Les Miles’ LSU teams have hit offensive droughts at various points in his time in Baton Rouge. Despite not leaving Death Valley this Saturday, the Tigers are about to wander into the Sahara Desert of college football.

Coming off two straight wins, in which the team averaged 35.5 points per game, LSU is set to tangle with the most formidable defense in the country. No. 3 Mississippi invades Tiger Stadium on Saturday, bringing along a defense that devours opposing offenses as a bedtime snack.

Ole Miss sit at or near the top of the national ranks in most major defensive categories: first in points allowed (10.6 per game), eighth in total defense (290.6 yards per game), third in total turnovers forced (20). Any game against the Rebels is a brutal 60 minutes.

With Anthony Jennings running the show, the Tigers haven’t gotten much consistent offense, ranking 10th in the SEC in total offense and seventh in scoring offense. They’ve had trouble through the air, ranking dead last in completions and 11th in yards per game.

The offensive line is gelling, allowing LSU to run for more than 500 yards combined over the last two weeks. It’s encouraging that the team is finally able to utilize what was supposed to be a strength from the start of the season, even if it took nearly half of the season for it to come together.

The line is going to be the most crucial element of LSU’s offense if they hope to score against Ole Miss. Put simply: if blockers don’t stay on their man against the Rebels, the ball carrier is dead meat. Defensive linemen Robert Nkemdiche and Marquis Haynes are both destructive when it comes to ruining pockets and blowing up running plays before they even get going, and Ole Miss’s 4-2-5 defensive setup allows them to swarm to the ball like bees. Ole Miss might be a little vulnerable against power running attacks, but there’s not a lot of evidence to go on either way.

Passes to running backs have been a weapon for the Tigers in the last two weeks, with Terrence Magee making a few huge plays after catching passes against Kentucky standing out, but that may not work against the Rebels. Ole Miss’ defensive backs are all physical defenders, and they’ll be more than capable of shedding blocks on the outside to blow up those screen plays. Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural, both on the slighter side, will have to be prepared to really battle out there in run blocking against Senquez Golson, Mike Hilton and the lot.

LSU’s defense and special teams are going to need to be opportunistic against Ole Miss, as they were last week against Kentucky. The Rebels have shown no signs of weakness in the return or kicking game, but LSU has 12 special teams TDs since the start of 2012.

While Bo Wallace has been mistake-free in SEC play so far, with zero interceptions in three games against conference foes, this is the kind of game where he’d run into issues in previous seasons. LSU has the pass rush, the talented secondary and the raucous crowd (assuming it shows up) to rattle the senior. If the Tigers can force a few turnovers and make something of them, as well as win the field position battle, they could eke out points.

Special teams and defensive scores aren’t a sustainable method of offense, obviously, but putting points on the board against the Rebels is just as difficult as find an oasis in the desert.