Prediction: LSU and Fournette to edge Ole Miss

BATON ROUGE – He has only coached two games at LSU, but interim head coach Ed Orgeron is starting to get the hang of it. He basically told a caller off on his radio show Wednesday night.

“I think that’s a stupid question,” he said to something about Houston coach and LSU candidate Tom Herman giving his players a peck on the cheek when they arrive for a game and if new defensive line coach Pete Jenkins would be handling that.

I already liked Coach Orgeron, but I like him more now. He didn’t give that question a peck on the cheek, so to speak. Coach O may not speak clearly to those of us off bayou, but he doesn’t mince words either. And the best way for Orgeron to keep other coaching candidates off his coaches’ show is by winning the next five games, beginning Saturday night in Tiger Stadium when No. 23 LSU (4-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) plays No. 22 Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2) at 8 on ESPN.

Here are five items to keep an eye on during Orgeron’s ongoing audition.

1.LSU DEFENSE – Yes, it did an excellent job against one of the Southeastern Conference’s best passing games and best quarterbacks three weeks ago in beating Drew Lock and Missouri, 42-7, but quarterback Chad Kelly and Ole Miss are better. The Rebels put up 522 yards against No. 1 Alabama on September 17 in a 48-43 loss. Kelly leads the SEC in passing yards a game with 308. Tight end Evan Engram leads the SEC in receiving yards a game with 98. If LSU wants to be DBU again, this will be a night to move in that direction.

2.LEONARD FOURNETTE – The franchise LSU tailback will play for the first time since September 24 at Auburn when he reinjured his ankle and just in time to face one of the SEC’s worst defenses against the run as Ole Miss is 11th with 212.8 yards allowed a game. His backup, Derrius Guice, will play, too, and may be in the same backfield as Leonard, but fullback John David Moore needs to be in there more because of his blocking ability.

3.HUGH FREEZE – Ole Miss’ coach knows how to beat LSU. He is 2-2 against the Tigers. His losses were by a combined nine points, and he won last year by 38-17. He also knows Coach Orgeron well, having worked on his staff at Ole Miss from 2005-07.

4.TIGER STADIUM – Lately, it has been more like Dodger Stadium than the toughest place to play in college football because the fans have been leaving early, probably to beat the traffic as much as anything. And Baton Rouge traffic is as bad as Los Angeles traffic on game nights, and often on non-game days. This should be a bumper-to-bumper game in more ways than one.

5.ED ORGERON – If LSU wins, he should rip his shirt off … just for Ole Miss ole times’ sake.

PREDICTION – Fournette and Guice with a little Danny Etling and Tre’Davious White on Engram will be just enough to beat Ole Miss, 27-24.


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