If you’ve never heard of the Magnolia Bowl, you are not alone. This game has been played since the year 1894, but it only became the Magnolia Bowl in 2008.
Before 2008, most folks just called it the LSU-Ole Miss Rivalry. I’m not sure how I feel about the name ‘Magnolia’ when talking about football, but we are talking about a conference where the men all willingly, and without guns pointed at them, wave around pom poms during a game. Not sure how I feel about that either.
This game is more important in 2014 than it has been in many, many moons.
When was the last time that Ole Miss was ranked in the top 5 in the country and unbeaten on the year after 7 games? I’m pretty sure not in my lifetime and I have been around for a few years.
LSU was written off after they lost by 5 points against the number one team in the country a few weeks back. Then, they were trounced by Auburn at Auburn.
They have bounced back and are now sitting at 6-2.
LSU still has some talent and a lot of super young talent. They are still a dangerous foe for just about anyone even if they have had Quarterbacking problems for most of this season.
Number 2 ranked Ole Miss versus 11th ranked Louisiana State University.
These guys really don’t like each other all that much in spite of the constant SEC chants. LSU leads the all time series with a 58-40-4 advantage. But, a lot of those wins came years ago and the series has been relatively even over the last few years.
If you haven’t seen Ole Miss play, you really need to turn on your television set and check them out. This team is special. Hopefully, I won’t ruin their season by bragging on them, but they are fantastic. If looking for a fault with Ole Miss, they don’t really have a consistent running game. But, unlike LSU, the Ole Miss Rebels have an experienced Quarterback in Bo Wallace. The senior Quarterback from Pulaski, Tennessee has been hot and cold for the last 2 years, but of late has been mostly hot.
Wallace has thrown for 1,899 yards and 17 Touchdowns from 137 completions out of 209 attempts. Wallace has also thrown for 6 Interceptions, but 3 of those happened in the first half of the very first game against Boise State. The media loves to throw around the good Bo Wallace and the bad Bo Wallace, but the good Bo Wallace has pretty much taken over the offense this season and we have seen little of the bad Bo Wallace.
Ole Miss Wide Receivers Laquan Treadwell, Vince Sanders and Cody Core have been steady and reliable play makers this year with all of them having 4 Touchdowns each. Throw in tough Tight End/H Back Evan Engram and the Ole Miss passing game has been great all season.
Ole Miss has one of the largest Offensive Lines in the entire country including the NFL.
But, what has really set Ole Miss apart this season is defense.
The Land Shark Defense, as it has been named, has been a force. Defense still wins championships.
This defense is just amazing. Led by Robert Nkemdiche, Cody Prewitt, and D.T. Shackleford this defense is one of the very best in not only the SEC, but the entire nation.
Senquez Golson has a nose for the football with an SEC leading 7 Interceptions on the season so far. Ole Miss is tied with Louisville for the most Interceptions in the country. That’s not good news for LSU Quarterbacks.
LSU started the season out ranked highly, and was fortunate to get by Wisconsin in the opener. After a few of the standard SEC cream puff opponents, the Tigers had to open conference play with Mississippi State. It was not a pretty sight as the MSU Bulldogs came into Baton Rouge and hammered the Tigers. To the Tigers credit, they never quit and came back and nearly won the game losing by only 5 points when the smoke had cleared.
Taking their frustrations out on another flag football intramural team in New Mexico State, the Tigers then got absolutely crushed by an outstanding Auburn team.
The LSU Tigers responded with wins over SEC rivals, Florida and Kentucky.
Les Miles and the LSU Tigers love to run a big Running Back after a big Running Back behind another huge Offensive Line and wear down an opponent.
True freshman Leonard Fournette leads the team in rushing with 544 yards rushing. Fournette is 230 pounds of muscle and the other Running Backs at LSU are Kenny Hilliard at 6-0, 230, Terrence Magee at 5-9, 220 and true freshman Darrel Williams at 6-0, 230. All of these guys are talented, strong, and tough and they run hard.
The problem that LSU has had is out of the Quarterback position. They have started both sophomore Anthony Jennings and true freshman Brandon Harris. Neither has been outstanding, but Anthony Jennings starts for now.
The group of receivers are young, but very, very talented. Sophomore Travin Dural is the elder statesman at this position and is a big play guy. Redshirt freshman John Diarse and true freshmen Malachi Dupre and Trey Quinn are about as talented as they come.
Linebacker Kwon Alexander, Danielle Hunter, and Ronald Martin lead a defense that is still pretty strong. This side of the ball is ranked 14th in total defense.
If you are looking for a ball game to watch on Saturday and want an offensive shootout, this may not be your game. But, if you are looking for a hard fought battle with a lot of pride and glory on the line then tune in tomorrow night.