LSU Tigers vs. Ole Miss Rebels Complete Game Preview
LSU fans want Ole Miss to go to hell. But the Rebels have already been to hell and back in their last three SEC games.
An undefeated Ole Miss went into Tuscaloosa just to get shutout by Alabama in mid-September. The Rebels lost by eight to Auburn the following week. This past Saturday, The Grove went silent as Texas A&M won on a time-expiring field goal.
Ole Miss has no shortage of talent. Oxford can get adventurous for LSU. The game should have no shortage of drama.
Here is everything you need to know:
Date: Saturday, Oct. 19
Time: 6 p.m. CST
Place: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, Miss.
Spread: LSU by 8, via Scores and Odds
LSU Keys to Victory
Prevent the Big Play
The LSU defense played its best game of the season against Florida. But can it keep it going?
The Tigers were at home against an inexperienced quarterback last week. Now they face Bo Wallace, who threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns against the Tigers last year.
Overall, the Tigers defended Wallace fine. He threw three interceptions and only completed 42 percent of his passes. But they allowed the Rebels explosive plays downfield.
Donte Moncrief returns at receiver, who caught six passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns. LSU must not allow Moncrief and talented freshman Laquon Treadwell to make game-changing plays.
The LSU offense produced 41 points against Ole Miss last season, but do not let the scoreline deceive.
Ole Miss gave LSU headaches. The Tigers averaged less than four yards per carry, and Zach Mettenberger threw two interceptions.
The Rebels defense has had a fair share of success against pocket quarterbacks. But if the LSU offensive line gives Mettenberger time, he should have no problem moving the football.
Ole Miss Keys to Victory
Take Care of the Football
Ole Miss forced three turnovers last season against the Tigers but still lost the turnover battle with four of their own.
Quarterback Bo Wallace's three interceptions were costly but not entirely his fault. The Rebels cannot give LSU any extra help on Saturday.
Play Sound on Special Teams
Ole Miss outplayed LSU in Tiger Stadium last season, but the Tigers won the the battle on special teams.
Odell Beckham Jr.'s 89-yard punt return won the game for the Tigers. Ole Miss also failed to give itself good field position on returns thanks to sloppy blocking and poor decision making.
The Rebels need to be cleaner in the third phase of the game to beat the Tigers.
Players to Watch for LSU
Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry
Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry were finally slowed down by an opponent. The best receiving duo in college football had their quietest day of the 2013 season against Florida.
Last season, Beckham and Landry combined for 73 yards receiving against the Rebels. With the way the Ole Miss secondary has been playing, both will have solid games.
LSU Defensive Ends
Ole Miss' bread-and-butter play is the zone-read with Bo Wallace or Barry Brunetti at quarterback. The run is designed for the opposing defensive line to be on its heels.
The LSU defensive ends will be left unblocked. Wallace will determine what to do with the ball based off their movement. If the Tigers stay disciplined and win the battle up-front, Ole Miss loses a critical dimension of its offense.
LSU also posted a season-high four sacks against Florida. Kendell Beckwith and Danielle Hunter were the most disruptive, so look for their snap totals to rise.
Players to Watch for Ole Miss
LSU's linebackers played their best game of the season against Florida. They were disruptive against the run but also surprisingly effective defending the pass.
The Tigers held Florida tight end Trey Burton to three catches for 28 yards. Now LSU will face talented Rebels freshman Evan Engram, who ranks third in receptions and yards for the Rebels.
LSU's porous secondary will put an extra emphasis on stopping Donte Moncrief and Laquon Treadwell. So Engram will get some passes thrown his way.
The Rebels love to put Engram in the slot, so expect Kwon Alexander and a variety of LSU defenders to play him in man coverage.
Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt has great hands and is an amazing hitter. Prewitt has a tough task ahead in keeping the Rebels secondary in line against a lethal LSU passing attack.
Prewitt will need to be a sure tackler against Tigers running back Jeremy Hill, who is superb at making defenders miss to break long runs.
If Prewitt has an off-day, the Rebels will have little chance in stopping the LSU offense.
What They Are Saying
Well, I think with age he's developing very well. He's always had kind of a really live arm, and he makes ‑‑ I think he always makes really good decisions. Just with a little bit more age you make those decisions more comfortably, and it comes out of your hand in a right fashion. I think you're seeing that with Bo Wallace.
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze announced earlier this week the Rebels will be without star freshman defensive end Robert Nkemdiche due to a hamstring injury. Freeze says his team must move on, via Mark Heim of AL.com:
You hate it for the kids. You fear that because of our depth issues we won't be able to adequately represent the progress we're making against these top teams. But that's part of the game. We won't blink. We'll get the ones we have ready.
The most exciting aspect of LSU against Ole Miss is not even the game itself, but what could possibly happen soon after the game is over.
On the field, Ole Miss does present LSU with some issues. The Rebels can move the football effectively with a wide range of weapons. But the dangerous Jeff Scott is still recovering from an injury at running back. The offensive line will be facing a rejuvenated LSU defensive front as well.
Ole Miss does not have the defensive backs to slow down Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Expect Mettenberger to throw for over 250 yards and two touchdowns in LSU's final SEC test before Alabama.
Prediction: LSU 38, Ole Miss 28