The good news for LSU is that its five-game streak of playing ranked opponents is over.
The bad news for the Tigers is it may be too late to capture the SEC title for the second year in a row.
After losses to Florida and Alabama this season, a lot has to go right for LSU (8-2, 4-2 SEC) to end in a tie for the SEC West. On the other hand, LSU's next two games against Ole Miss and Arkansas shouldn't be as challenging as the recent stretch.
Ole Miss has lost its last two games against Georgia and Vanderbilt after back-to-back wins over Auburn and Arkansas. Hugh Freeze's Rebels are hoping to shock the world on Saturday in Baton Rouge.
Where: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.
When: Saturday, Nov. 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: SEC Live
Betting Line: LSU -18.5 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
What's At Stake?
LSU still has a shot of ending in a three-way tie with Alabama and Texas A&M in the SEC West and potentially winning the conference title, but that's a long shot.
Right now, LSU has a better shot of making it into the Fiesta Bowl as an at-large selection.
Ole Miss, sporting a 5-5 record (2-4 SEC), is out of the SEC race, but is hoping to make it to a bowl game. Beating LSU would do wonders.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
DE Carlos Thompson - Shoulder - Day-to-Day
RB Charlie Scott - Undisclosed - Day-to-Day
DB Wesley Pendleton - Ankle - Day-to-Day
LB Aaron Garbutt - Illness - Day-to-Day
LB Luke Muncie - Illness - Questionable
G Josh Williford - Concussion - OUT indefinitely
OT Alex Hurst - Personal - OUT indefinitely
What They're Saying
LSU's offense has mainly done damage with its running game (ranked 37th in the nation in rushing yards per game), but junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger has played really well the past two games.
Mettenberger went 19-of-30 for 273 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Mississippi State last week. That was after going 24-of-35 for 298 yards and a touchdown against Alabama two weeks ago.
Coach Les Miles said after last week's victory, via ESPN:
Our passing game obviously is coming. Zach is playing extremely well. He's got a nice touch on the ball. I think he knows where he needs to go. He's making quality decisions.
While there hasn't been a lot of positive news on the field for Ole Miss this season, the Rebels are making all kinds of headlines off the field...in the form of the top recruit in the nation, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche.
After Nkemdiche de-committed from Clemson, David Johnson of Rebels247 thinks it's only a matter of time before the prized recruit commits to Ole Miss.
Ole Miss Player to Watch: Bo Wallace, QB
The Ole Miss offense runs through sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace.
Wallace has not only passed for more than 2,200 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, he's also rushed for 269 yards and six touchdowns in Hugh Freeze's uptempo offense.
On the other hand, the sophomore has also tossed 10 interceptions.
LSU Player to Watch: Zach Mettenberger, QB
Heading into the postseason, the improvement of Zach Mettenberger could go a long way.
LSU was already a strong team when it relied simply on its running game and its defense; if Mettenberger can continue his roll, it should pay major dividends for LSU, this season and beyond.
This is another opportunity for Mettenberger to put up nice numbers. Ole Miss has allowed 7.6 yards per pass attempt (tied for 83rd in the country) and 18 passing touchdowns (tied for 74th) this season.
Key Matchup: Bo Wallace vs. LSU Defense
Ole Miss is allowing 27.7 points per game this season (65th in the nation), so LSU is going to score its fair share of points.
If the Rebels have any chance in this one, Bo Wallace is going to have to come to play. That includes taking care of the pigskin against an LSU defense that has notched 14 interceptions this season (tied for 11th).
Let's just say that Wallace picked a good time of the season to pass for a career-high 403 yards (against Vanderbilt).
Prediction: LSU 33, Ole Miss 14
While this is an SEC clash, I just don't think Ole Miss ultimately has the defense (or the offense) to topple the No. 7 Tigers, especially in Baton Rouge.
Scoring 14 points may actually be a success for the Rebels against this LSU defense.
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