Taking a break from facing SEC foes, LSU pulled away from an overmatched opponent for an easy victory last weekend.
It returns to conference play Saturday night, but its competition doesn't figure to be any tougher.
The top-ranked Tigers look to keep their perfect season intact and take a step closer to clinching the SEC West when they visit Mississippi, which is trying to avoid losing a 13th consecutive league game while playing without its starting quarterback and top rusher.
One week after a physical and emotional 9-6 overtime win over then-No. 2 Alabama put LSU (10-0, 6-0) in control of its own fate for a berth in the BCS national championship game, Les Miles' team seemed to catch a break with the schedule.
The Tigers hosted Western Kentucky last Saturday, and although they came out a bit flat early, they regained their swagger in the second half and pulled away for a 42-9 victory.
Players admitted there was a bit of an emotional letdown following the contest against the Crimson Tide, which was billed as the Game of the Century.
"Physically, we were kind of beat up after Alabama," safety Brandon Taylor said. "It just caught up with us."
The challenge now for LSU, which is undefeated through 10 games for the first time since the 1958 national championship team went 11-0, is to avoid looking past Ole Miss (2-8, 0-6) for next week's regular-season finale at No. 6 Arkansas. The Razorbacks are one game back of the Tigers in the division, while Alabama is one-half behind.
The Rebels are sitting at the bottom of the West, one of many glaring problems for the program.
Mississippi, which has already announced that coach Houston Nutt won't return next season, has lost 12 straight conference games for the first time in its 79-year history in the SEC. It didn't extend that streak last week, as it hosted Louisiana Tech of the Western Athletic Conference, but instead suffered a far more embarrassing fate, losing 27-7.
"It's difficult," Nutt said. "When things go wrong, they snowball. That's where we are."
Although the Rebels, losers of five in a row, are having a down year, LSU likely won't be looking past them considering the recent history in the series.
As the nation's fifth-ranked team in last season's meeting, the Tigers needed a seven-yard touchdown run by Stevan Ridley with 44 seconds remaining to escape with a 43-36 victory. In the previous two matchups, unranked Mississippi teams upset ranked LSU squads.
"We are still playing in the SEC, and in the SEC anything goes. Any team can come in and beat you," Taylor said. "We have to keep pressing toward our goal, stay focused and take it one game at a time."
Miles might decide to go with Jordan Jefferson again as his starting quarterback after the senior made his first start of the season last weekend.
Jefferson had split time with Jarrett Lee since his return from a four-game suspension he received after being arrested in an August bar fight. Jefferson, who entered with only 20 attempts, went 8 of 14 for 168 yards with a touchdown. Lee came on in the fourth quarter and threw a TD pass on his first drive.
"I liked how both quarterbacks played," Miles said. "Jarrett Lee came in and took us right down the field and did the things that we asked him to do, so I'm not certain he might not start some other games."
In general, the quarterback isn't asked to do much throwing in LSU's offense.
The Tigers racked up a season-best 291 rushing yards last weekend -- led by Alfred Blue's 119 on nine carries -- and are second in the SEC with 195.1 yards on the ground per game.
Mississippi's offense has not been as efficient, and that doesn't bode well as it prepares to face LSU's stingy defense.
The Rebels are 113th in the FBS in total offense with 296.8 yards per game and tied for 109th with an average of 18.7 points. The Tigers are second in both total defense (253.2) and scoring defense (10.7).
Randall Mackey completed just 6 of 18 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown against Louisiana Tech, while backup Zack Stoudt was 8 of 19 for 73 yards and an interception.
Mackey and running back Jeff Scott were suspended for this game by Nutt on Tuesday for violating team rules.
Mackey has started the past six games and thrown for 1,112 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions this season. Scott has rushed for 529 yards and six TDs.
Although the Rebels have a lame duck coach, no hope of landing in a bowl game and are dealing with the suspensions, senior running back Brandon Bolden doesn't believe the team has given up.
"We don't know the word quit," said Bolden, who has 389 rushing yards. "Everybody's out there fighting. Everybody."
Top 25 Overview
LSU nears the finish line of its run to the SEC title game by heading off to face a reeling Ole Miss team coming off a homecoming loss to Louisiana Tech. This is Houston Nutt's final home game as Ole Miss' coach, but this might be an ugly last Saturday in Oxford for Nutt.