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11/17/2012 11:15 PM EST
No. 8 LSU outlasts Ole Miss, 41-35
LSU 41, OLE MISS 35

By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- In a joyous, raving, almost delirious
rant, Les Miles gushed over his team's inexorable determination
and urged LSU fans to put their arms around his players and
"give them a big kiss on the mouth."



Miles is known to get a little loopy and emotional at times, so
his comments hardly seemed out of character after a classic
contest with historical rival Ole Miss that even evoked memories
of Billy Cannon's famous Halloween night punt return in 1959.



Jeremy Hill scored his third touchdown on a 1-yard plunge with
15 seconds left to lift the Tigers to a 41-35 victory over
relentless but mistake-prone Mississippi on Saturday.



"I'm proud of those men," Miles said of his team. "How easy it
could of have been to say it was (Ole Miss') night. Spectacular
group of men. You go find them, throw your arms around them and
you give them a big kiss on the mouth, if you are a girl. Wow!
What a game!"



The game included seven turnovers, numerous momentum swings and
long touchdowns, perhaps none better than Odell Beckham Jr.'s
89-yard punt return for a score that evoked memories of Cannon's
famous return against the same team, along the same sideline,
for the same yardage.



"That was maybe the biggest momentum changer in the game," Miles
said, adding giddily, "Is it Halloween night?"



Beckham eluded numerous tacklers, slipping one as he traversed
the field, then broke away from pursuers down the right sideline
toward the north end zone while teammate Jarvis Landry waved him
along with a windmill motion.



"Everyone had their block, everyone had their man and everyone
covered their assignments," Beckham said. "I saw a crease and I
just hit it. ... It was an amazing experience and definitely
changed the momentum."



Beckham's return tied the game at 35, but LSU (9-2, 5-2
Southeastern Conference) still needed clutch back-to-back sacks
by Anthony Johnson and Lavar Edwards to drive Ole Miss (5-6,
2-5) out of routine field goal range later in the fourth
quarter. Bryson Rose then pushed a 53-yard kick wide right,
setting up the winning drive.



Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace passed for 310 yards and two TDs
and ran for two scores, but also was intercepted three times.
His touchdown passes went to Donte Moncrief, the first for 56
yards and the second for 30. Wallace's first score came on a
58-yard run.



"I've been coaching a long time, maybe not at this level, but
this here is one of the most difficult locker rooms to be in
this year," first-year coach Hugh Freeze said. "Our kids just
fought for our university and our fans and they should be proud
of that. We just can't seem to get that stop when we have to
have one, or that touchdown when we have to have one."



Zach Mettenberger completed 22 of 37 passes for 282 yards and
was intercepted twice. Hill finished with 77 yards rushing,
including a 27 yard run for his first TD. Spencer Ware had LSU's
other touchdown on a leap over the pile on fourth-and-goal from
the 1.



"I never thought at any point we were going to lose that game,"
Mettenberger said. "We had control of the game. We had a couple
of turnovers but we had been driving the ball well all night and
the passing game was there. We just have to clean up the
turnovers and we still won. Hopefully we can go into next week
against Arkansas and do the same thing."



LSU heads into that game still technically alive for an SEC
title - if the Tigers beat the Razorbacks, while Texas A&M beats
Missouri and Auburn upsets Alabama. That would create a
three-way tie in the SEC West that LSU would win.



The Ole Miss turnovers gave LSU several chances to seize
control, but the Tigers had three drives stall inside the
Mississippi 10. Two of them ended with field goals and another
with Senquez Golson's interception in the end zone, a play that
allowed the Rebels to cling to a 21-20 lead in the third
quarter.



Mississippi then widened its lead to 28-20 on a drive set up by
Golson's second interception. Randall Mackey's 6-yard scoring
run capped it.



"Everything we were doing was working," Wallace said. "We
executed for the most part, but there were still times that we
were shooting ourselves in the foot. We have to eliminate that."



LSU rallied to tie it on Hill's 1-yard touchdown run around the
left side and a 2-point conversion on Mettenberger's pass to
Ware, but the Rebels marched right back down the field in 28
seconds to regain the lead, 35-28, on Wallace's pass to Moncrief
along the left sideline.



That, however, would be the final points for a Mississippi team
that is one win from bowl eligibility and made it clear early on
it was not going to lay down against an LSU team favored by more
than two touchdowns.



Ole Miss took a 21-17 lead into halftime after Wallace converted
a fourth-and-3 with a 20-yard pass to Logan, then hit Logan
again for 25 yards before keeping the ball for his second
rushing TD of the game from the 1.



"We should have had it. We let it slip away," Mackey said.
"We're just tired of losing. We came ready to play."

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