The LSU-Ole Miss game is often a close one, regardless of circumstance.
The Rebels have won two of the last three in the series - with both wins coming when things were going better for Ole Miss.
Last year, when things were not going so good, the Rebels put a scare into No. 5 LSU in Baton Rouge before losing 43-36. The Tigers scored the go-ahead touchdown with 44 seconds left.
LSU will arrive at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday night with a No. 1 ranking - just as it did in 2007, the last time Ole Miss followed the season with a change of coaches.
"Everybody seems to show up for the LSU game. We always play LSU hard, real tough," said senior running back Brandon Bolden, a Baton Rouge native. "We gave them a run for their money last year. We almost had that game won, but we ended up losing at the end."
The dismissal of head coach Houston Nutt was announced last Monday, days after a 30-13 loss at Kentucky, the Rebels' 12th straight within the SEC.
Saturday, the Rebels were beaten 27-7 at home by Louisiana Tech.
"No disrespect, Louisiana Tech is very good this year, but you've got to be able to win that game," Nutt said.
Ole Miss is 3-8 against LSU since the 2000 season. Two of the wins have come under Nutt. Only one of the losses was completely one-sided, that being a 40-7 win in Oxford by No. 4 LSU in 2005, the first season with Ed Orgeron as the Rebels coach.
The next season, unranked Ole Miss lost 23-20 in overtime at No. 9 LSU.
Bolden said Ole Miss fans should not worry that the Rebels won't put forth the effort against LSU.
"This team is full of fighters. They don't know the word quit. Everybody is going out there fighting with all they can - everybody," he said.