By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
LSU WILL WIN IF …
DBU does its thing again: The LSU secondary was simply marvelous in shutting out Auburn in the second half. Dave Aranda trusted his defensive backs to play on islands in man-to-man coverage so he could go after Jarrett Stidham, and they rewarded him with utter dominance. Donte Jackson, Kevin Toliver and Eric Monroe were each targeted at least three times without yielding a completion. Jackson led the way with four pass break-ups. If the secondary plays that well against pass-happy Ole Miss, LSU will win and win big.
Get Guice Going: Derrius Guice provided an emotional spark to LSU in its second-half comeback against Auburn with some hard running and flashes of his old dynamic self. The preseason All-American seems to be getting back to something resembling full speed, and this seems like the week for his to breakout before a bye week to rest up for Alabama. Ole Miss ranks No. 118 nationally in run defense, allowing a whopping 238.5 yards per game on the ground and 5.5 yards per carry. The run also serves to keep the Rebels’ quick-strike offense on the sideline.
OLE MISS WILL WIN IF …
Make it a Shootout: Ole Miss has one thing going for them in what’s shaping up to be a long season, and that’s quarterback Shea Patterson and his crew of playmaking wide receivers. Patterson has thrown for 357.2 yards per game so far this season, which trails only Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and UCLA’s Josh Rosen, and has connected on 17 touchdowns versus six interceptions. Ole Miss would feel quite comfortable with its chances against Danny Etling if Patterson and Co. can make enough plays in the passing game to lure LSU into a shootout on Saturday.
The Haynes Factor: Defensive end Marquis Haynes is the last remnant of the Landshark defense that briefly vaulted Ole Miss into the national championship picture two years ago. And while he plays on an objectively poor defense, Haynes still has the potential to wreck a drive — or a game — all by his lonesome. He leads the Rebels with 4.5 sacks through six games, and if Ole Miss can find a way to not get run over on first down, he can feast on LSU’s backup tackles and make Etling’s life miserable.