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LSU Vows Not to Overlook Ole Miss After Breakthrough Victory at Alabama

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Photo courtesy of LSU and LSUsports.net

LSU (9-0, 5-0) put the college football world on notice with their 46-41 win in Tuscaloosa over rival Alabama (8-1, 5-1). It’s the first time LSU has defeated Alabama since 2011 and vaulted them from No. 2 to No. 1 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings.

Behind terrific performances from Joe Burrow (31-39, 393 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (180 total yards, 4 touchdowns), the Tigers erupted for 559 offensive yards vs. the Crimson Tide.

LSU’s now three victories away from a perfect regular season, controlling their destiny for a spot in the SEC title game and berth in the CFP. While LSU’s in the driver’s seat, they insist there’s no looking ahead as they strive for the program’s first national title since 2007.

LSU plays at Ole Miss (4-6, 2-4) on Saturday. Every game is now magnified for the Tigers. LSU intends to bring a business-like approach into Oxford against a conference foe that will be amped up to spoil their dreams.

“The focus is going to be on Ole Miss. I think that we have a mature enough team not to look down the road. Because if we don’t beat Ole Miss it won’t happen,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “So I think that’s our goal so I won’t talk to them about that. But I will talk to them about leaving it alone after today. Let it go. Move forward.”

Despite their subpar record, Orgeron isn’t taking Ole Miss lightly in large part because of new coordinators Mike MacIntrye (defensive) and Rich Rod (offensive). Ole Miss ranks first in the SEC in rushing offense. Four players (John Rhys Plumlee, Scottie Phillips, Jerrion Ealy, and Snoop Conner) have totaled at least 400 yards and combined for 22 touchdowns.

“Totally different both on offense and defense. On offense it’s more of a quarterback run. Rich Rod is a good coach and does a hurry up offense and not a lot of time at the line of scrimmage, very smart coach,” Orgeron said. “Coach MacIntyre is going totally to a 3-4 defense, they were a 4-3 defense before, so it’s a total different scheme on both sides of the ball.”

After Ole Miss, LSU will close out the regular season with home games vs. Arkansas (2-8, 0-6) and Texas A&M (6-3, 3-2). LSU can’t exhale after beating Alabama because on any given Saturday an opponent can exceed expectations.

“You know, here’s what I learned about this, games like this, okay. Not to speak that way. Not to — speak in terms that we’re going to play the LSU standard of performance and saying that without speaking the other way,” Orgeron said. “So we’re going to stay positive, I’m going to expect them to understand that we played our best for 30 minutes we didn’t play for sixty minutes, we have to improve and I’m going to take that approach.”

Should LSU advance to the SEC title game, they’ll either face Georgia (8-1, 5-1) or Florida (8-2, 5-2). Georgia can clinch the SEC East with a victory on Saturday against Auburn (7-2, 4-2).

LSU defeated Florida 42-28 this season on Oct. 13. LSU beat Georgia 36-16 in their most recent meeting on Oct. 13, 2018.

Snapping the drought against Alabama was especially gratifying. It solidified LSU as a legitimate national title contender. However, the Tigers realize their mindset must be singularly focused.

“We’re very proud of our football team and we are happy for all the things that we have accomplished,” Orgeron said. “But still we have to focus on one game at a time, we have not by far reached our goal, there will be bigger games down the road for us to play in and this is the biggest game we’re playing in because it’s our next opponent.”