By Adam Brown
No. 7 Ole Miss travels to tangle with the LSU Tigers in Death Valley down on the Bayou for the Magnolia Bowl. The kick is set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS.
Ole Miss (7-0, 3-0 SEC) rolls in undefeated after a 48-34 victory over the Auburn Tigers last Saturday. The Rebels had three players – Jaxson Dart, Zach Evans and Quinshon Judkins – rush for more than 100-yards against the Tigers.
Ole Miss is tied with Georgia and Michigan for the FBS lead in total rushing touchdowns (24), and the Rebels rank in the top 15 in the FBS in total rushing yards (1,898), yards per game (271.1), total attempts (330) and yards per rush (5.75).
Head coach Lane Kiffin’s offense is averaging 20.5 seconds per play this season, the third-fastest average in FBS, behind Indiana (18.6 spp) & SMU (19.5 spp).
Ole Miss running backs Judkins (720) and Evans (605) are the only pair of teammates in the country with more than 600 yards rushing on the season.
LSU (5-2, 3-1 SEC) is coming off a high-scoring 45-35 win over the Florida Gators in Gainesville. The Tiger offense hinges heavily upon the dual-threat capabilities of junior quarterback Jayden Daniels, who currently leads the team in passing yards (1,564) and rushing yards (403) on the year, along with tallying 16 total touchdowns both on the ground and through the air. Daniels will look to target his favorite receiver, sophomore Malik Nabers, who has brought in team-highs in receptions with 32 and receiving yards with 418 along with one score for the Tigers.
The team’s defense will rely on leading tacklers Micah Baskerville and Greg Penn III, with the two linebackers accounting for a combined 73 total tackles in 2022. The Tigers defensive line is headlined by BJ Ojulari, as his team-leading four sacks on the year currently ranks fifth overall in the SEC.
Saturday will be the 111th all-time meeting between the two programs. LSU holds a 64-41-4 advantage in the series, including a 42-24-1 mark in Baton Rouge. Since the rivals started playing for the Magnolia Bowl trophy in 2008, LSU holds a 9-4 edge. Ole Miss’ win in 2013 was vacated due to an NCAA ruling. The home team has won eight of the last 10 meetings on the field.