Death Valley claimed another victim Saturday night.
The No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels fell to the 24th-ranked LSU Tigers 10-7 even though Les Miles‘ squad nearly had the game slip away.
With nine seconds remaining, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze made a dumbfounding decision. After initially allowing his kicker to line up to attempt a game-tying field goal, Freeze decided to take one shot toward the end zone after LSU called a timeout.
Senior quarterback Bo Wallace rolled to his left after the snap. He lobbed the ball toward the end zone for one final attempt to claim a victory. The quarterback didn’t put enough loft on the ball, and it was intercepted by LSU safety Ronald Martin. Game over. Ole Miss kicker Gary Wunderlich never got a chance to prove himself in adverse conditions.
Freeze’s decision was immediately panned on social media:
Those are just a few examples.
Wallace played his worst game of the season at the wrong time. Even if his mind-boggling poor throw at the end of the game is excluded, Wallace was still 14-of-32 passing for 176 yards.
The Rebels were never able to get on track on offense, while LSU dominated in the trences.
LSU ran the ball 55 times for 264 yards against a defense that was ranked fourth overall in stopping the run entering the contest. Ole Miss’ undersized front simply couldn’t hold up as LSU continued to deliver blow after blow. Freshman running back Leonard Fournette led the way with 113 rushing yards.
The Tigers’ resiliency under Miles has been remarkable.
Even after a season-defining victory for LSU, the Tigers won’t be the happiest program due to this outcome. With the loss, Ole Miss will likely drop out of the Top 5 and create a spot for another a one-loss program to slide into the top four once the College Football Playoff committee releases its initial rankings Tuesday.
The No. 5 Auburn Tigers, No. 6 Oregon Ducks, No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and No. 8 Michigan State Spartans will all be vying for that final spot. With Ole Miss out of the way (for now), one of those program are expected to make a very important move into the upper echelon of college football.
The Rebels season isn’t over, though.
Ole Miss can reclaim its status as one of the nation’s top teams. Next weekend’s contest against Auburn will be vitally important to the program’s future.
It doesn’t get any easier for LSU either. The Tigers host the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide in two weeks.