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Ole Miss Has a Good Run Game Too.

Whenever you think about Lane Kiffin, a high-powered passing offense is usually what pops to mind first. It’s probably because of how many RPOs the Rebels ran with Matt Corral when watching Corral for draft prep. That’s not how they’re beating people this season, though.

The team’s strength this year is its running game; Kiffin knows that. Coach Brian Kelly gave Kiffin props on his adaptability when speaking to the media on Monday.

“That’s what Lane does well. He’s going to set his offense based upon who the player is,” Kelly said. “It’s not about plays, it’s about players for him. He has a quarterback that’s a real dual threat.”

The Ole Miss quarterback, Jaxson Dart, is a dual threat. He’s scariest on the ground, though, which seems to become a theme for these SEC quarterbacks. He has eclipsed 115 rushing yards twice this season. They have seemed to lean on it more as the season has progressed, outside of a Vanderbilt game where he didn’t need to risk it.

Outside of that Vanderbilt game, they haven’t necessarily been scary through the air. They’re the 78th-ranked passing offense this season, with a large chunk of their production coming from that game against Vandy, where Dart threw for over 400 yards. He does turn the ball over a bit, with eleven interceptions on the season.

The real question about their team is that they have just one quality win this season. Outside of Kentucky, their best opponent was a Troy team coming off a three-point win against Texas State. I’m not trying to say that they have fake stats or are frauds, but it’s something to consider.

The rushing talent is for real and is something that LSU will have to watch closely. They were gashed on the ground by Tennessee, but outside of that big run in the fourth quarter given up to Anthony Richardson, I thought they bounced back very well against a Florida running game that was very scary coming into the night.

As I’m once again stating, Mekhi Wingo is the second-highest-graded run defender in the SEC. Jaquelin Roy has been good in the run game, too, overall. This will be a big game for the front seven. This is where the game will be won or lost, in my opinion. Make Ole Miss beat you through the air.

And for the love of all that is holy, use Harold Perkins and Micah Baskerville in this game. They’re the best linebackers on the team and will excel this week. The Perkins under-usage has to stop now.

The defense is no slouch either; Chris Partridge is the play caller for them and has been for three years. He has a one-and-one record against the LSU Tigers. The game last year saw Max Johnson and Garrett Nussmeier play in a 31-17 win for the Rebels.

This year, the defense has been the best yet. Brian Kelly spoke a little about what to expect.

“Defensively they’re in a three down defense. We don’t see a ton of what they do. They do what they do well. You know, they get pressure. I think they’re second in the SEC in sacks. Difficult sometimes to know where they’re coming from.”

They are tied with Alabama for the second-most sacks in the conference, behind Arkansas.

Auburn scored 34 on them last week in Oxford, and they did it on the ground. The 100-yard emergence last week of Josh Williams could be massive for the confidence heading into a week where LSU needs a ground game. They have the 33rd passing defense in the country and 68th on run defense.

They are also gettable on third and fourth down, something LSU thrived with last week. Granted, Florida is dead last in the country.

It comes down to what offense arrives for LSU. Ideally, they ride the confidence that was built last week. Jayden Daniels was a new level of confidence throwing the ball and realistically could give Ole Miss their biggest test of the year.

LSU is currently a one-point favorite, and looking at the teams, I see an avenue where that makes sense. But we also saw a top-10 ranked SEC come into Death Valley with doubts about their past opponents, and they proved they were legit right away.