After a de facto bye week, the Ole Miss Rebels face one of the best offenses in the country this weekend when the LSU Tigers come to town for the 11th edition of the Magnolia Bowl. Their defense, while not up to their typical standard, is still top 25 in the SP+ ratings and is sure to challenge John Rhys Plumlee and the Rebel ground game.
An upset this weekend seems much more far fetched in the eyes of Ole Miss fans than it does to Vegas, but either way it ain’t happening.
With that said, let’s just focus on the offense.
2nd in success rate
The Tigers hired Joe Brady, and he found a perfect fit for his offense in Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow. The rest is history. LSU has had first round picks galore over the previous two decades, but never an offense like this. Never forget, we are less than 10 years removed from the 9-6 Game of the Century in Tuscaloosa.
LSU is successful on 57.6 percent of plays, behind the Oklahoma machine by just .3 percent.
7th in success rate
In just two games this season, Mississippi State and Auburn, have the Tigers struggled punching it in once they got near the goal line. LSU won those games 36-13 and 23-20, respectively. Otherwise, they’re exceptional at getting seven points once they get rolling, with an average of 5.47 points per trip inside the 40. For comparison, that Oklahoma offense is second in the country at 5.85 points. Don’t let LSU pick up two first downs, because they’re scoring.
1st in passing success rate
This sort of speaks for itself. When Burrow drops back to pass he’s successful on 60 percent of his passes. Again, that Oklahoma offense is right there at second nationally but just 57 percent of passes. Ole Miss ranks 98th in this category at just less than 38 percent of passes.
1st in completion rate
This is typically a garbage stat. Marcus Mariota for the Titans proved that. If you’re completely 70+ percent of your passes, it’s likely because your coach doesn’t trust you and gives you short, easy completions to keep things simple. Burrow breaks this mold. He’s completing passes at a 78.9 percent clip, with a 33-4 TD-INT ratio. A fellow (former?) Heisman contender Tua Tagovailoa has a 70.9 percent completion percentage with a 31-3 rate.
1st in standard downs success rate
The list of things LSU ranks first in is about as long as Burrow’s receivers who have caught a touchdown. On 1st-and-10, 2nd-and-5 or less, and 3rd-and-2 or less, the Tigers are successful about 62 percent of the time. With numbers like these, it’s a wonder they ever punt.
40th in stuff rate/70th in sack rate
I combined these two to show..the Tigers really aren’t exceptional up front. Sure, they’re loaded with four- and five-star players, but they’ve battled injuries and their performance across the first nine games of the season is right in the middle of the pack. Of course, Joe Brady transforming the offense cannot be understated. Despite not getting much help from their line, Burrow and Clyde Edwards-Helaire have been exceptional.
3rd in big-play rate
Every time Burrow lines up in the backfield opposing defenses are concerned with big plays. The 2019 Tigers gain big plays (those of 20 or more yards) 12 percent of the time. Yes, basically 1-in-8 snaps will result in a field flipping gain. Alabama is just ahead of LSU at second nationally with 12.6 percent of plays. (OU is first at 17 percent—ridiculous really)
1st in 21-to-30-yard line success rate
The Tigers are also 3rd nationally at plays from the 11-to-20-yard line, each above 60 percent. There’s no way to defend this team. They’re successful a lot, they gain big plays a lot, and they’re lethal once they’re within shouting distance of the end zone. Abandon hope all who don the Red and Blue.
123rd in standard downs run rate
They run the ball less than 50 percent of the time on standard downs, and they rank just 7th in passing downs run rate. Unfortunately for Ole Miss, the strength of their defense is exactly what LSU refuses to do.
All that said, enjoy the game! It’ll be over before you know it.