MULE’: Sorry Saints Fans, Deuce Says Ole Miss
Call it what you want, the softer, new-fangled “Magnolia Bowl,’’ or what it was it was referred to once upon a time and what it truly was, a blood-bath.
by Marty Mule’
Tiger Rag Featured Columnist
The point is – Ole Miss is going to visit LSU this week in a renewal of what was once a white-hot football rivalry.
It is no longer that, but the mindset of both teams is interesting. A pedestrian 6-4 record under new coach Houston Nutt has Rebel football reinvigorated, especially after a 59-0 thumping of breather Louisiana-Monroe. LSU is as much relieved as happy after escaping its own perceived patsy, Troy, with a memorable second-half comeback, 40-31.
Saying that was close doesn’t even cover a situation in which the Tigers were down 31-3 in the third quarter.
So who’s in a better frame of mind, an Ole Miss team thrilled just to have more “Ws’’ than “Ls’’ on its ledger, but with one of its wins the biggest fish in the SEC pond this year, the Florida Gators or LSU, a perceived preseason national contender but which just avoided an embarrassing fourth defeat?
Before Saturday’s events, one close observer, Dulymus Jenod McAllister, expressed his views, which carry some weight. Deuce McAllister, now of the New Orleans Saints, said he and the club’s defensive line coach sometimes discuss the Rebel situation. The coach, of course, is Ed Orgeron, the former Ole Miss coach who recruited most of the current Rebels, but who was fired after a three-year 10-25 record.
“It seems kind of unfair to give a coach just three years and judge him on that short period of time,” McAllister said, in pointing out that this was the year Orgeron was building toward. Orgeron was unavailable to talk, but one of his recruits was Texas transfer Jevan Snead, a legitimate top-of-the-line quarterback, the best by far in the SEC West – and tailor-made to give the LSU defense a lot of trouble.
Ole Miss, the only school in the division never to have even made it to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game, and lacking any championship credentials since Archie Manning was in the eighth grade, has some things going in its favor.
When the Rebels play their best, they are pretty potent, as proved by their 31-30 upset of the Gators, now probably playing the best football in the country, and a close call defeat (24-20) defeat to Alabama, just like LSU.
“When Ole Miss is playing well, they can beat anybody, including LSU,’’ said McAllister, who should know something about the subject. He tasted victory during his time as Rebel (1997-2000). Among his most remembered moments at Ole Miss was gaining 140 yards scoring two touchdowns against the Tigers in a 42-23 Johnny Reb victory in 1999.
“I was 3-1 against LSU,’’ McAllister said, as if to remind people. “Not too many Rebels can say that.’’
He thinks, hopes, really, others might be able to soon. A combination of the Rebels performing at the top of their game and the Tigers playing at their usual for 2008 uneven pace could give Ole Miss its first win over LSU in seven years.
“I’m not sure what the problem is with LSU,’’ McAllister said. “They have so many talented guys, but they don’t always seem to play their best game.
“Tell you what, I think Ole Miss will win 24-21.”
The first question after the exhilaration of LSU’s comeback from an embarrassing loss to Troy subsided was had the Tigers ever scored 30 points in the fourth quarter before.
They had, at least once. Fittingly it came 50 years ago when LSU closed out its national championship 1958 season against Tulane.
With only 36 players dressed out, and with the substitution rules of the day in force, limiting each player to no more than two appearances in any quarter, LSU scored 35 points in the final frame against the Greenies, who had played exceedingly well for a half.
Unfortunately for Tulane the quick LSU scoring and the ineffectiveness of the Wave offense meant the Tigers’ offensive specialists, the Go Team, and defensive specialists Chinese Bandits used up their eligibility early in the period. When the Go Team came in for its second appearance, halfback Scooter Purvis grabbed a screen pass from quarterback Durel Matherne and weaved 54 yards for a touchdown. Only seconds were used up on the game clock.
LSU was ahead 33-0 with 9:14 to play, and couldn’t substitute for the first string White Team. In a little more than seven minutes the Tigers reeled off four touchdowns – once on a punt return by Johnny Robinson..
The last points came after orders from Coach Paul Dietzel to Billy Cannon to tell the quarterback to just hammer the line and “Let’s go home.”
Cannon went to the huddle and told signal caller, “Coach said to pitch it to me wide.”
LSU ran the play, and Cannon went 45 yards for a touchdown to make the final score 62-0.
Marty Mule’ can be reached at MJM981two@Charter.net.