BATON ROUGE - LSU will go after its 10th win of the season on Saturday and in the process remain in the running for an at-large berth in a BCS bowl as the fifth-ranked Tigers host Ole Miss in the home finale in Tiger Stadium
Kickoff between the Tigers and the Rebels is slated for 2:30 p.m. and the game will be televised to a national audience on CBS with Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tracy Wolfson on the call. The game can also be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network and in the Geaux Zone on www.LSUsports.net/live.
LSU, winners of 10 straight games in Tiger Stadium, bring a 9-1 overall mark and a 5-1 league record into the contest. LSU, which has four wins over top 25 teams this year, is coming off a 51-0 win over Louisiana-Monroe last week.
Ole Miss opened the year by winning three of its first five games, however the Rebels have since dropped four of their last five contests and stand at 4-6 overall and 1-5 in conference play. The Rebels, who must win its last two games to get bowl eligible, are coming off a 52-14 defeat at Tennessee last week.
Ole Miss brings a two-game winning streak over LSU into Saturday's game as the Rebels beat the Tigers, 25-23, in Oxford a year ago and posted a 31-13 win in Tiger Stadium in 2008.
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"We understand that this is Ole Miss and that anytime these two teams get together, it's going to be a very competitive game between two traditional rivals," LSU coach Les Miles said. "There's so much tradition and history between these teams. You can throw out the records and anything that's happened up to this point in the season because none of that will matter come Saturday afternoon.
"I know that Ole Miss is a much better team than their 4-6 record indicates. They have some outstanding playmakers on the offensive side of the ball along with an offensive line that has played outstanding this year. Their defensive front is going to present a tremendous challenge for our offense."
Times of Interest
With a 9-1 overall mark and ranked No. 5 in the BCS, the Tigers are in position to end up in a BCS bowl with a pair of victories during the final two weeks of the season. However, Miles said the approach for the Tigers have been to focus on this week's game and take them one at a time.
"It is a long way away to be honest with you," Miles said of LSU's possible bowl destinations. "I don't want to daydream about what will be eventualities, I think everyone in this room will like in some way, shape or form to play for a championship. How that happens it is not clear right now, so all we are trying to do is take them one at a time and not lose focus on that. Ole Miss has certainly given us great reason to not do that."
LSU will spend a portion of the pre-game taking time to honor a group of 16 seniors, who will be playing their final game in Tiger Stadium. Among the group includes linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, offensive tackle Joseph Barksdale and defensive tackle Drake Nevis. This year's group of seniors will go down as one of the winningest classes in school history as well as being a group that helped to a national title in 2007.
"This is a special group," Miles said. ""This group of young men who will be very successful in life, no matter which path they choose. It's been a pleasure to have coached them and been part of some great moments in LSU history with them.
"When they walk off that field for the last time, it's then that it will probably strike them. The good news is their memories are as strong as there is in college football. There is not a guy that will leave his experience here and ever think that there was a better venue, better stadium, better place to go to school, better place to be cheered for. There is only one Tiger Stadium and we are certainly going to miss them."
The Tigers hope to build off the offensive momentum that they picked up during the second half of the win over Alabama to weeks ago. LSU, which trailed 7-3 at halftime to the Crimson Tide, racked up 21 points and over 300 yards in the second half against an Alabama defense that is considered one of the best in the nation.
Last week, LSU kept things pretty simple on offense, not showing too much in the 51-0 non-conference win over ULM.
The Tigers will continue with its two-man rotation at quarterback with Jordan Jefferson getting the start with Jarrett Lee seeing action throughout the game. Jefferson has an 18-6 record as a starter for the Tigers, which includes an 11-1 mark in Tiger Stadium. Two weeks ago against Alabama, Jefferson had his best game of the year, connecting on 10-of-13 passes for 141 yards and a 75-yard TD pass to Rueben Randle. Jefferson added 27 rushing yards as the Tigers had their best offensive game of the season.
Running back Stevan Ridley continues to rank among the SEC leaders in rushing with 878 yards and nine touchdowns.
Against Ole Miss, the Tigers will face a Rebel defense that has been stingy against the run, but has shown to be vulnerable in the passing game. Ole Miss is allowing 241 passing yards per game and they've given up 20 touchdowns through the air compared to only four interceptions.
When the Rebels have the ball, the Tigers will have to contain quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, a transfer from Oregon who has thrown for 1,601 yard and 12 touchdowns and added another 468 yards and four TDs on the ground. Running back Brandon Bolden is one of the best at his position in the SEC with 840 yards and 11 scores.
The Tigers will attack the Rebel offense with a defense that ranks among the top 10 in the nation in three categories - pass defense (4th at 148.6 yards per game), total defense (5th at 273.6 yards per game) and scoring (6th at 14.6 points per game). LSU leads the SEC in both total defense and pass defense and is second in points allowed.
Another weapon for the Tigers is that of special teams as LSU has arguably had the best all-around play from its specialists in the SEC this year. Patrick Peterson is second in the league in both kick returns (27.0) and punt returns (17.6), while kicker Josh Jasper leads the league with 20 field goals. LSU punter Derek Helton ranks fifth in the conference with a 44.1 average.
After Saturday, the Tigers travel to Little Rock next week to face Arkansas in the regular-season finale for both teams.
LSU Football Notebook
LSU will look to beat Ole Miss, Florida and Alabama in the same season for just the sixth time in school history. LSU did it in 1958, 1982, 2004, 2005 and 2007. Les Miles is the only coach in LSU history to do it more than once.
Three of LSU's last four Senior Days have gone to overtime - Ole Miss in 2006, Arkansas in 2007 and 2009. LSU won two of the three, beating Ole Miss, 23-20, in 2006 and beating Arkansas, 33-30, last year.
With a win, Miles will join Mark Richt, Steve Spurrier and Philip Fulmer as the only coaches in SEC HISTORY to win 10 games in four of his first six seasons as an SEC head coach.
A victory over Ole Miss will give LSU 10 victories for the fourth time in six years under Les Miles.
With the win over ULM, LSU coach Les Miles is averaging 10 wins a season as the Tiger head coach. He's the fastest coach to 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 wins in school history.
LSU will look to close out its home schedule undefeated for the first time since going 8-0 in 2006. LSU has gone undefeated at home just 12 times since opening Tiger Stadium in 1924. LSU is currently 6-0 at home this year.
LSU has allowed just 2 first quarter TDs over its last 12 SEC games dating back to last year. Tennessee and Auburn (both this year) are the only two SEC teams to score touchdowns against LSU during that 12-game league span. In its last 12 SEC games, LSU has held opponents to a total of 26 first quarter points - Auburn (7), Tennessee (7), Ole Miss (6), Arkansas (3), and Florida (3). LSU has also held its opponents to 9 punts and 1 turnover on the opening possession of games this year.
LSU is 8-0 this year and 44-6 under Les Miles when scoring first. The last time LSU lost a game when scoring first came against Alabama last year.
LSU coach Les Miles is a 24-9 mark in games decided by 8 points or less.
Under Les Miles, LSU is 21-2 when having a 100-yard rusher.