The Ole Miss Rebels face the No. 1 team in the country on Saturday as they host an LSU team that took down Alabama in a shootout last Saturday.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys:
Find a way to stop the pass
The Rebels have the worst pass defense in the league. This is a problem when Joe Burrow is the next QB on the docket for the Rebels to face. Burrow has thrown for at least 275 yards in every game and 230 yards plus in seven of them. He completes almost 80% of his passes and he is getting better as the season goes along. This is a defense that was torched for 340 through the air by Bo Nix.
If the Rebels can’t find a pass rush then this one is already over.
Control the tempo
The best way to stop Burrow is to keep him off of the field. The Rebels might be the best placed team to do that in the entire SEC given that their offense is based around running the ball. The addition of John Rhys Plumlee at QB might have hurt the passing game, but the Rebels have rushed for over 200 yards in five of their last six games. That ability to churn out yards on the ground – as long as they are converting on third down – means that the Rebels should (theoretically) be able to possess the ball for more than half of the game.
The LSU defense hasn’t faced many run threats this season. So maybe there is a chance here.
LSU is coming off of the mother of all emotional wins over ‘Bama. We have seen this story many, many times before. It is hard to get a team ready to go again over a school that they should beat after an emotional high like that. LSU will play their way into the game – the team is too good not to – but they will start slowly. That is why the Rebels have to start the game fast and try to get out to an early lead that they can hang on to down the stretch.