The Ole Miss Rebels showed life early in the season winning three of their first four games, but a 2-3 run in the past five weeks have pushed the Rebels back into mediocrity. Season-ending contests against LSU and Mississippi State will likely keep them out of the bowl picture.
The Rebels may have a strong showing at home in the Egg Bowl, but they don’t stand a chance against the Tigers from LSU this weekend.
LSU lost to Florida and Alabama, but have since had an offensive resurgence. Mettenberger has led the charge but running back Jeremy Hill has helped the offense churn up yards in the back half of the season.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s showdown in Baton Rouge, here are the five reasons the Tigers will maul the Rebels.
Ole Miss has implemented the hurry-up spread offense of Hugh Freeze very well this season, pushing for five wins so far and helping the Rebels become an upset threat in the SEC West.
LSU will match up very well in the secondary against the Ole Miss receivers. The Tigers have the No. 3 pass defense and No. 3 total defense in the country after 10 games. LSU has played Texas A&M, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama this season.
Ole Miss will struggle to find consistency in the passing game against LSU, and their hurry-up sets won’t help the equation. In fact, the quick three-and-outs that are bound to happen may end up hurting the Rebels' chance at playing well enough on defense to win.
One of the benefits that spread teams typically have is an overall speed advantage. While Ole Miss can outrun a number of SEC opponents, LSU is not one of them. The Tigers will match the Rebels step for step on both sides of the ball.
Ole Miss will have trouble utilizing speed sweeps and other gimmick plays against the Tigers. For the Rebels to have success, they have to run straight ahead.
LSU is employing stud middle linebacker Kevin Minter to help shore up the middle, and his efforts will slow down the uphill rushing attack for Ole Miss. Running the ball will be crucial to a Rebels win. Unfortunately, this Tigers defense has all the weapons to stop their best ground efforts.
It was a long time coming for Mettenberger to finally hit his stride, but he has played his best football the last few games. Against Alabama, he tossed a touchdown and threw for 298 yards. Last Saturday against Mississippi State, he threw for 273 yards and tossed two touchdowns.
Every sign is pointing to Mettenberger having another strong game against the Rebels. They are the No. 70 pass defense in the country. The LSU receivers will be more equipped to make plays and will help the Tigers run away with this game.
With the supporting cast that is around Mettenberger, it will be impossible to fail against this porous Rebels defense. Mettenberger should have his first 300 yard game of the year this Saturday.
Jeremy Hill burst onto the scene for LSU in mid-October. He rushed 17 times for 124 yards against South Carolina and has led the Tigers in rushing ever since.
He went on a three-game tear where he rushed for 100-yards in consecutive games. Last week against Mississippi State he rushed for 48 yards—his lowest output since becoming the starter.
Hill has been a big part of the LSU offensive resurgence in the past few weeks, helping them stay in the Top 10. Ole Miss is the No. 42 rush defense in the country and will face its toughest test of the season this Saturday.
It will be a test they will lose.
LSU is the No. 8 team in the country in turnover margin. The Tigers are a stingy defense, snagging 1.2 turnovers a game.
The Rebels are the No. 52 team in the country in turnovers, giving an obvious statistical favor for the Tigers. The Bayou Bengals are very opportunistic, and they will steal away one or two turnovers in this game.
Ole Miss will do all it can to keep the game close, but when LSU’s offense takes a heavy lead early, the Rebels will force plays and hand the ball over to the Tigers.
Expect a big win for LSU in Baton Rouge this weekend, solidifying their placement in the BCS with an at-large bid this January.