The Orgeron years at Ole Miss
In his three seasons as the Rebels’ coach (2005 to 2007), Orgeron compiled a 10-25 record, including 0-3 against LSU.
Ole Miss was 0-12 against ranked teams in Orgeron’s three seasons, but five of those losses were by six or fewer points. The Rebels’ three losses to Alabama under Orgeron were all by three points, including one when the Crimson Tide were sixth in The Associated Press poll.
Similar to this season with LSU, Ole Miss under Orgeron improved offensively. The Rebels were 111th among major-college teams in yards per play in his first season, and they climbed to 106th and 66th, respectively, in the next two seasons.
Ole Miss’ defense went the other direction. The Rebels were 21st in yards per play allowed in Orgeron’s first season and 59th and 74th in his second and third seasons.
Offense hits higher gear
LSU has scored 42 and 45 points in its two games since the coaching change -- perhaps surprising given Orgeron’s background as a defensive line coach -- and has clawed back into the AP rankings, at No. 25.
With Orgeron as head coach, the Tigers are averaging more yards per play than in their first four games: 8.8, compared with 5.8. Their touchdown percentage has risen sharply (52 percent, compared with 19 percent), and they have more 20-yard plays in the past two games (16) than in their first four (13).
LSU’s offense has surged the last two games even without star running back Leonard Fournette (sprained left ankle). Sophomore Derrius Guice has had 160 yards and at least two rushing touchdowns in each of the last two games. His average of 9.1 yards per rush this season leads FBS players (minimum 50 rushes).
Fournette is expected back Saturday. He has averaged an FBS-best 155.9 rushing yards per game over the past two seasons but was held to 4.3 yards per rush in last season’s 38-17 loss to Ole Miss, his second-lowest average in a game since the start of the 2015 season.
Will Kelly continue to thrive against ranked teams?
LSU has allowed three passing touchdowns this season, tied with Baylor for the fewest in the FBS. But the Tigers this week face Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly. Against ranked teams since the start of last season, Kelly has been responsible for more touchdowns (31) than any other FBS player and is No. 1 in the FBS in 20-yard completions (47).
The Tigers are the third team that the Rebels will have faced that is currently in the top 10 of ESPN’s Football Power Index. Ole Miss lost each its previous games, to Florida State and Alabama.