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Keys for Ole Miss to tame the Tigers

Keys for Ole Miss to tame the Tigers

Here are the keys to an Ole Miss victory over LSU tonight at Vaught-Hemingway (6:15 p.m. CT, ESPN), followed by our game prediction:

The crowd

The perfect setting—late fall, 6:15 p.m. kickoff, and arch-rival LSU coming to town. The crowd will be there early and loud to let the Tigers know they are in enemy territory, and with libations flowing all day in The Grove, it should make for a raucous crowd. The students will be there in full force for Saturday night in the SEC!

Managing the intensity

You can bet defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff’s defense will be raring to go tonight; his unit’s confidence is building every week.

Photo credit: Dan Anderson

Tonight, the Landsharks have a challenge in front of them to manage their intensity, as the LSU offense is full of imagery designed to fool the defense.

I have to believe Coach McGriff and his staff have been preaching all week for their players to stay with their keys, play fundamentally sound football, and not let their excitement cause them to make mistakes.

You have to also believe senior defensive end Marquis Haynes, who notched 3 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss last week, along with two forced fumbles, is looking forward to having the opportunity for a final victory over the Tigers.

Buckle down, Fins up, and fly to the ball!

Punting game

We saw the Tigers’ dangerous return game last week when LSU wide receiver D.J. Chark gave LSU a spark with a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown that cut Auburn’s lead to 23-21 early in the fourth quarter.

Ole Miss’ experienced punter Will Gleeson needs to kick it high, and the coverage has to be spot on. Don’t give the Tigers’ return man any time to breathe.

Great blocking

WRs Van Jefferson (12), AJ Brown (1) and DK Metcalf (14) all blocking on Jordan Wilkins’ touchdown run against Vandy. (Photo credit: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)

Ole Miss blew the ground game wide open last week, rushing for 252 yards in the win over Vanderbilt. Everyone loves how Jordan Wilkins, who had 113 yards in the win, and company are running the ball. All the Rebels’ backs are running hard and hitting the seams at the right time.

The line, anchored by iron man Sean Rawlings, has been outstanding the last several games. They need to continue to open the holes at the first level, which I am sure they will.

The key to long runs today, however, may also include the Nasty Wide Outs, or NWO as they are called. We have some incredibly talented receivers here at “Wide Receiver U,” and everyone knows it.

The incredible blocking of A.J. Brown, DaMarkus Lodge, D.K. Metcalf and Van Jefferson on the edge and at the second and third level often goes unnoticed—but make no mistake, they are blocking their tails off.

Keep blocking, fellows! You’re opening the opportunities for the Rebels’ backs to make big runs.

Play calling

Photo credit: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk

Offensive coordinator Phil Longo and sophomore quarterback Shea Patterson have the Rebels’ offense running with more and more rhythm and faster tempo each week.

Coach Longo noted Monday what a great job Patterson is doing reading the run pass options. Longo has done a masterful job of giving Ole Miss a scheme that works for its talented personnel. In the LSU games I’ve watched, keeping the routes short and crossing seems to give the Tigers fits.

If Ole Miss can manage the down and distance and keep the quick tempo, the Rebels’ offense will continue to roll.

Playing with a purpose

The Rebels are united behind their head coach, Matt Luke. (Photo credit: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)

The Rebels are playing with a purpose. If you heard Shea Patterson’s interview on Paul Finebaum this past week, he said as much, explaining that he and the players are going to do all they can to make sure head coach Matt Luke keeps his job.

These Rebels love Coach Luke and the staff and are fighting for what they believe is right for their program. I look for that trend to continue as the Rebels will play with the “us-against-the-world mentality” again this week.

Rebels, let’s unite behind these hard working coaches and talented kids!

Prediction: Rebels win, 41-34.

Hotty Toddy and Beat LSU!

(Feature image credit: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)

About The Author

Dan Anderson

Dan Anderson is a photographer and writer for The Rebel Walk. In addition to his work covering Ole Miss football and baseball for The Rebel Walk, Dan has written for a number of newspapers and has experience as a public address announcer, handling both play-by-play and color commentary. Dan has been involved with athletics as a player, coach or parent for 40 years, and brings this unique perspective to his coverage, whether through his lens or with his pen.

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