2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 12 - LSU at Ole Miss
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Nov. 19 LSU 52 … at Ole Miss 3
CFN Analysis: The Tigers just toyed with Ole Miss. This was a team that played like it knows it belongs in the national title hunt, and there wasn’t any problem with a lack of focus going into the showdown against Arkansas. After struggling to get going against WKU, the Tigers roared early and put it away. … Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee combined to go 8-for-8 for 105 yards and a score. While that’s not going to throw a scare against anyone, when the ground game was rumbling for 353 yards and four scores, the quarterbacks showed they could produce. … Ole Miss didn’t have all its stars, and the LSU defense played like it. The defensive front destroyed the Rebel offensive line with three sacks and eight tackles for loss.
There’s no need to read anything into a blowout loss to the best team in America, but Ole Miss didn’t come up with anything to create any sort of a scare. Without Randall Mackey and Jeff Scott, there wasn’t any pop. … The Rebel quarterbacks – Zach Stoudt and Barry Brunetti – combined to complete 8-of-18 passes for 47 yards and a pick. The passing game didn’t stand a chance. … The defensive front that’s supposed to be full of pass rushers didn’t get to the LSU quarterbacks at all, and it showed. If LSU had gone full throttle, it could’ve hung 70 on the board. … The season might have been a disaster, and the team might be on a six game losing streak and might be 0-7 in SEC play, but with a win over Mississippi State to keep the rival from going bowling, there would be something to remember from the end of the Houston Nutt era.
(AP) OXFORD, Miss. -- LSU's domination of Mississippi was so complete that with more than five minutes remaining in the game, the Tigers lined up in a victory formation, content to kneel four straight times rather than try for another touchdown.
It was the only mercy No. 1 LSU would show during the 52-3 rout Saturday night.
"Victory was assured," LSU coach Les Miles said. "There was no reason to take snaps at that point."
Actually, the Tigers had the win in hand much sooner.
Ron Brooks returned an interception for a touchdown 28 seconds into the game, LSU built a 35-3 lead by halftime and kept pounding away at the Ole Miss defense all night, rushing for 353 yards.
LSU running back Michael Ford said Brooks' big play was all the Tigers needed.
"It definitely took their breath away because it took our breath away, too," Ford said.
The Tigers (11-0, 7-0 Southeastern Conference) matched their best start since 1958. It was the worst margin of defeat for Ole Miss since a 49-0 loss to Georgia in 1974.
Quarterback Jordan Jefferson started his second consecutive game, completing 7 of 7 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. Alfred Blue led the Tigers with 74 rushing yards while Spencer Ware added 70 yards and a touchdown.
Ole Miss (2-9, 0-7) has lost six straight games and a school-record 13 straight conference games. Barry Brunetti rushed for a team-high 74 yards as the Rebels managed just 195 total yards.
LSU completed all eight of its pass attempts -- seven by Jefferson and one by Jarrett Lee -- but was content to run the ball for most of the game after building a 21-0 lead with 5:11 remaining in the first quarter.
Kenny Hilliard rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown and Terrence Magee added 55 yards as LSU emptied its bench early and recovered from a lackluster effort in last week's 42-9 win against Western Kentucky. Seven different players rushed for at least 25 yards and the Tigers averaged nearly eight yards per play.
Miles was almost apologetic postgame.
"It's unfortunate to have a coach (Houston Nutt) end a home stand in a fashion like today," Miles said. "That being said, we look forward to our future. It's something that we're really pointed to. It's a short week, but we're looking forward to taking on a very talented Arkansas team (next weekend)."
LSU hosts No. 6 Arkansas on Friday in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Ole Miss continued a miserable season that seems to find a new low each week.
The already outmanned Rebels were further crippled when Nutt suspended starting quarterback Randall Mackey and leading rusher Jeff Scott for violating team rules. Without them, the game turned ugly in a hurry.
Ole Miss started with the ball, and its first three plays were a disaster. Starting quarterback Zack Stoudt bounced an incompletion on the first play, Brandon Bolden dropped the next pass and then Stoudt threw a wild lob on a screen pass that was picked off by Brooks and returned 46 yards for a touchdown.
"You can't start the game the way we started, especially with a team like that," Nutt said. "The No. 1 team in the nation, you can't give them gifts. One thing we didn't want to do was turnovers, especially when they get seven points off the bat. That was the worst thing that could happen. They're a really good football team. They're a good football team, but we helped them."
It never improved for the Rebels, who are 0-2 since it was announced on Nov. 7 that Nutt would not return for a fifth season. Nutt agreed to stay for the remainder of the season, and now Ole Miss must win next week's game against Mississippi State to avoid its first 10-loss season in program history.
The Rebels' lone score came on a 39-yard field goal by Bryson Rose, which was set up by Brunetti's 47-yard run.
LSU (10-0) at Ole Miss (2-8) Nov. 19, 7:00, ESPN/ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … It’s the SEC’s best team vs. the worst. It’s the best BCS-league team in college football against one of the worst BCS teams. It’s a program about to undergo an overhaul with the search for a new coaching staff about to start vs. a program on the verge of its third national title in the last eight years.
And it’s a dangerous trap game for LSU.
Ole Miss has absolutely nothing to lose. The season is in the tank and it’s playing out the string, but this and next week’s rivalry date with Mississippi State will be its bowl games and head coach Houston Nutt will be looking for one last big moment before fading off into the world of retreads. There’s talent here and there’s athleticism, but it hasn’t come together for an offense that can’t put points on the board and a defense that can’t pick up the slack. However, for all the problems and all the issues this year, the Rebels have won two of the last three games in the series. Nutt is no stranger to coming up with big wins, with Arkansas team almost screwing things up for LSU with an overtime win in 2007, and his Ole Miss team beating Florida in 2009 leading to the Tebow Promise speech.
But LSU doesn’t flinch and it’s handled every big moment without a problem. It took a while to wake up against Western Kentucky in a misleading 42-9 win and the team appears to be on cruise control after winning the national title, uh, taking the lead in the West against Alabama two weeks ago, but it still has work to do. The Tigers will have to deal with Ole Miss’ best shot and then get the showdown with Arkansas on Friday. Considering the way this team prepares and the way it rises to the big occasion, this might turn out to be the tougher of the two matchups.
Why LSU Might Win: The Ole Miss offense is a mess. Bad before, now it’ll be without starting quarterback Randall Mackey and running back Jeff Scott after being suspended for a violation of team rules. Even with everyone in place, the Rebels weren’t generating much production failing to score more than 24 points in any SEC game and with the two games over the mark coming in wins over Southern Illinois and Fresno State. The passing game isn’t efficient, the running game is pedestrian, and the offensive line hasn’t done much of anything even against the most average of defensive lines. LSU had a rough game against Western Kentucky and still gave up only nine points; the D hasn’t allowed more than 11 points since the West Virginia game, and he’s allowed more than two touchdowns in just two games.
The Ole Miss offense is bad, but the defense is worse, getting beaten up and flattened by everyone who can run a bit. Last in the SEC in total defense, scoring defense, sacks, and rushing defense, it all starts with a line that’s been among the season’s biggest disappointments. LSU’s offensive line, if focused, should destroy the Ole Miss defensive front for a full four quarters and should pound away at will with the running game. The Tigers should be able to rotate backs, and Jordan Jefferson, and crank out 300 yards on the ground while controlling the game throughout.
Why Ole Miss Might Win: Could Arkansas already be in LSU’s head? The Tigers didn’t show up against WKU for a half, and it’s playing just cocky enough to know that it can turn it on at any time and produce. But could the team be playing with fire a bit? At some point, maybe the Tigers don’t get the key turnover and maybe the running game isn’t dominant? It’ll take a mental meltdown to blow this game, but again, this is Mississippi’s bowl moment.
One of the key elements to LSU’s success has been punter Brad Wing, who’s averaging 43 yards per kick and is helping the Tigers rank seventh in the nation and first in the SEC in punting. Ole Miss should be able to negate the advantage with the nation’s top-ranked punt return game. Alright, so it’s a mirage. Ole Miss has only returned ten punts on the year, and the suspended Scott was the main man early on, but at the very least, the special teams are just good enough to not get beaten in one phase. Punter Tyler Campbell is better than Wing and is in the mix for the Ray Guy Award and he could keep the LSU offense pinned deep. This isn’t a Tiger attack that can wing it around.
What To Watch Out For: Ole Miss junior QB Zack Stoudt came in from Iowa Western CC with 6-4, 222-pound size and a live arm, and now he’ll get a shot to show what he can do now that Mackey is out. The son of former Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback, Cliff, has the tools and he has the touch to be a passer to give a shot to run the attack next year, but he has to quickly show he’s far better than he showed after starting the first few games, throwing five picks against Vanderbilt and last week completing just 8-of-19 passes for 73 yards and a pick. He can push the ball down the field, but he has to connect.
The LSU offense has to keep using Rueben Randle. A bit of a forgotten man at times when Jordan Jefferson is in, he’s not going to put up big numbers and he’s not going to crank out ten catches, but he’s effective in single coverage after the Tiger offense lulls defenses to sleep with its grinding ground attack. Randle has showed off NFL skills to get open deep, and he’s making the most of his chances averaging 19.3 yards per catch with 733 yards and eight scores on just 38 grabs. Last year against Ole Miss he caught two passes for 51 yards in the win.
What Will Happen: LSU won’t come out lazy for this one. Unlike the WKU game, the Tigers will score over and over again in the first quarter to put it away right away. The last thing they want to do is give Ole Miss any sort of early confidence, and that’s going to happen right away with three grinding drives. The Rebel offense won’t go anywhere.
CFN Prediction: LSU 41 … Ole Miss 7
Click For Latest Line From ATS: LSU -29 O/U: 46
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