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LSU Better Be Careful Against Ole Miss

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Sensational Ole Miss running back Jeff Scott (8.2 yards per carry) and the Rebels hope to catch the Tigers looking ahead as they prepare to face off in Oxford on Saturday. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images.
Sensational Ole Miss running back Jeff Scott (8.2 yards per carry) and the Rebels hope to catch the Tigers looking ahead as they prepare to face off in Oxford on Saturday. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images.

LSU already has lost a road game this season to a team featuring an explosive offense. If the Tigers aren’t careful Saturday night, they could lose another close contest in Oxford.

As funny as it may sound, Ole Miss poses more of a threat to defeat LSU than Florida did last weekend. The Gators have no playmakers on offense and were playing with their second-string quarterback. Ole Miss has plenty of playmakers at the skill positions and will test a vulnerable LSU secondary.

If you remove their shutout loss to Alabama, Ole Miss is averaging nearly 35 points per game. Their playmakers, such as running back Jeff Scott and receivers Laquon Treadwell and Donte Moncrief, are quick enough to cause problems for LSU’s back seven on defense. Scott is the team’s leading rusher, averaging an incredible 8.2 yards per carry. He’s also dangerous coming out of the backfield on screens and swing passes.

One of the things that makes the Rebels’ offense so difficult to defend is their ability to run so many plays out of the same formation. They can run the ball inside on the zone read, the quarterback can keep it for an outside run, and they also can throw a quick pass to a receiver or look for another receiver deep down the field.

Unfortunately for Ole Miss, one of its top defenders, freshman sensation Robert Nkemdiche, will be out of this game. That’s good news for the LSU offensive line as Nkemdiche was playing well beyond his years. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Tigers try to pound the ball against a thin Rebels defensive line. That would open up the play-action pass that Zach Mettenberger and his two explosive wideouts, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., have exploited all season.

There’s also the outside chance that LSU could be looking ahead to its collision with top-ranked and undefeated Alabama in a few weeks. After the Ole Miss game, LSU essentially has three weeks to prepare for the Crimson Tide. They play Furman next weekend and have a bye week after that. It would be easy for the Tigers, coming off a huge victory at home against Florida, to overlook the Rebels, who’ve lost three in a row.

If LSU is able to control the line of scrimmage, the Rebels could suffer a deflating fourth consecutive loss. A win Saturday night for the Tigers virtually would guarantee a Top-5 showdown with Alabama early in November.