Dallas, TX - The Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi (9-4, 7-2) and the University of Washington Huskies (6-6, 4-5) get ready to face off in the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl. Southern Miss comes into this game with a high powered offense, averaging over 40 points and 513 yards of offense per game. The Huskies, on the other hand, are only allowing 17.8 points and 350 yards per game.
Where: Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
When: 2:25 p.m. EST/ 11:25 Pacific
TV Info: ESPN - With Mike Corey, Ahmad Brooks and
Kayce Smith providing the commentary
Radio Info: KOMO AM-1000/FM-97.7; Sirius (84) and XM (84)
Golden Eagle Season in Review
The Golden Eagles have played very consistently this season. In every one of their wins this season they scored a minimum of 32 points, and racked up a minimum of 480 yards of offense. In the 4 games they lost, Southern Miss never scored more than 28 points, and their defense was gashed for 462 yards on average. They were able to make it to the Conference USA championship game, where they lost to Western Kentucky 28-45.
Southern Miss Offense
2.96 Yards per rush in a loss
5.29 - Yards per rush
30 - Rushes of 20 yards or more
99.25 - Rushing yards per loss
191.92 - Rushing yards per game
268 - Rushes on first down (compared to 170 passes)
8.7 - Yards per pass attempt
12 - Interceptions (half of these came in their 4 losses)
38 - Passing touchdowns
53 - Passes of 25 yards or more
63.4 - Completion percentage
170 - Passes on first down (compared to 268 rushes)
327.9 - Passing yards per game
Southern Miss Defense
3.96 - Yards allowed per rush
4.38 - Yards allowed per rush on first down
140.8 - Rushing yards allowed per game
6.3 - Yards per pass attempt
13 - Interceptions
22 - Passing TD's allowed
31 - Sacks
91 - Tackles for Loss
223 - Passing yards allowed per game
230 - Number of times opposing teams rushed on first down (compared to 169 passes)
Questions Needing Answers
Can the offense keep its late season, efficient form? How many different receivers will record a catch? Will the O-line be able to protect Jake Browning? Will Miles Gaskin have another 100+ yard game? Can Jake keep his interceptions down? Will the receivers actually block this week?
Can the front seven keep the Southern Miss QB jittery the whole game? Will the secondary lock down the Golden Eagle receivers? Can we see some more turnovers please? Will the explosive plays be kept to a minimum?
How many stadiums get to host multiple bowl games? Whatever happened to the Seattle Bowl? Who would win in a fight between Justin Bieber and Harry Styles?
I can't help but feel hopeful about the outcome of this game. Sure, Southern Miss has won three more games than the Huskies have. But, every time the Golden Eagles have faced a team with a mediocre to good defense, like Mississippi State (57th), Marshall (47th), Nebraska (67th), and Western Kentucky (71st), they have been stymied. The exception to this was when they faced Louisiana Tech, which is ranked 51st in overall defense.
The Huskies are holding opponents to less than 20 points per game, and their strengths on defense line up with all of Southern Miss's strengths on offense. If the Huskies can continue their strong defense and consistent offense, they should be able to win by at least 2 scores.
Washington is currently an 8.5 point favorite to win this game, according to VegasInsider, with the line sitting at 52.5.