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Ole Miss Faces LSU in Death Valley for Annual Magnolia Bowl

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor

The Ole Miss Rebels travel south this weekend to Baton Rouge as they take on the No. 5 LSU Tigers in the 10th annual Magnolia Bowl. Kickoff is slated for 8:15 p.m. inside the Tiger Den of Death Valley on ESPN.

Ole Miss (3-1, 0-1) is coming off of a 38-17 victory over Kent State. Senior quarterback Jordan Ta’amu finished the game throwing for over 440 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

Running back Scottie Phillips ranks second in the SEC and 12th nationally with five rushing touchdowns. He ranks 11th in the NCAA in total rushing yards (467). This season, Phillips is averaging 7.53 yards per carry.

The LSU Tigers currently sit at 4-0 overall—1-0 in SEC play—and are ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll and No. 6 in the Coaches Poll. LSU is coming off a 38-21 win over Louisiana Tech where the Tigers rushed for 218 yards and five TDs on the ground. Two of LSU’s four wins came against teams ranked in the top 10, including a 22-21 win at No. 7 Auburn to open SEC play and a 33-17 victory over No. 8 Miami at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

“They’re very good defensively. They’re good on all three levels of the defense,” Luke said about the Tigers. “We have to protect the football. We need some high percentage throws so we can get on schedule and get the rhythm that we need offensively.”

The LSU offense averages 352.5 yards of offense per game, with 169.8 yards on the ground and 182.8 in the air. Joe Burrow, a transfer from Ohio State, will lead the Tiger offense. Burrow has thrown for 751 yards (182.8 ypg) yards at a completion rate of 49.1 percent, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Burrow’s favorite target is sophomore wideout Justin Jefferson. On the season, Jefferson has hauled in 13 catches for 195 yards. Nick Brossette leads the way for a dangerous Tiger rushing attack. Brossette has rushed 83 times for 409 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

“On offense, they’re big up front. I think Joe Burrow does a great job at managing the game,” Luke said. “He’s a capable passer.”

On the other side of the ball, LSU ranks eighth in the SEC in total defense (335.3) and second in rush defense (91.3). LSU’s sophomore cornerback Greddy Williams leads the SEC and ranks 10th nationally with two interceptions on the season. Outside linebacker Michael Divinity, Jr. is third in the SEC with 1.7 tackles for loss per game.  Kicker Cole Tracy is 9-of-10 in field goal attempts, including two makes of 50 yards or more. Sophomore punter Zach Von Rosenberg ranks third in the NCAA with 48 yards per punt. 

Saturday night marks the 107th all-time meeting between the Rebels and the Tigers. LSU holds a 61-41-4 advantage in the series and in Baton Rouge the Tigers are 40-24-1.

Fans can watch the game on ESPN or listen to the call on the Ole Miss Radio Network.

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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