When LSU travelled to Oxford to take on the Ole Miss Rebels in 2009 for the annual Magnolia Bowl, the Tigers were 8-2 and ranked No. 8 in the country. The Rebels, meanwhile, were 7-3 and trying to rebound after ascending to as high as the No. 4 ranking earlier in the season.
LSU's defense bent but didn't break in the first quarter, allowing two Rebel field goals sandwiched around a Patrick Peterson 53-yard blocked field goal return for a touchdown. Jordan Jefferson finally got the offense cooking late in the first, with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Rueben Randle to give the Tigers the 14-6 lead after the opening period.
The two teams traded field goals early in the second quarter before Ole Miss receiver Jesse Grandy rushed it in from three yards out on a jet sweep to cut the deficit to two. Rebel head coach Houston Nutt started chasing points early, but the two-point conversion failed, and LSU entered the locker room with a 17-15 lead at the half.
The two teams failed to score in the third quarter, but the fun in this one was just getting started.
Early in the fourth quarter, Rebel running back Dexter McCluster—who was 0-of-5 for his career throwing the ball—took a handoff, ran right, pulled up and found a wide-open Shay Hodge for a 27-yard touchdown to give the Rebs a 22-17 lead.
After a Joshua Shene field goal extended the lead to 25-17 late in the fourth quarter, LSU embarked on a 10-play, 66-yard drive, culminating with a 25-yard touchdown from Jefferson to Randle to get the Tigers within two with 1:17 to play.
Needing the two-point conversion to tie, Jefferson's pass to Terrence Toliver in the back corner of the end zone was broken up.
With the clock as a major factor, LSU was forced to attempt onside kick. Josh Jasper's kick hit Brandon LaFell in stride, and the Tigers had new life.
Jefferson hit LaFell on a screen pass to get the Tigers on the brink of field-goal range with just over a minute to go.
After an incomplete pass and a sack, LSU called its second timeout with 0:32 left to play.
On 3rd-and-19 from the Ole Miss 41, Jefferson swung it out to Stevan Ridley, who was stopped behind the line of scrimmage by Patrick Trahan with 0:26 to play. Inexplicably, LSU let the clock wind down all the way to 0:09 before calling its final timeout of the game.
On 4th-and-26, Jefferson heaved one downfield, and his prayers were answered by Toliver, who hauled it in at the Ole Miss 6-yard line with 0:01 to go.
Instead of running his field-goal team on or calling a play for the end zone, LSU hustled down to the line of scrimmage and spiked the ball at the ready for play, which allowed the final second of the game to tick off the clock and gave the Rebels the 25-23 win.
The time-management blunder to spike the ball at the end of the game stole the headlines, but it was the one that allowed 17 seconds to tick off the clock on the play before the Hail Mary that really cost the Tigers a shot at winning this game.
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