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As Rebels prepare for LSU, here’s what we learned from Tigers’ win over Florida

As Rebels prepare for LSU, here’s what we learned from Tigers’ win over Florida

Ole Miss has yet another off week late in the season, but there is still one regular-season game on the slate. The Rebels are scheduled to head to Baton Rouge next week to battle LSU for the Magnolia Trophy on December 19.

The Tigers did not have the advantage of having the day off Saturday. LSU had to go to Gainesville to take on No. 6 Florida. If the Gators thought it was going to be a walk-through before the SEC title game, LSU proved anything but a pushover.

A 23-point underdog, LSU stunned the Gators, 37-34, to likely end Florida’s chances for a berth in the college football playoffs.

Any team that can pull off that kind of upset has heart and must be taken seriously.

What we learned from the Florida game: The cupboard is not bare for head coach Ed Orgeron. In his first career start, Max Johnson looked like an SEC quarterback and the Tigers’ defense frustrated Florida all night long. The defense used a combination of players that looked as if they came from the Island of Misfit Toys from ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.’ Even though the LSU season can easily be called a disappointment, there are still athletes in Baton Rouge, and they are there for a reason.

The boys in purple and gold can still play SEC football.

What to look out for: In addition to the momentum of the biggest upset in the conference this season, LSU can have a “there is no tomorrow” attitude.

This will be the final game of the season for the Tigers, so look for Orgeron to throw the kitchen sink out on the Death Valley turf. With a long break ahead to get healthy – from injuries and COVID-19 layoffs – everyone is going to be available for the Tigers and even with a true freshman quarterback, LSU will not leave anything in its playbook.

What can be exploited: Attrition. LSU is low on numbers. There have been injuries, preseason opt outs and in-season opt outs. Saturday, Florida kept a more methodical approach to allow the Tigers to not expend a lot of energy. Ole Miss has a much more up-tempo offense that could wear the undermanned Tigers down in the second half.

Which Rebels could have a big day: The usual suspects. LSU is undermanned and they are young. Derek Stingley, Jr., is the best defensive back on the Tigers’ roster, but he missed the Florida game with an injury. Stingley, even when healthy, would have his hands full with Elijah Moore, Dontario Drummond, Jonathan Mingo, Braylon Sanders and tight end Kenny Yeboah. With Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner at his disposal in the backfield, Matt Corral might have his choice of weapons.

Who to look out for in the white jerseys: On offense, Chris Curry wearing number 18. He is a punishing running back and what is scarier, he appears to enjoy the contact. The Ole Miss front seven will have to play more physically than it has so far this season to not only keep Curry from breaking tackles and gaining extra yardage, but on short third downs, he can easily gain three or four yards.

Defensively, linebacker Jabril Cox. Number 19 is a versatile player who can move from sideline to sideline. Not only is he agile and fast enough to stay with Ealy and Conner out of the backfield, but he could also put extra pressure on Corral in the pocket. Moreover, Cox is a graduate transfer from North Dakota State. During his time with the Bison, NDSU won three consecutive FCS national championships, so this season has not been acceptable to his standards. This will be his last college game since LSU has banned itself from a bowl this season, and bet your last dime this man wants to go out a winner.

Trends: Although prior to the win over the Gators. LSU had lost two straight, but they were to Alabama and Texas A&M. If a team is going to lose consecutive games, those two would be the logical candidates.

The Rebels have won three straight games on the field but probably felt as if they lost another one to the monotony of another open date.

What we can look for: A war of wills. Ole Miss wants to turn the game into a track meet to have the Tigers gasping for breath the entire time. LSU wants to force the Rebels into as many three-and-outs as possible so it can get the ball back and melt time off the clock.

Game info: 

Kickoff in Baton Rouge is set for 2:30 p.m. in Tiger Stadium. The contest will be televised by either ESPN, the SEC Network, or the SEC Network Alternate channel.

About The Author

Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers. He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio. A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series. Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time. He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk. Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

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