played a complete game," Ole Miss defensive tackle Kendrick Clancy said. "Today, we let up in the fourth quarter. Once we get everybody clicking on the same cylinders we could be unstoppable."
Clancy says the Rebels did nothing fancy to shut down the Tigers and Faulk for three periods. Faulk finished with 75 yards rushing, but he had only 39 through three quarters.
"We just lined up and played ball," Clancy said. "We lined up in our base defense and brought it to them."
In overtime, Ole Miss' defense came through. Freshman defensive back Syniker Taylor broke up Tyler's fourth-down pass in the end zone intended for Larry Foster to seal the victory.
"Big players make big plays against good people," Ole Miss defensive coordinator Art Laufman said of Taylor's final play.
Taylor, who plays free safety, said he was in man-to-man coverage on Foster.
"I knew the ball hit him in the chest and I had to get a hand on it," Taylor said. "I reached around and tipped the ball away from him with my left hand. I wasn't sure what happened until I heard the crowd roaring."
On its overtime possession, LSU, trailing by six points after Cory Peterson's TD reception, could smell the end zone. Tyler and Foster connected for a 12-yard gain to the Ole Miss 10-yard line after a 3-yard run by Faulk. The Tigers' all-star running back then rushed 6 yards down to the Ole Miss 4.
On second down, Tyler rolled right and got tackled for no gain by linebacker Eddie Strong. Faulk was stopped on the next play for no gain by linebacker Armegis Spearman, setting up the fourth-down play.
"We knew they would do one of three things," Kaufman said. "They were in quarterback draw area, they could run the option, or pass. Those are the three things we talked about on the sideline. They went with the third option."
Taylor was there.
"I just did my job," he said.