No. 5 LSU honing in on explosive Ole Miss air attack
Mississippi (3-1, 0-1 SEC) at No. 5 LSU (4-0, 1-0), 9:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: LSU by 11.
Series record: LSU leads 61-40-4.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
LSU has put itself in position to contend for an SEC West title and a CFP berth, but a loss to unranked Ole Miss would seriously damage the Tigers’ standing. Having lost only to No. 1 Alabama, Ole Miss could break into the rankings with a victory and further validate coach Matt Luke’s rebuilding process since Hugh Freeze resigned in 2017 amid findings of recruiting violations that caused the program to withdraw from bowl consideration last season.
LSU’s secondary must regain its form this week against an Ole Miss passing game that features — in LSU coach Ed Orgeron’s words — two of the best receivers in the country. Ole Miss receivers A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf have combined for 44 receptions for 749 yards and seven TDs already this season. LSU’s defense has intercepted six passes, but the secondary is coming off its worst performance last week, when it gave up about 330 yards and three TDs to Louisiana Tech.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Mississippi: RB Scottie Phillips ranks 13th nationally in yards rushing with 467 and second in the SEC with five TDs rushing.
LSU: WR Dee Anderson, a 6-foot-6 target, has emerged as one of first-year QB Joe Burrow’s preferred targets recently. Anderson had 80 yards receiving last week and made crucial catches in a victory at Auburn. His 141 yards receiving — most of it coming in the past two games — ranks second on the team this season.
FACTS & FIGURES
The historical rivalry between these flagship public universities from bordering states, which began in 1894, has been nicknamed the Magnolia Bowl since 2008. LSU has won six of 10 Magnolia Bowl trophies. ... Only Mississippi State has played Ole Miss (114 games) more than LSU (106 games). ... The home team has won five of the last six meetings, but the Tigers have won two straight since Orgeron, a former Rebels head coach, took over for Les Miles at LSU four games into the 2016 season. ... LSU is 40-24-1 vs. Ole Miss in Baton Rouge.