The last time the LSU Tigers hosted a top-10 team in Death Valley, they were boat-raced right off the field.
Two weeks later, the Tigers will have another opportunity to defeat a highly-ranked opponent in the latest edition of the Magnolia Bowl.
LSU (5-2, 3-1 SEC) will host No. 7 Ole Miss (7-0, 3-0) in a national television showdown in Baton Rouge. Last week, the Tigers recovered from a blowout loss to Tennessee as they won on the road 45-35 against Florida. Ole Miss also won last week, as its ground game was the difference in a 48-34 victory against Auburn.
LSU has a 64-41-4 advantage in the series and has won six straight over Ole Miss in Tiger Stadium, which includes a 10-7 victory over the then-No. 3 ranked and 7-0 Rebels in 2014. However, the Rebels won last year's meeting 31-17 in Oxford.
No. 7 Ole Miss at LSU
When Ole Miss Has the Ball
Ole Miss has one of the better offenses in college football once again. However, unlike in past seasons, the Rebels do a lot of their damage on the ground.
In the victory against Auburn, Ole Miss had 448 rushing yards that resulted in three touchdowns. The Rebels lead the SEC on rushing offense (271.4 yards per game) and are fourth in total offense (502.9). True freshman Quinshon Judkins (121 att., 720 yds., 10 TDs) and TCU transfer Zach Evans (100, 605, 7) form a dynamic 1-2 punch, while USC transfer Jaxson Dart (53, 371) can also do damage on the ground.
Despite the win against Florida last week, LSU had trouble bringing down the ball carriers and eliminating explosive plays. The Tigers allowed a 51-yard touchdown minutes into the game, while the Gators also scored a 39-yard touchdown later in the game. The Tigers are tied for 104th in the nation with 11 runs of 20-plus yards given up, although they do rank a respectable 69th with 145.6 rushing yards allowed to
When LSU Has the Ball
The Rebels aren't the only team coming into this game with an offense that can score points quickly. The Tigers indeed demonstrated that in the win against Florida last weekend.
LSU outgained Florida 528-395 as quarterback Jayden Daniels threw for three touchdowns. He also rushed for three touchdowns, finishing with 383 total yards, six touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
In the last three out of four games, the Tigers and Daniels have thrown for at least 300 yards, a mark Daniels previously hadn't surpassed since November 2019 with Arizona State.
LSU might return running back Armoni Goodwin after he missed the last three games due to a hamstring injury. Despite the time missed, he is still second on the team with five rushing touchdowns and is averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
Ole Miss also had a problem with tackling against Auburn, which led to the team scoring 34 points. The Rebels are essentially equal to LSU in run defense, allowing 144.0 yards per game on the ground.
Kiffin and Ole Miss have avoided the upset bug so far this season. But playing in Death Valley in a rivalry game is never easy. Especially against an improving LSU team with Daniels at quarterback.
The game is going to come down to if the Tigers can generate a pass rush against Dart and the Rebels' offense. Ole Miss has been the nation's third-best team on third down this season,
If LSU can keep into third and long situations, that will likely eliminate its chances of running to move the chains. Expect a thriller in Baton Rouge and arguably the day's best game.
Prediction: Ole Miss 37, LSU 34
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— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders, and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.
*Price as of publication.