Thursday, November 15, 2012
Five storylines: Ole Miss at LSU
By Gary Laney
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Saturday will be senior day for LSU when the No. 7 Tigers host Ole Miss. And while it’s hard to say goodbye, there are plenty of other storylines when the Tigers and Rebels mix it up:
1. Take a knee?: LSU has won eight of the last 10 meetings, including what was, for Ole Miss, an embarrassing 52-3 Tigers win last season in Oxford, Miss. The game got so out of hand, the Tigers took a knee four times starting at the Rebels’ 1 well before the game was over. Needless to say, Ole Miss will want to make up for that embarrassment. “We recognize that they’ve had this date circled on their calendar,” LSU coach Les Miles said.
2. BCS hopes: LSU can still play its way into a spot in a BCS bowl game, but the Tigers (8-2) must first win their remaining two games against the Rebels, then at Arkansas. The Tigers have outside shots at invitations to the Sugar or Rose Bowls and a more realistic shot at a Fiesta Bowl trip.
3. Bowl hopes: Ole Miss (5-5) is a win away from being bowl eligible under first-year head coach Hugh Freeze, one year after going 2-10. If the Rebels can’t do it against the Tigers, they would have to win the Egg Bowl against Mississippi State to make the post season.
4. Passing fancy: LSU’s resurgent passing game has resulted in 571 yards in the air in the last two games, by far the best performances of the season for Zach Mettenberger and the Tigers receivers. Ole Miss also has a much-improved passing game this season, powered by junior college transfer quarterback Bo Wallace.
5. A bright future?: LSU will bid adieu to 14 seniors, but replacing them won’t be a huge issue going forward. The four senior starters all have obvious heirs at their positions. The bigger question mark are the six junior defensive players who might leave early, including ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, tackle Bennie Logan, linebacker Kevin Minter, safety Eric Reid and cornerback Tharold Simon.