Breaking down LSU-Ole Miss

The LSU Tigers meet the Ole Miss Rebels Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Oxford, Miss. in a game which will determine the outcome of the SEC Western Division. <br><br> The Rebels (8-2, 6-0 SEC) are the frontrunners in the west, however the Tigers come into the game ranked No. 3 in the nation with a 9-1 overall record.

LSU rushing offense vs. Ole Miss rushing defense

Ole Miss' ground game used to be known for two things, they can't run the ball or stop others from doing it. The Rebs are doing an above average job this season. Ole Miss allows only 96 yards per game this year, but LSU has been able to run the ball at will against just about everyone, including Auburn's vaunted front seven. Ole Miss ain't Auburn, the Tigers will be running.

Advantage: LSU


LSU passing offense vs. Ole Miss passing defense

Just for the record, Ole Miss doesn't have the worst pass defense in Division I-A, the Rebels' secondary is rated No. 116 out of 117 – Stanford's is the worst, but only by 69 one-hundredths of a point. Matt Mauck is among the best in the nation in terms of pass efficiency. Look for big play and long gainers by the Tigers passing attack

Advantage: LSU


Ole Miss rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense

Like we said earlier, Ole Miss has been running the ball better than they have since the days of Deuce McAlister. The Rebels are totaling 159 yards per game on the ground, which serves as a perfect compliment to the arm of Eli Manning. However, Ole Miss will be facing the premiere rushing defense in the SEC and the second-best in the nation on Saturday.

Advantage: LSU


Ole Miss passing offense vs. LSU passing defense:

All right Ole Miss fans, here you go. Although LSU's secondary is a bit susceptible to big plays, the Tigers pass rush is possibly the best in the country. However, the Rebs do possess the best quarterback in the country and that amounts for something. Eli Manning could possibly win the Heisman Trophy is he continues on his current course. Although LSU will hit him early and often, Ole Miss' passing attack gets the edge.

Advantage: Ole Miss


LSU special teams vs. Ole Miss special teams:

Ole Miss place kicker Jonathan Nichols is the top place kicker in the SEC having missed only one field goal from 52 yards. LSU features one of the best punters in the league on Donnie Jones, who did a good job of pinning Alabama inside the 20 last week. Skyler Green is as good as they come on punt returns. Since Nichols is a potential scoring threat from anywhere inside the 50, we'll call it even.

Advantage: Push



Although the pressure is placed solidly upon the shoulders of LSU with SEC and BCS implications on the line, we give the intangibles to the Tigers here. The reason being Ole Miss hasn't been in this situation in what – 40 years? LSU controls its own destiny and has been in a similar situation in 2001 against Auburn. Ole Miss has been playing above their heads for weeks and should be about ready to crash, plus they are coming off an open date.

Advantage: LSU



One Mississippi sports writer summed it up best last week as he sat in LSU's postgame press conference at Bryant-Denny Stadium – "no way does Ole Miss beat that team next week." And that was after LSU played a subpar offensive game. This game is getting a lot of hype because of a lanky kid named Manning and the linen table cloths and silver candlesticks of Oxford and the national media's love affair with all of it. On the other hand, Ole Miss does have a 6-0 record atop the SEC Western division. However, it is obvious LSU has superior athletes and the better team. The Tigers have not lost to teams in the class of Texas Tech or Memphis and does not need the favor of "butterfinger" Auburn receivers to squeak out wins against teams with a 6-5 record. LSU wins handily in a shootout.

LSU 42, Ole Miss 22


- Matt Deville

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