Numbers stacked against Ole Miss as Rebels head to Death Valley

LSU-Ole Miss

When Tiger Stadium public address announcer Dan Borne announces to the capacity crowd inside Tiger Stadium that it’s “Saturday night in Death Valley,” that usually spells doom for the opposition. Since 2005, the Tigers are 59-7 in Baton Rouge at night.

Good luck, Ole Miss.

Fifth ranked LSU (4-0, 1-0 SEC) hosts Mississippi Saturday and Ole Miss has actually seen some semblance of success at Tiger Stadium through the years.

We all know about the famous Billy Cannon punt return of 1959 that would catapult Cannon to the Heisman Trophy. Since that Cannon gallop, the Rebels are 10-21-1 against the Tigers under the lights. Not great, but not bad either considering the success LSU has on its home field.

This year could prove to be difficult for the Rebels (2-1, 0-1 SEC) and head coach Matt Luke knows the Tigers will be a tough out.

“Very, very good defensively on all three levels of defense,” Luke said when asked about LSU’s defense. “They’re good up front, (with) really good linebackers and good in the secondary. They’re a very, very good defense.”

The Rebels will look to stop the running of tailbacks Nick Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The tandem have combined to rush for 617 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

As for Ole Miss, the key to winning against LSU on Saturday is finding some form of a running game. Scottie Phillips currently leads the Rebels with 467 rushing yards the past three games and five touchdowns. He has played well. Unfortunately for the Rebels, they haven’t found a serviceable backup behind the junior college standout.

“Scottie Phillips is a good running back,” LSU’s Ed Orgeron said. “We had looked at him (when he was) a junior college player.”

Senior Ole Miss quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, who has thrown for 1359-yards and 10-touchdowns, also has Orgeron’s attention.

“Jordan Ta’amu is an excellent quarterback (and) he fits their scheme perfectly; he’s very, very good at quarterback,” Orgeron said.

While a strong performance from Ta’amu would be nice for Ole Miss, his play isn’t as important as the ground game. Why? LSU Is 76-0 when it rushes for 100-yards or more and holds its opponents to less than 100-yards rushing.

(You can follow Brad Logan on Twitter @BradLoganCOTE)

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