No. 5 LSU looks to slow Ole Miss

Mississippi Rebels quarterback Jordan Ta'amu (10) has 10 touchdown passes through four games.Photo Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

— By Les East, The Sports Xchange —

LSU calls itself “DBU” because it has sent several talented defensive backs to the NFL.

Mississippi has the most prolific passing offense in the SEC.

It will be strength against strength when the secondary of the No. 5-ranked Tigers (4-0, 1-0 SEC) matchesup against the receivers of the Rebels (3-1, 0-1) on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium at 9:15 p.m. ET.

“They are very explosive on offense, very hard to stop,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “Jordan Ta’amu is an excellent quarterback and he fits their scheme perfectly. He’s an accurate passer and he is a very good quarterback. He is a better drop-back passer than we’ve seen.

“They probably have the best set of receivers that we are going to see all year. A.J Brown and D.K Metcalf are both going to be in the NFL and both are outstanding receivers. We are going to have our hands full with this offense.”

LSU ranks 10th in the SEC is passing yards allowed (245 per game), but that’s partly due to it being second in rushing yards allowed (91.3) and opponents mostly playing from behind.

The Tigers gave up a season-high 330 passing yards to Louisiana Tech last week as the Bulldogs rallied from a 24-0 deficit to get within three points early in the fourth quarter before LSU pulled away.

“(LSU cornerbacks) struggled last game, but it wasn’t all their fault,” Orgeron said. “One time I counted it was five seconds the quarterback held the ball. That’s on the rush, so we’ve got to get better. They’ve got to get better at their technique on the line of scrimmage. We need to help them. This is a total defensive effort; it can’t be just all on them.

“This is going to test us. We’re going to have to mix things up, but it all starts with the pressure up front.”

Greedy Williams has two of the six interceptions for the Tigers, who have created nine turnovers.

“They’re very good defensively,” Rebels coach Matt Luke said. “They’re good on all three levels of the defense. Good up front, really good linebackers, very long and very good in the secondary. I think you’ve got to be very smart with the football. We have to protect the football. We need some high-percentage throws so we can get on schedule and get the rhythm that we need offensively.”

On the other side of the ball, LSU has had to make weekly adjustments to its offensive line because of injuries and a suspension. True freshman Chasen Hines will start at left guard because Garrett Brumfield is sidelined by a knee injury suffered against Louisiana Tech.

That line will be facing an Ole Miss defensive front coming off its best performance of the season in a 38-17 victory against Kent State last week.

The line, which had just 1.5 sacks through three games, had seven sacks and 13 tackles for loss. Kent State running backs had just 83 yards on 21 carries.

“We just need to be consistent and go play good, sound football,” Luke said. “You have to do that on the road — obviously be good defensively stopping the run. Offensively, take care of the football. Be sound on special teams.”

LSU has made a habit of letting up when it gets leads. The Tigers led Miami 33-3 and won 33-17, led Southeastern Louisiana 24-0 in the second quarter and scored just seven more points, and led Auburn 10-0 and had to overcome an 11-point deficit to win by a point.

“This is going to be a battle for 60 minutes,” Orgeron said. “There is no way that you can let up against this team. They are going to make plays as they are a good offense and we are going to have to keep battling for 60 minutes.”

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