lsuolemissfootball.093018_HS_2431

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) carries up the middle between Ole Miss defensive tackle Benito Jones (95) and Ole Miss defensive back C.J. Miller (8) in the second half of LSU's 45-16 win over Ole Miss, Saturday, September 29, 2018, at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

Coming off its biggest win of the season, No. 1 LSU will play Ole Miss on Saturday night inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. These are staff writer Wilson Alexander's keys to the game for LSU.

1. Pass heavy

Ole Miss’ pass defense ranks 117th in the country, making it the worst in the Southeastern Conference. That bodes well for LSU. The Tigers have one of the most prolific passing attacks in college football, and they can lean on that aspect of the offense against a defense that has allowed 274.2 passing yards per game. Quarterback Joe Burrow needs 150 yards to set the LSU single-season record. He should reach it this weekend.

2. Stack the box

Led by dual-threat freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, Ole Miss has averaged 247.40 rushing yards per game, which ranks 13th in the nation. It has four players with more than 400 rushing yards. But the Rebels’ offense is one-dimensional. Ole Miss has struggled to throw the football, averaging 187 passing yards per game. LSU can play man coverage in the secondary, stack the box and focus on stopping the run.

3. Force third down

Ole Miss’ offense relies on explosive plays on early downs. It struggles when it falls behind the sticks because of its ineffective passing offense. The Rebels have converted 38.22% of their third down attempts, ranking 83rd in the country in that statistic. (LSU has converted 50.88% of its attempts, by comparison.) If LSU can keep Ole Miss in third-and-long situations throughout the game, it can contain the Rebels’ explosiveness.

4. Maintain focus

LSU has said the Alabama game was just another win, but the postgame celebration showed how much the Tigers valued that victory. They poured water on coach Ed Orgeron. They celebrated at midfield. They lifted Burrow. It will feel cold on Saturday night in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, and LSU can’t afford to freeze. Its goals are within sight. It needs to forget its latest win and focus on Ole Miss. One game at a time.

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Email Wilson Alexander at walexander@theadvocate.com