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franklin county times

Rebels focused on becoming bowl eligible

By By Joey Vaughn / special to The Star
Nov. 19, 2002
OXFORD Ole Miss has two chances left this year to become bowl-eligible for the fifth consecutive year, starting Saturday at No. 20 LSU.
In the middle of a four-game losing streak that's seen the Rebels fall from No. 21 in the country to 5-5, not much has gone Ole Miss' way in the last month.
But a win Saturday would go a long way toward resurrecting the season.
Ole Miss went to a bowl game four straight years from 1997-2000, but didn't get an invitation last year despite its 7-4 record. Because teams are allowed to play 12 games this year, the NCAA will allow 6-6 teams to play in bowl games. Thus, the Rebels need only split their final two games with LSU and Mississippi State to be eligible.
To get that sixth win out of the way this weekend will require a road victory over a Tiger team that sports the nations No. 4 defense. But Baton Rouge is a place where Ole Miss has had success before. The Rebels have won three straight on the road against LSU, including a 35-24 win last year.
LSU, despite its 31-0 beating at the hands of Alabama last Saturday, still controls its own destiny in the SEC West race. The Tigers need to beat Ole Miss and Arkansas to represent the West against Georgia in the title game in Atlanta. An LSU win coupled with losses by Arkansas and Auburn would also put the Tigers in the championship game.
Baton Rouge has long been considered one of the toughest places in the conference, if not the country, to play, especially at night. The Rebels and Tigers will kick off at 7:30 and espn2 will televise the game.
Ole Miss has had as much success at LSU as anywhere else in the SEC. The Tigers lead the series 33-24-1 in games played in Baton Rouge.
Ole Miss had last weekend off while LSU hosted Alabama. Cutcliffe was pleased to get some rest time for his beat-up team.
Wideout Bill Flowers, who has been playing limited minutes with a separated shoulder, is as healthy as he's been in weeks, Cutcliffe said, and linebacker Lanier Goethie, who broke his foot against Vanderbilt, is able to jog now. He's doubtful for this week, but the coaches are hoping he might be ready to play against Mississippi State.