The Ole Miss Rebels travel to Death Valley to take on the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge this weekend.
“This is a huge game for us,” interim coach Ed Orgeron said at the LSU press conference Tuesday. “This is the team you mark on the calendar. This is the team you want to beat.” Orgeron also followed up Wednesday with a status update on Leonard Fournette saying he is “full speed” but he would be rotated frequently.
Fournette has been sidelined with an ankle injury since playing against Auburn in late September. However, the Tigers haven’t missed a beat, averaging 228 yards per game since.
An LSU win would make it three in a row for the Bayou Bengals before finishing the season with a brutal stretch of conference games, where the remaining opponents are a combined 23-3 this season. The Tigers’ defense has only allowed an FBS-low six touchdowns this season and is top-10 in total defense, allowing only 312 yards per game.
Ole Miss is fresh off a 34-30 loss to Arkansas in the final minutes. Quarterback Chad Kelly—who accounted for 85 percent of the Rebels’ offense against the Razorbacks—leads an Ole Miss offense that is averaging 40 points per game against an LSU defense surrendering only 14 points per game.
While the Rebel offense is sound enough to win games for Hugh Freeze, the defense hasn’t complemented them much all season, conceding a conference-worst 446 yards per game.
Ole Miss’ offense will have a tough time Saturday night against an amped Baton Rouge crowd and vicious Tiger defense. Fournette will be limited in his return to the gridiron, but given that the LSU rushing attack has been so effective lately, he’ll make the most of his opportunities. Given that Kelly is the conference’s best quarterback and can heat up at any moment, the game will be close, but the Rebels will eventually run out of energy in the fourth quarter, allowing LSU to pull away.
The Tigers make it three in a row, 28-17.
Edited by David Bradford
Featured image by Daniel Foster