The LSU and Ole Miss rivalry has everything from passionate fan bases that despise each other to special chants pulled out only for the annual Magnolia Bowl.
The Tiger faithful hope chants of “Go to hell, Ole Miss, go to hell!” will echo throughout Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Saturday when No. 15 LSU takes on No. 22 Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi.
Despite the easy win LSU (7-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) craves, the nature of the rivalry promises a dogfight.
“Of course, playing Ole Miss is always an exciting game,” Miles said. “There’s always something to it. [Ole Miss] Coach Hugh Freeze has done a great job there. They have done a great job recruiting and there’s talent on both sides of the ball.”
Since arriving in Baton Rouge in 2005, LSU coach Les Miles has a 7-3 record against the Rebels (7-3, 4-2 SEC), featuring shootouts, blowouts and close finishes.
Excluding the Tigers’ two blowout wins in 2005 and 2011 and Ole Miss’ dominant 31-13 win in 2008, the rivalry’s average margin of victory amounts to only 5.9 points during the last decade despite the Tigers rolling into each game as a ranked team.
LSU stumbles into this season’s collision with the Rebels after back-to-back losses, but just a year ago, Tiger fans stormed the field following LSU’s 10-7 upset of then-No. 3 Ole Miss on Oct. 25.
With the Tigers trailing the Rebels, 7-3, then-sophomore quarterback Anthony Jennings led a 95-yard, 13-play drive, capped off by a three-yard touchdown pass to then-senior tight end Logan Stokes.
After the game, then-freshman wide receiver Trey Quinn crowd surfed, providing an iconic picture of LSU’s upset win.
“I was in the middle of it, then I made my way into the locker room after a minute of it,” said senior linebacker Deion Jones. “I wasn’t like Trey Quinn though. I wish I was. I was a little jealous.”
Although the Tigers had to fight back in 2014, LSU dominated the 2011 clash from the first snap with a 52-3 win.
The Tigers outgained the Rebels, 458-195, including 353 yards on the ground.
When backup then-sophomore quarterback Zach Mettenberger put the Tigers in point-blank scoring position with a 25-yard run late in the fourth quarter, Miles made a rare decision in elite football — he showed mercy, even in a rivalry game.
Instead of breaking the 60-point mark, the Tigers knelt on the one-yard for four straight downs, showcasing Miles’ version of sportsmanship.
“Victory was assured,” Miles said in his post-game press conference. “There was no reason to take snaps at that point.”
The Tigers held the upperhand in the rivalry over the decade, but the Rebels managed to squeak out three wins by an average 7.7 points, including two and three-point upsets in 2009 and 2013, respectively.
In one of Miles’ most infamous games on LSU’s sideline, the Tigers fell to Ole Miss, 25-23, on Nov. 21, 2009, after the “Mad Hatter” mismanaged the clock on the last drive.
After the Tigers recovered the onside kick with 1:16 remaining the fourth quarter, then-sophomore quarterback Jordan Jefferson sparked the comeback with a 26-yard connection to then-senior wide receiver Brandon LaFell to the Rebels’ 32-yard line.
LSU lost 16 yards on the next two plays, and Miles allowed about 18 seconds to tick off before calling his final timeout with nine seconds left. Then Jefferson put the Tigers in scoring position with a 43-yard pass to then-junior wide receiver Terrence Toliver to Ole Miss’ five-yard line.
But sending out his field goal team with few ticks left, Miles sent Jefferson out to spike the ball, handing the Rebels a 25-23 win.
Despite the ups-and-downs against Ole Miss throughout his LSU career, Miles’ players remain loyal and determined.
“We’ve been there as a team when he’s had his down moments,” Jefferson said. “Whatever miscues in life we were there for him like he was there for us when we had our miscues, as well.”