BATON ROUGE- LSU looks to make history on Saturday as the top-ranked Tigers travel to Oxford, Miss., to face Ole Miss with a chance at becoming the first team in school history to go 11-0 during the regular season.
LSU has never gone 11-0 during the regular season, however, the Tigers did post an 11-0 mark, which included a win over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, in their national championship season in 1958. Only one other time in school history hasLSUwon 11 games during the regular season, that coming in 2003 when the Tigers went 13-1 during the national championship campaign.
Kickoff between the Tigers and the Rebels is set for 6 p.m. on ESPN with Bob Wischusen, Rod Gilmore and Jeanine Edwards on the call.
The game will also be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network withJim Hawthorne, who will be calling his 349th LSU football game, describing the action. Hawthorne will be joined in the booth by former Tiger great Doug Moreau with former LSU special teams demon Gordy Rush on the sidelines.
LSU, winners of 11 straight dating back to last year, ran its record to 10-0 after a 42-9 non-conference win over Western Kentucky last week. The Tigers, who are 6-0 in league play, will also look to go 7-0 in conference action for the first time in school history.
Ole Miss will be playing its final home game of the year as the contest will serve as Senior Day for the Rebels. It will also be the final home game for Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, who will resign following next week’s game against Mississippi State. Ole Miss is 2-8 overall and 0-6 in conference play. The Rebels are coming off a 27-7 loss to Louisiana Tech last week.
Saturday’s game will be the 100th meeting between the teams with LSU holding a 56-39-4 advantage in the series that dates back to 1894. The last two games between the teams have been decided by a total of nine points. Last year, LSU won a shootout in Tiger Stadium, 43-36. Ole Miss won the last meeting between the teams in Oxford, 25-23.
“Ole Miss is a team that is very dangerous,” LSU coachLes Milessaid. “This is a great rivalry that dates back many years and I’m sure that we will see Ole Miss’ best effort. The key for us is that we have to play well in all three phases of the game in order to have success. Ole Miss is a quality team and it seems like every time we face them, it’s a hard fought game, no matter the record or the circumstances surrounding the teams.
“I have great respect for Houston Nutt and what he’s accomplished as a head coach. I know that he will have his team ready to play.”
Against Ole Miss, the Tigers will look to continue utilize a two-quarterback system withJarrett LeeandJordan Jeffersonboth expected to see action. Lee started the first nine games for the Tigers before giving way to Jefferson last week. The duo has combined to throw for 1,647 yards, 17 touchdowns and only three interceptions.
“We need for both Jordan and Jarrett to play and for them to play well,” Miles said. “Both players have contributed greatly to get us to this point and we need for both of them to play well down the stretch.”
As a unit, the Tiger offense is averaging 36.5 points and 369 total yards (195.1 rushing, 173.9 passing). LSU will face an Ole Miss defense that is allowing 30.2 points and 425.7 total yards (215.8 rushing, 209.9 passing) a contest.
A trio of sophomores led the Tigers in rushing withSpencer Warepacing the group with 580 yards and six touchdowns.Michael Fordhas 575 yards and six scores to his credit, whileAlfred Bluehas accounted for 371 yards and six touchdowns. The group is on pace to become the first trio of running backs at LSU to each account for 500 yards in a season since 1997 when Kevin Faulk, Rondell Mealey and Cecil Collins did it.
When the Tigers go to the air, juniorRueben Randlehas been LSU’s top receiver with 38 catches for 733 yards and eight scores. FreshmanOdell Beckham Jr.has 31 receptions for 392 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Defensively, the Tigers bring a unit into the game that ranks No. 2 in the nation in scoring (10.7), total defense (253.2) and pass efficiency defense, and No. 3 in rushing defense (83.8). The Tigers have allowed just one first quarter touchdown and only four first half TDs all season.
SafetiesEric ReidandBrandon Taylorled the Tigers in tackles with 57 each, while defensive endSam Montgomeryleads LSU and ranks among the leaders in the SEC in both sacks (7.0) and tackles for loss (10.0).
The Tigers will face and Ole Miss offense that will be without its starting quarterback in Randall Mackey and top rusher in Jeff Scott as they have been suspended for the game. LSU will have to contend with running back Brandon Bolden (399 yards, 4 TDs) and quarterback Zack Stoudt (542 yards, 2 TDs).
As an offense, Ole Miss goes into the game averaging 18.7 points and 297.8 total yards (131.5 rushing, 166.3 passing) per game.
One other factor in the game could be that of special teams as the Tigers have one of the best punters in the country in freshmanBrad Wingalong with placekickerDrew Alleman, who has made 13-of-15 field goals this year.
The Tigers close out the regular season next Friday when they host sixth-ranked Arkansas in Tiger Stadium.