Rebels’ big, little feet prove costly

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

I’m back! There’s a lot of football to talk over coffee, etc., after LSU’s Saturday victory over Ole Miss in Oxford. It was 17-14 LSU, but it might as well have been a 30-point difference because a setback is a setback.

&8220;Ole Miss stumbles,&8221; one headline said, alluding to the fact that the Rebels had the upper hand in the SEC West race. The headline might have been alluding to the fact that quarterback Eli Manning got his foot under one of his players’ feet late in the game.

Eli’s big feet? No, that’s just football.

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Our son, Terry, saw the game and told us that the game was just plain-out good and that nothing could take that away from it. Ole Miss-LSU? Expect it.

All eyes will be on today’s Mississippi State-Ole Miss game now. Not that it has national significance or anything like that, but you know how season-ending big rivalry games go. I’m sure gonna watch it on TV.

Getting back to the game Ole Miss lost to LSU, you have to give the Tigers credit for a good game, which they had when they came into Oxford to start with. Of course, all of us know how you can dote on Ole Miss and LSU to give the fans more than their money’s worth.

Anything can happen in any football game, but of all things Ole Miss left guard Doug Buckles stepped on Eli’s foot as he was dropping back to pass. Oops.

Longtime sports writer and columnist Rick Cleveland of Jackson was in Oxford, and he said the script &8220;was perfect (that is, until LSU wrote the ending).&8221;

Hey, Ole Miss-LSU games have had a habit of ending in crazy ways down through the years. Take Billy Cannon’s 89-yard punt return and the other weird happenings I can’t recall. Just expect it when LSU and Ole Miss tangle. Great, isn’t it?

Back to the big Rebel-Tiger conflict, it remained for all kinds of crazy things to happen in the Oxford tango. Like the chant that placekicker Jonathan Nichols never misses, yet the Ole Miss kicker missed twice.

Nichols misfired on a second-quarter 47-yarder and again on a 36-yarder in the last five minutes that cramped Ole Miss’ style. It almost had to be good for the Rebels to remain afloat.

As placekickers go, Greenwood’s Nichols set or tied 15 school records during the 2003 campaign. Before the LSU game he had made 23 of 24 field goal attempts.

Linebacker Justin Wade opined he didn’t even think about the misses and that, &8220;I don’t even think about it (the misses),&8221; reminding us that Nichols seldom misses.

Again, this is just football we’re talking about.

HURRIED HASH &045; Nearby Jonesville, La., is all agog over their town’s world championship professional bull rider Chris Shivers. My wife and I dine at Jackie’s Restaurant now and then, and almost every time we go we run into discussions about Chris and his great success.

Think about it &045; bull riders come from all over for this international competition, and our area furnishes one of the steady winners in Chris Shivers. All I gotta say is, &8216;Ride ’em, Chris.’

Glenvall Estes is a longtime columnist for The Natchez Democrat.