Same Problem: Lack of a Late Defensive Stop Haunts LSU in Loss to Ole Miss

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Same Problem: Lack of a Late Defensive Stop Haunts LSU in Loss to Ole Miss
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
I'Tavius Mathers runs away from LSU tacklers late in the fourth quarter.

LSU was beaten down thoroughly by Ole Miss on Saturday. 

Do not let the 27-24 scoreline deceivethe Tigers were massacred by the injury-riddled Rebels. 

Ole Miss accumulated 525 yards, while LSU gained 388. Ole Miss won the turnover battle. Hugh Freeze outcoached Les Miles

It took two massive errors by Ole Miss in special teams to even keep the Tigers in the game.

LSU tied the game late thanks to a Zach Mettenberger touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry. The LSU defense needed to make a stop to get the ball back for a chance to win the game. 

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Mettenberger threw three interceptions on Saturday night. He only threw two for the season coming into the game.

But Tigers fans knew the stop was not going to happen.

Ole Miss took over at its own 15-yard line with 3:19 remaining. The Rebels traveled 61 yards down to the LSU 24 on 14 plays, converting two third downs in the process. Kicker Andrew Ritter crushed a 41-yard field goal as time expired on a day numerous SEC title hopefuls fell by the wayside

For the second time this year, the LSU defense could not make a big stop to win the game. Georgia's Aaron Murray trotted down the field with ease late in the fourth quarter to win 44-41. 

LSU has lost five games in the past two seasons. Four of them have been lost due to the lack of a clutch defense. The Tigers have given up 24 points in the final three minutes of those games. 

LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis should not be blamed entirely. But during Chavis' tenure in Baton Rouge, the Tigers have consistently crumbled in the clutch.

Ole Miss marks the 15th time under Chavis LSU has closed the game poorly on defense in the fourth quarter against opponents. 

To be fair, LSU made some stops and forced a few turnovers on defense and special steams. But the defense could not make a play on the most critical drive of the game. 

Who deserves the most blame for LSU's loss on Saturday?

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Give Ole Miss credit. The Rebels have two NFL-level receivers and an experienced quarterback in Bo Wallace who play spectacularly. Defensively, Ole Miss mixed up its schemes well against the Tigers. 

The main focus should be LSU's overall sluggish play. The Tigers were embarrassingly bad. Miles coached an awful game in Oxford for the second time in his career. 

But the facts are the facts. LSU had a chance to win a game to keep its national championship hopes alive, but it did not do it.  

Championship defenses are not judged by if they make stops, but if they make them when it matters the most. 

This season marks the second straight the defense has not been championship caliber. Unfortunately for LSU fans, they will see another season fall by the wayside because the Tigers are not clutch on defense.  

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