Much attention is being paid to LSU coach Ed Orgeron’s return to Ole Miss this weekend. But like a Fast and Furious movie, it’s been done before.
This is actually Orgeron’s third trip back to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium since he was fired with a 10-25 record in 2007. Rebels fans are hoping it looks a lot like the first two.
Orgeron was Tennessee’s defensive line coach in 2009 when the Vols appeared to not actually have a defensive line. Dexter McCluster rushed for a school-record 282 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 41-17 Ole Miss rout.
In 2015, he returned as LSU’s defensive line coach. The Rebels pounded the Tigers 38-17 in a sloppy performance that lit the hot seat under Les Miles. That game was LSU’s third straight loss and was marked by 13 Tigers penalties for 95 yards.
To find the last time Coach O won at Vaught-Hemingway, you have to go back to Nov. 3, 2007 — a 38-31 squeaker over Orgeron’s alma mater, FCS Northwestern State, that drew only 23,283 fans.
SEC Country’s Alex Hickey, Nick Suss, Sam Spiegelman and “One Team, One Podcast” host Carter Bryant make their predictions.
Sam Spiegelman: LSU 31, Ole Miss 19
Will LSU be able to maintain the momentum from last week’s home win over Auburn or will the team fall into another rut on their return to the Magnolia State? Unlike their conference-opening loss to Mississippi State a month ago, this is a revenge game for Orgeron.
You may have heard Orgeron was once the head coach of the Rebels. Haven’t you seen The Blindside? Now, he’s at his dream job, riding a two-game winning streak and, not surprisingly, those are the two best performances for these Tigers to date.
The offense has continued to make progress each week and now it will face the third-best defense in its own state (No. 110 among FBS teams). If Arden Key can replicate how he looked against Auburn and the secondary continues to play lights-out against Shea Patterson, LSU will be 6-2 entering a bye week before the annual Alabama game. After some early woes, the October version of the Tigers seems more focused heading back to Mississippi.
Carter “The Power” Bryant: Ole Miss 27, LSU 24
This is one of the few matchups where most programs would take Orgeron as their coach over the guy across the sideline. Matt Luke has been lukewarm this season as an interim and Orgeron has coached his best in recent weeks, highlighted by nice management late against Auburn. LSU also has an advantage on both lines and has improved play in their special teams.
The biggest disparity is at quarterback, with Ole Miss’ Shea Patterson playing the best in the SEC under center. But LSU quarterback Danny Etling is coming off his best game of the season. The problem is the letdown factor. It’s hard to find any SEC program that has ever had an emotional three-week swing in the middle of the year quite like the Tigers. And let’s be honest, both of LSU’s wins against Florida and Auburn required close-game luck in their favor.
Ole Miss has a paltry defense, but the Tigers offense can’t blow out opponents. The one factor that could push the Tigers through is a healthy Derrius Guice. The Rebels are allowing 293 yards on the ground per game in SEC play. This game will be tight with the Rebels kicking a late field goal to win it. For bettors, I do like the under if the line remains at 59.5.
Nick Suss: LSU 41, Ole Miss 21
Ole Miss is not a good football team. You don’t host LSU ranked 116th in the nation in scoring defense and 120th in rushing offense and expect to win. This isn’t to say Ole Miss doesn’t have redeemable qualities. Quarterback Shea Patterson is a beast and should be counted on for 2 or 3 touchdowns on his own, even if they come in garbage time.
Alex Hickey: LSU 35, Ole Miss 34
It’s been so long since Ed Orgeron’s last win in Oxford that the Rebels are already on their third different coach (Matt Luke) and third different mascot (Land Shark).
With the Egg Bowl being played in Starkville, there isn’t a bigger game in Oxford this season. LSU will want to set the tempo early as a repeat of last week’s comeback isn’t likely in a steaming cauldron of LSU and Orgeron hatred.
Getting to Shea Patterson will be vital to a Tigers win. If Arden Key continues the progress he showed last week, LSU should be able to accomplish that task.
And just for fun — Ole Miss blew out South Alabama (47-27), which beat Troy (19-8), but has also been blown out by Auburn (44-23). I think those results portend a zany game in Oxford.