Embattled Ed Orgeron, LSU take on No. 12 Ole Miss

Following a weekend that featured two thrilling wins, LSU and No. 12 Ole Miss will search for normalcy when they square off in Oxford, Miss., on Saturday.In retrospect, so much in the Louisiana bayou and northern Mississippi has changed over the past 10 months for the SEC West opponents.Last Dec. 19, on the day Alabama beat Florida in Atlanta for the SEC championship, LSU led Ole Miss 34-21 at halftime and scored the game-winning touchdown with 1:34 left as the Tigers won 53-48 in miserably cold, rainy conditions in Baton Rouge.But after numerous rumors this season, Tigers coach Ed Orgeron and the school went through a divorce of sorts on Sunday following LSU’s 49-42 home upset of then-No. 20 Florida.While LSU (4-3, 2-2) should have been basking in the glory of Tyrion Davis-Price’s school-record 287 rushing yards and three touchdowns and the defense’s four-interception effort, Orgeron and the school parting ways led the news.Just 21 months removed from a 15-0 national championship season anchored by Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow and 13 other NFL-bound players, the university agreed to pay the remaining $16.95 million of the six-year coach’s contract and start anew in 2022.”We’re going to finish,” said Orgeron, 60, who is 5-0 against Ole Miss but 9-8 since winning the 2019 season title. “We’re not going to blink. I’m going to be right there with them.”After struggling all season to find its running game, LSU amassed 321 yards on the ground as a nearly two-touchdown home underdog against the Gators — averaging 7.1 yards per carry on its 45 rushes.In the series, LSU has won five straight and six of the past seven against Ole Miss.The Tigers are 64-41-4 in the 109 career meetings, including an 11-8-1 mark in Oxford.Coach Lane Kiffin’s Rebels (5-1, 2-1) survived a crazy night in Knoxville — hanging on over six frantic plays at the end by Tennessee to beat the Volunteers 31-26.Following a lengthy delay after an embarrassing trash-throwing episode by Tennessee fans — UT was fined $250,000 — the defense held on for Ole Miss’ victory.

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