BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -
The No. 3 national ranking is the highest since Ole Miss was ranked No. 1 in the 1964 preseason poll. The last time Ole Miss was 4-0 in SEC play was back in 2003. The Rebels would run off a 6-0 record that year before a loss to LSU.
Head coach Hugh Freeze said,"“It's always an exciting time around this place when you enter into a game that is considered to be one of your historical rivals like LSU. They've been extremely talented through the years. Coach (Les) Miles has done a phenomenal job there. Even though they've had some ebbs and flows this season, they seem to be figuring them out quite nicely, and they're playing their best football of the year. We're excited to be 7-0 going into that game, but we also understand that the same attention to preparation will have to even be heightened more going into that environment and playing in there against such an athletic, physical and quality football team. They have tremendous young talent on their team. It's going to be a great, great challenge for us. It will be one that we'll make our kids very aware of the history of this rival."
LSU has played 16 true-freshman and many of them on the defensive side of the football. After giving up big yards and big losses to Mississippi State and Auburn, the Tigers have played much better defense in wins over Florida and Kentucky.
Freeze said,"“They're definitely getting better every week. I recruited a lot of those guys. They're quality kids and really quality players that are coming into their own. They're coming into their own and playing more comfortable in the arenas that they're in. They're doing what they're being asked to do. We've had our experience playing with young kids here and seeing the development of those kids. Theirs are doing the same thing.”
Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson of Pascagoula has enjoyed a super senior season. He leads the SEC and ranks second nationally with seven interceptions. That ties him for fourth-most in a season in Ole Miss history.
“It doesn't surprise me," stated Freeze. "I can't say I always expected that he would reach it, until fall camp this year when I saw he had really bought in. I expected him to have a much better year. I don't think there's any accident that the little things around his life, around academics and off the field that it's a direct correlation to how he's playing. Those things all matter in a team and in an individual. He's always had the talent and the athletic ability. It's really not surprising that he's playing this well.”
Since 2008 LSU and Ole Miss have gone 3 and 3 against each other. Last season the Rebels beat the Tigers 27-24 in Oxford and the last time they squared-off in Baton Rouge LSU prevailed.
Freeze said, “I remember that game having a blast. That game will always stand out as one of the most enjoyable games I've coached in. Matt Luke was having fun, which is rare. We were super competitive and right there in it. Had it not been for a punt return, who knows what the outcome would have been? I had a blast. It was, at that point, a moral victory. We go down there in year one and compete. Obviously we did not pull it off, but we had a lot of fun that day.”
Ole Miss is one of four remaining undefeated teams Division I FBS teams along with Mississippi State (6-0),Florida State (7-0) and Marshall (7-0).
The combined record for the Rebels' four remaining FBS opponents is 18-7. The opponents include three ranked teams...No. 24 LSU, No.5 Auburn and No. 1 Mississippi State.