It took a big hit by Peria Jerry to get Jordan Jefferson into the Ole Miss game last year. A big hit by an Alabama linebacker two weeks ago isn’t going to keep him out now.
Jefferson, LSU’s sophomore quarterback, has been described as full speed by his coaching staff after having to sit out last week’s game against Louisiana Tech.
The Tigers struggled with just 246 yards of offense in a 24-16 win.
Jarrett Lee went the distance for LSU, completing just 7-of-22 pass attempts. One of those was for a 38-yard touchdown.
Jerry knocked Lee out of last year’s game, a 31-13 Ole Miss win in Baton Rouge, and Jefferson, then a true freshman, took over, holding the job until suffering a sprained ankle in The Tigers’ 24-15 loss in Tuscaloosa, one that removed LSU from the SEC and national championship picture.
“Both their quarterbacks are very talented, and they run the same offense regardless of who’s in the game,” Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix said. “We’ve prepared as if Jefferson’s the guy, and if he’s not we’ll defend Lee.”
The Rebels have defended opposing quarterbacks quite well in their last two SEC home games, convincing wins against Arkansas and Tennessee.
Jefferson’s mobility, though, brings a dimension the Rebels had to concern themselves with less against the Razorbacks’ Ryan Mallett and the Vols’ Jonathan Crompton, both less likely to take off and run.
Ole Miss held Mallett to 254 yards passing, much of that on a tipped ball touchdown pass that covered almost 60 yards. He averages 288 yards a game.
Tennessee had 176 yards passing and just 275 yards of offense.
Jefferson, who was not made available to media this week, has been efficient for the Tigers with a 63.3 completion rate, 1,535 yards, 12 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
Forty-two of his 159 rushing yards came in the opener at Washington. The LSU offensive line is allowing 2.7 sacks a game, 11th in the SEC.
“I definitely think the coaches feel a little more comfortable when they go out there, and the play-calling is a little different when Jordan is out there,” LSU tailback Keiland Williams said. “He’s a guy that brings a lot of dimensions to the team. His athletic ability allows him to do that, so it’s definitely going to be a good thing.”
In his relief role against the Rebels last year, Jefferson completed 10-of-20 passes for 129 yards and one interception. He rushed 10 times for 23 yards.
“He’s fast, and he’s a pretty big guy,” Ole Miss defensive tackle Jerrell Powe said. “He came in and made some plays against us running the option. I’m glad they played him later in the game instead of earlier in the game.”
Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal