OXFORD, Miss. – LSU made itself a national championship frontrunner by knocking off Alabama last week and needs to avoid a letdown on the road to the SEC championship game and the College Football Playoff. Joe Burrow and company will try to keep the team in high gear when the top-ranked Tigers visit Ole Miss on Saturday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: LSU -21
LSU earned its fifth win over a top-10 opponent this season with a 46-41 victory at the Crimson Tide last week and has three games remaining in the regular season - at Ole Miss and home against Arkansas and Texas A&M before a likely date with another top-10 foe, Georgia, in the SEC championship game. "We're going to continue to rise," Tigers coach Ed Orgeron told reporters after beating Alabama. "We're going to continue to make progress in this program to bring a championship back to Louisiana." The Rebels took a break from the grind of SEC play and snapped a three-game slide with a 41-3 win over New Mexico State last Saturday but know a bigger test exists this weekend. "LSU is a great team and you have to do the small things right," Ole Miss defensive lineman Benito Jones told reporters. "Just have to go out and play hard as we can."
ABOUT LSU (9-0, 5-0 SEC)
Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow cemented his status as the Heisman Trophy frontrunner by going 31-of-39 for 393 yards and three touchdowns against Alabama, but the standout was running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The junior ran for 103 yards and three TDs and added nine receptions for 77 yards and a score last week and is up to 988 combined yards on the season. “Unbelievable. I don’t know if I have seen a performance like that as football player in a big game like that,” Orgeron told reporters of Edwards-Helaire. “I really don’t. I don’t know, I can’t recall, I can recall Reggie Bush doing things like that, I can recall Warren Sapp dominating some games, but that’s right up there with it, man, that was as far as a dominant game. And he said something like, ‘throw your heart on the line and your body will follow.’ Phenomenal saying.”
ABOUT OLE MISS (4-6, 2-4)
Freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee leads the Rebels in rushing and needed only 12 carries to rack up 177 yards and two scores on the ground against New Mexico State. “I have been blessed with speed and pretty good vision as well,” Plumlee told reporters. “So, when you break that initial line you only got two or three guys to make miss. So, if you can make them miss with an angle, it’s much easier than trying to bob and weave through everyone.” Plumlee, who broke the rushing record for yards by a freshman at Ole Miss is up to 777 on the season to go with 666 yards and four TDs through the air.
1. Ole Miss leads the SEC in rushing at an average of 247.4 yards and ran for 447 yards last week - the school's highest total since 1962.
2. Burrow and Edwards-Helaire were named co-SEC Offensive Players of the Week after their performances against Alabama.
3. The Tigers have taken each of the last three meetings and seven of the last nine, including a 45-16 triumph last season.
PREDICTION: LSU 38, Ole Miss 17