LSU’s loss at Ole Miss last year — the Tigers were a 9.5-point favorite — still stings. Players say the locker room after the 27-24 defeat in Oxford was as gloomy as any all season. Many young players didn’t realize the magnitude of a rivalry that includes so many classic affairs. “It was just not a good feeling,” sophomore receiver Travin
Dural said. “Being that I was a freshman, I wasn’t too sure how that worked. Now I understand.” Said coach Les Miles of last year’s loss: “I’m certain our guys recognize that game.”
2. A rarity
The Ole Miss-LSU rivalry is full of close, classic games. It’s a series lauded for its competitive nature and game-winning plays, but here’s what they don’t talk about: These two teams haven’t often met while both were elite squads. They will (kind of) this year. The Tigers and Rebels meet in Baton Rouge for the first time as ranked teams since 1970 and just the second time overall since that year (2003 in Oxford). LSU has won five of the last six games between the squads as ranked teams (’03,
1970,’61, ’59, ’58).
3. Bad Bo
Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace hasn’t been his usual Jekyll and Hyde self this season — at least not in conference play. Wallace hasn’t thrown an interception yet in an SEC game. He’s got the third-best completion percentage of any SEC starting quarterback (65.6) and has the second-most touchdowns (17). But … isn’t it time for Bad Bo? Wallace will face what might be the rowdiest environment of his career in
Tiger Stadium and a secondary that ranks fourth in passing yards allowed.
4. Is the run good enough?
It’s not secret what LSU enjoys doing — running the football. The Tigers attempt 22 passes a game. That’s more than just eight teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision (the FBS has 128 teams). So will the Tigers’ successful running game be enough against the Rebels’ stiff defense (sixth nationally)? Probably not. If LSU is to win this game, it’ll likely need more than just 200-plus rushing yards. Like, a 55-yard touchdown pass to Travin Dural or a 60-yard punt return from Tre White or a pick 6 from Rashard Robinson. Something.