The Ole Miss Rebels can turn a surprise season into a magical one by taking down the No. 7 LSU Tigers to shock the nation and become bowl-eligible in the process.
Not that this will be an easy task. The Tigers are clearly the superior side. However, an upset is not out of the realm of the believable.
If the Rebels are going to pull off this poll-rattling upset, here is what they need to.
Gain Consistent Positive Yards on First Down
The Rebels have a balanced offense, and they are capable of moving the sticks with either the run or the pass game. They need that dual threat to get anything accomplished against this LSU defense.
Ole Miss cannot allow itself to get forced into passing downs. When that happens, the Tigers' talented defensive linemen will be pinning their ears back and coming after quarterback Bo Wallace.
Wallace has been playing excellent football as of late, but he doesn't need linemen in his face all game.
So the Rebels must mix in some efficient passes on first down, and when they do run, they must gain positive yards against a defense that is allowing just 3.0 yards per carry. This will keep the Tigers' defense honest and the Rebels' playbook wide open.
Rattle Zach Mettenberger
Zach Mettenberger has been playing great the last two weeks, during which he's thrown for over 550 yards, completed over 65 percent of his passes and hit for three touchdowns to no interceptions.
And let us not forget that one of those two games was against the mighty defense of Alabama.
Ole Miss cannot let Mettenberger continue his hot hand if it is going to stay competitive in this game. It must knock him around and throw him off his rhythm and it must do so early.
The Rebels do have the talent to get this accomplished. Ole Miss has a strong front seven, and they have 29 sacks on the season (an unofficial college stat, but found on cfbstats.com).
They will need to beef up that number to stay in this game.
Win the Turnover Battle
The great neutralizer is the turnover. This stat is vital in any game, but it is especially important for an underdog going against a great defense.
Ole Miss is bound to have some three-and-outs. This will hurt its time of possession and hand the Tigers good field position. The Rebels cannot compound those problems by turning the ball over.
Wallace has chucked 10 picks on the season, but he has thrown just two in his past four games. He must protect the ball in this game.
On the other side of the ball, the Rebels need all the help they can get. The Rebels can use the above-mentioned pass rush to try and force the Tigers into interceptions. They've pulled in 11 picks so far on the season.
Turnovers will help Ole Miss hang on to momentum and put points on the board.
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