There’s a lot of history to the Ole Miss-LSU series, some games between the two back in the 50s and 60s that I think would have been pretty neat to see.
That was well before my time, though.
The 1972 clock game, a 17-16 last-play win by the Tigers in which Ole Miss players, coaches and fans contend the clock’s start was delayed on the next-to-last play, the one the Rebels successfully defended, was not before my time. I was only six, however, and wasn’t very “football aware,” even though that game was played just minutes from my Denham Springs home at Tiger Stadium.
One thing the history in this series tells us is that an unranked team can compete and have a chance to win against the highly ranked team. The 1997, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008 games are proof.
Emotion can carry a team sometimes. I believe that. I don’t think it’s going to happen here, however.
When it comes to picking games I tend to go more with matchups than emotions. That’s not always the right approach, but it’s me.
What I see here is an Ole Miss team struggling to run the football, which makes the Rebels one-dimensional. That’s going to make it tough to win.
The Rebels were one-dimensional against Vanderbilt last week and should have won the game, but LSU will be more athletic in the secondary.
If Hugh Freeze can find a way to spark the running game, I believe the passing game will be there. It will be there anyway, but not enough to sustain drives and score enough points if the Rebels can’t mix it up.
I think Bo Wallace continues to improve, and his receivers are starting to blossom as a group. Early on it was all about Donte Moncrief. Then Vince Sanders began to come on, and if last week was an indication, Ja-Mes Logan can give the Rebels a solid third receiver.
Perhaps, that will be the case, and Freeze can really get more out of Randall Mackey in the run game this week. If Freeze is going to go with the same personnel he’s used most of the season, Mackey can be a more physical between-the-tackles back than Jeff Scott. There’s a trust factor with Mackey and holding on to the football, but Freeze is going to have to trust someone other than Jeff Scott, it appears, if the Rebels are going to run between the tackles.
Maybe there’s a resurgence of the run game against Mississippi State in a home finale. I just don’t see it against the LSU defense, which is ranked in the top 10 in every major defensive category including No. 7 against the run.
This will be the Rebels’ third time to face a top-ten ranked SEC opponent on the road. They were competitive for stretches of time and both Alabama and Georgia, but both games were decisive losses by the time they ended.
MSU had success throwing on LSU last week. I think the Rebels will too. I just don’t think it will be enough sustained success to pull off one of those magical wins in the series.
Prediction: LSU 36, Ole Miss 15