Ole Miss Rebels vs. LSU Tigers: NCAAF Week 8 Top Picks

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Quinshon Judkins #4 of the Mississippi Rebels carries the ball during the first half against the Kentucky Wildcats. Justin Ford/Getty Images/AFP.

Ole Miss is the only team in the SEC West without a conference loss and looks to stay that way on Saturday when the No. 7 Rebels visit unranked LSU.

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Ole Miss Rebels vs. LSU Tigers 

Saturday, October 22, 2022 – 03:30 PM EDT at Tiger Stadium 

CBS has this SEC matchup from Baton Rouge. We’ve been faring well with our NCAAF picks in recent weeks on big SEC games. 

Last year, Ole Miss was a 9-point home favorite on the NCAAF odds and beat LSU 31-17. Rebs QB Matt Corral threw for a score and rushed for one, but he’s of course now in the NFL.

Ole Miss was never going to lose that game because it retired the No. 10 jersey of former All-America quarterback Eli Manning at halftime.

LSU Changes

Neither LSU quarterback who played that day, Max Johnson or Garrett Nussmeier, should see the field in this one. Johnson is at Texas A&M and Nussmeier backs up Jayden Daniels. 

LSU holds a 64-41-4 advantage in the series, including a 42-24-1 mark in Baton Rouge. The home team has won eight of the last 10 meetings and has covered the spread in four straight. I think that ends.  

Ole Miss Kills Teams On Ground 

The door is wide open for Ole Miss to play in the SEC Championship Game for the first time because after Alabama’s upset loss at Tennessee last Saturday, the Rebels are the only team in the West Division without a conference loss. They also host Alabama on Nov. 12.  

Coach Lane Kiffin’s club comes off a 48-34 win over Auburn. The Rebels absolutely torched the Tigers for a whopping 448 yards on 69 carries.

That was the fifth most rushing yards in school history and the most since 1962. Against an SEC opponent, it was the most rushing yards in a game since 1951. For the first time since 1975, Ole Miss had three 100-yard rushers in a game.  

Judkins and Evans

Quinshon Judkins had 25 carries for 139 yards and 2 TDs, and Zach Evans 136 yards and a TD on 21 carries. 

Judkins (720) and Zach Evans (605) are the only pair of teammates in the country with more than 600 yards rushing on the season, and Judkins leads all freshman nationally in both rushing touchdowns (10) and rushing yards per game (102.9). 

Jaxson Dart

Quarterback Jaxson Dart also ran effectively with 14 carries for 115 yards. He also threw for three scores. The Rebels were 12-of-19 on third down conversions.

They entered the game leading the SEC and ranked No. 5 nationally converting 53.2% of the time. Now they are third at 55.2%.  

Ole Miss Ranking

Ole Miss now ranks third nationally in rushing at 271.4 yards per game, behind only Air Force and Navy, who both run the triple option. LSU allows 145.6 ypg on the ground.

The Rebels last started 7-0 in 2014, but those wins were later vacated due to NCAA violations, so it’s technically the school’s first such start since 1962

What Needs Improvement

If there’s one worry about Ole Miss, it can lose focus at times. Troy outscored the Rebs 10-7 over a 36-minute span. Georgia Tech held them to seven points over 31 minutes.

Tulsa outscored them 14-7 in their game's first 15 minutes and 13-0 over the final 31. Kentucky outscored them 19-8 over the final 45 minutes. Vanderbilt led 20-10 after 29 minutes. And Auburn responded to a 21-0 run with a 24-7 run. 

Ole Miss is 4-1 against the spread in its past five road games.  

LSU Alive In SEC Race 

LSU still has a shot at the SEC West title with a 3-1 league record, but I give the Tigers no shot because I think they lose this game as well as home to Alabama on Nov. 5.

LSU did look pretty good last week, though, in a 45-35 win at Florida. 

Jayden Daniels

Arizona State transfer and QB Jayden Daniels had his best game with his new team, completing 23 of 32 for 349 yards and three scores and rushing for three more touchdowns.

He became the first player in LSU history to have at least 3 rushing touchdowns and 3 passing touchdowns in regulation 

Daniels has been a different guy of late on third down. According to Pro Football Focus, through Week 5 LSU ranked 49th of 65 Power 5 teams in third down passing.

Daniels was 15-of-29 (51.7%) for 159 yards, 1 TD, and 0 interceptions, a 79.5 NFL passer rating. 

LSU Ranking

In Weeks 6 and 7, LSU ranks No. 1 among Power 5 schools in third down passing, with Daniels connecting on 16-of-20 (80%) attempts for 259 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INTs, a 135.4 NFL passer rating.

He was 8-of-9 for 173 yards and TD against Florida. 

LSU Offense

Kayshon Boutte led the offense in receiving with six catches for 115 yards vs. Florida and running back Josh Williams recorded his first 100-yard game and earned a game ball from first-year coach Brian Kelly, who became the first coach to lead LSU to wins at Auburn and at Florida in the same season. 

The LSU offense scored touchdowns during all of its first six drives. The last time the Tigers had six consecutive scoring drives was during the 2019 College Football Playoff semifinal vs. Oklahoma.

LSU has now won 10 straight games, including four in 2022, when reaching the 30-point mark. 

LSU Defense

The Tigers’ defense has been a concern of late in allowing big plays. Florida opened with a 51-yard touchdown throw and broke off four more plays over 15 yards, including an 81-yard TD run by Anthony Richardson.

LSU has now allowed 34 plays over 20 yards. Ole Miss is third in the country with 50 plays over 20 yards this season and ranks first in running plays over 10 yards (64) and 20 yards (23). 

LSU is 2-6 against the spread in its past eight October games. I like Ole Miss by at least a field goal, something like 30-27.  

NCAAF Pick: Ole Miss +2.5 (-110) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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Ole Miss +2.5 (-110)
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NCAAF Pick: Under 66 Points (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Under 66 Points (-108)
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