Fournette sets LSU rushing record in win over Ole Miss

Published 12:05 am Sunday, October 23, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Leonard Fournette made a triumphant return to Tigers Stadium and LSU’s starting lineup.

Fournette broke LSU’s single-game rushing record on just his first eight carries — scoring three touchdowns of 59 yards or more — and the 25th-ranked Tigers beat No. 23 Ole Miss 38-21 on Saturday night.

Fournette finished with 284 rushing yards in his first action since aggravating a left ankle injury on Sept. 24. The speed and force with which he carried the ball left little doubt about how good he feels now. His touchdowns went for 78, 76 and 59 yards. He averaged 17.8 yards on 16 carries.

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The victory puts LSU (5-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) at 3-0 under interim coach Ed Orgeron, who replaced Les Miles when the Tigers were 2-2.

LSU has a bye next week and then will host No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0) with a chance to move into first place in the SEC West.

Since Orgeron took over and promoted Steve Ensminger to offensive coordinator, the Tigers have demonstrated a penchant for big plays. They had four touchdowns of 40 or more yards against the Rebels, including Danny Etling’s 40-yard pass to D.J. Chark.

LSU finished with 515 total yards against Ole Miss (3-4, 1-3), which saw its chances of getting back into the SEC West race take a huge hit. The Rebels lost their second consecutive game and have allowed at least 28 points in five of their seven games this season.

Chad Kelly, who came in averaging an SEC-best 308.2 yards passing, was intercepted twice and sacked twice. He finished 19-of-32 for 209 yards and one touchdown.

Kelly capped Ole Miss’ opening drive with a 15-yard scoring pass to Van Jefferson, and the Rebels briefly led 10-0 before Fournette came rumbling through the right side of LSU’s offensive line for his 59-yard score.

Fournette’s 76-yard run put the Tigers up 21-13, but Marquis Haynes’ sack and strip of Etling gave Ole Miss the ball on the LSU 9. Three plays later, the Rebels tied it at 21 when Akeem Judd scored from 2 yards out and Ole Miss added a 2-point conversion on Kelly’s run.

But Fournette’s 78-yarder, which gave him 249 yards on his first seven carries, put the Tigers up for good. Derrius Guice iced it with a 6-yard TD with 7:26 left in the game.

Etling finished 19-of-28 for 204 yards and a touchdown. Guice had 57 rushing yards on 16 carries ­— the same number Fournette wound up with.