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Tag:Southern Mississippi
Posted on: December 25, 2011 12:52 am
 

QUICK HITS: No. 22 Southern Miss 24, Nevada 17

Posted by Chip Patterson

SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI WON. After both teams got off to sluggish starts, Southern Mississippi was able to take advantage of a 4th down stop on defense to secure a 24-17 win in an unusually low-scoring Hawaii Bowl.

HOW SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI WON: After both teams entered the game with plans to crank up productive offenses, winning required big plays from defense and special teams on Saturday night. Southern Miss got a huge performance from defensive end Cordarro Law (seven tackles, two sacks) in the second half, and Austin Davis was able to deliver a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter to seal a program-best 12th win for the Golden Eagles.

WHEN SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI WON: With Davis held in check by Nevada's defense, the Golden Eagles did not benefit from the usual collection of big plays to fuel the offense. Luckily, the senior quarterback found Dominique Sulliivan for a 43 yard catch and run in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to set up the game-winning touchdown. Nevada was stout on D, but the Golden Eagles kept taking shots until they hit the home-run. In a closely played defensive showdown where punts nearly match first downs, just one big play is enough to change the course of the game.

WHAT SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI WON: A program-best 12th win for the Golden Eagles. Southern Miss is not a perennial favorite, but there have been enough talented rosters come through Hattiesburg for the history-making season to mean something for the 2011 squad. Clearly the team is in a strange position with Larry Fedora on his way to Chapel Hill, but at least he stuck around to enjoy this win with his players.

WHAT NEVADA LOST: Their fourth straight game in the state of Hawaii, increasing their postseason struggles to five losses in their last six bowl appearances. Chris Ault's squad could not get over themselves and the mistakes, especially down the stretch. The Wolf Pack have been to seven straight postseasons, but the record did not get any better with the loss on Christmas Eve in Honolulu.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Despite being two of the top offensive teams in the country, both teams struggled to turn their high-powered schemes into points after the long lay-off. Maybe it was the circumstances, but it seemed like both teams got off to sluggish starts offensively, and neither was able to deliver their normal production by 2011 standards.

FINAL GRADE: C. Blocked punts in the end zone, big-time rushing performances, a one-score game in the final minutes. There war definitely enough positive aspects in this year's Hawaii Bowl to give the game some watchability, but the sluggish starts and lack of explosive plays was far from what we expected with these two squads. All in all felt very "meh" as a whole.

Preview the next games on the bowl slate at the Bowl Schedule Pregame

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 4:47 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 4:50 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Independence Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

MISSOURI WILL WIN IF: They can limit turnovers on offense and prevent the big play on defense. Sophomore quarterback James Franklin's performance in the regular season finale against Kansas showed both the best and worst of Missouri's offense sans Henry Josey (knee). The worst came early in the game, with Franklin tossing three interceptions in the first 18 minutes of play and the Tigers' offense only producing one scoring drive - which resulted in a field goal. The best came in the second half, with Franklin wearing down the Kansas defense and taking advantage of their weaknesses by creating big plays on the way to a 24-10 win.

North Carolina is much stronger than Kansas, and three first half interceptions may not be something the Tigers can expect to bounce back from in the Independence Bowl. As long as Franklin is smart with the ball and avoids turnovers, he can keep taking his shots through the air and on the ground until he eventually hits the big play. Defensively the Tigers are much better than their numbers suggest, especially when you consider the competition. Still, even the best defense can be broken down by someone like North Carolina wide receivers Dwight Jones, Erik Highsmith, or Jheranie Boyd. Running back Gio Bernard will likely see a heavy load on the ground as well, and the Tigers must keep the shifty freshman from breaking outside and hitting the sidelines.

NORTH CAROLINA WILL WIN IF: The front seven can contain and pressure Missouri quarterback James Franklin. Ever since Henry Josey's season-ending knee injury, much of Missouri's offense has been based around Franklin creating plays. Luckily for the Tigers the sophomore signal caller not only can extend the play with his legs, but take off and make defenders miss in the open field. In the first game without Josey - the Big 12's leading rusher at the time of his injury - Franklin rushed for a career high 152 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries while still adding 172 yards and two touchdowns through the air. North Carolina's front seven is filled with NFL-caliber talent. However, there have been several games this season where it seems the defensive line and linebackers have not lived up to that NFL-caliber hype. With the nationally televised bowl game, it would be in the best interest of these pro prospects to delver their best performance of the season in this game. If Quinton Coples, Tydreke Powell, Zach Brown, and the rest of the front seven are able to contain and frustrate James Franklin, they will benefit their own draft stock and give the Tar Heels a much better chance to win their second-straight bowl game. A win-win scenario for the NFL-hopefuls.

X-FACTOR: Who Wants It More? Missouri certainly enters the game with a momentum advantage, winning four of their final five games while North Carolina lost four of their last six. Missouri picked up the invite after being over by the bowls with a Big 12 tie-in, not a surprise considering the Tigers' upcoming departure for the SEC. It will be the last game for interim head coach Everett Withers, who has already confirmed he's not staying with the Tar Heels "in any capacity" under new head coach Larry Fedora. So with Missouri in between conferences and North Carolina in between coaches, the team that can find the motivation for the moment will have an advantage on Dec. 26 in Shreveport.

That kind of advantage will likely be necessary in a bowl game that has been decided by seven points or less five of the last six years, with Georgia's 44-20 win against Texas A&M in 2009 being the only exception. Regardless of the expectations heading into the game, that matchup has always been close in recent years. Maybe it is the mystic atmosphere of Shreveport, or Independence Stadium - where the game has been played every year since the bowl's creation in 1976 - but advantages in X's and O's seem to matter much less in this game. For either team to get win No. 8 in 2011, they will need an extra dose of "Want" on Dec. 26.

Check out all the latest updates on Missouri and North Carolina right up until kickoff at the Independence Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: November 29, 2011 4:18 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Houston vs Southern Mississippi

Posted by Chip Patterson

HOUSTON WILL WIN IF: Case Keenum is healthy and the Cougars limit turnovers. If Houston is healthy and takes care of the ball they will win the Conference USA title and likely earn a BCS bowl berth. The Cougars' focus was never more apparent than in the 48-16 win against Tulsa in the regular season finale. The Golden Hurricanes were arguably the greatest test on Houston's schedule, and they played the undefeated Cougars to a 13-10 halftime score. But Tulsa's inability to score touchdowns in the third quarter resulted in their downfall once Houston finally broke out and ran away with the gave (and division) in the fourth quarter.

SOUTHERN MISS WILL WIN IF: They score touchdowns, fast and often. The Golden Eagles cannot settle for field goals on any scoring opportunities against Houston, because Case Keenum will find the end zone eventually. Quarterback Austin Davis and running back Jamal Woodyard have led a prolific offense themselves, but it will require a fast start at full steam to beat the Cougars. No one has held Houston under 35 points all season, and Southern Miss has not displayed the type of dominance on defense that suggests they will be the first. Since Keenum is so good at spreading the ball around and reading the defense, the Golden Eagles will need a surprise showing from their pass rush to keep the star quarterback uncomfortable. Hope for a slow start and score quickly, because once the Houston offense gets rolling your only hope is time expiring.

X-FACTOR: Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin and Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora have been listed as top names for basically every several recently vacated FBS coaching positions. Both coaches insist they are focused on the game ahead, but the discussions regarding the future of both coaches could be a distraction for the staff and players.  The ability to block the outside noise from the locker room will be key in the preparation for Saturday's game.

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Posted on: November 25, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2011 3:48 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Houston 48, Tulsa 16

Posted by Bryan Fischer

HOUSTON WON. The Cougars came into the game with their highest ranking in over two decades and lived up to their billing by pulling away in the second half with their trademark passing attack and even a little bit of defense. This was supposed to be Houston's toughest test - Tulsa was undefeated in Conference USA coming in and they had to go on the road - but they passed with flying colors thanks to Case Keenum's arm.

WHY HOUSTON WON. The defense slowed down a normally explosive Golden Hurricanes attack just when it looked like they had a chance to make the game interesting. They drove into the red zone right before half and could have taken the lead but the defense stiffened and recovered a Bryan Burnham fumble. After putting up just 13 points in the first half, Keenum got rolling in the 3rd quarter and finished 32-for-45, 449 yards and five touchdowns. Patrick Edwards was also impressive, ending the day with eight catches for 181 yards and four touchdowns.

WHEN HOUSTON WON. Tulsa's first drive of the second half ended in a three and out and Houston promptly drove down the field. They stalled at the Hurricanes' 33 yard line but opted to go for it on 4th-and-10. Keenum threw a 33 yard touchdown pass to Edwards to push the lead to 20-10. After the defense allowed a pair of field goals, the offense scored touchdowns on the first two possessions of the 4th quarter to put the game away.

WHAT HOUSTON WON. A Conference USA West division title, hosting duties for the Conference USA title game and a BCS berth. This team is off to the best start in school history and, if they can beat Southern Mississippi, are likely headed to the Sugar Bowl.

WHAT TULSA LOST: It was a rough day for the Golden Hurricanes as they lost their only conference game of the season to fall to 8-4 overall. They lost out on the West title but still should end up in solid bowl game after an impressive season that saw all four of their losses come to teams with a combined record of 39-4.


Posted on: December 22, 2010 12:51 am
Edited on: December 22, 2010 12:57 am
 

Bowl Grades: Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

Louisville storms back from a two touchdown deficit to defeat Southern Mississippi 31-28

LOUISVILLE

Offense: When Louisville came out throwing the ball, I must say I did not have high hopes for their prospects of winning.  After all, running back Bilal Powell is one of the best rushers in the nation behind a veteran offensive line.  But Southern Miss forced Justin Burke to keep the offense balanced for most of the game.  When Louisville's offense needed to step up and eat some clock in the fourth quarter, they kept converting to keep drives alive.  Eating up more than ten minutes of the clock in the final period, the rushing game finally sealed the deal for the Cardinals.  GRADE: B+

Defense: Going to group special teams in with defense, in which case we have to discuss the moment the game changed.  After a completely scoreless third quarter, Southern Miss scored on the first play of the fourth quarter to take a 28-27 lead with no signs of Louisville really threatening to score since the first half.  Freshman running back Jeremy Wright took the kickoff 95 yards the other way for an immediate answer that let the air out of Southern Mississippi's momentum.  The Golden Eagles didn't really bounce back from that one, so the defense benefited?  GRADE: B 

Coaching: This has been a great week for first-year coach Charlie Strong.  First he snags former Miami quarterback commit Teddy Bridgewater from the Hurricanes, adding the top-ranked dual threat quarterback to Louisville's 2011 recruiting class.  After putting in some work on the future, Strong was able to get Louisville a win in their first bowl appearance since 2006.  I have a feeling the Cardinals fans are pretty happy with their new head coach right now. GRADE: A-

SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI

Offense: The Golden Eagles hit the ground running in the first quarter, with two fast scoring strikes that shellshocked the Louisville defense.  With how fast they started, the final takeaway for Southern Miss has to be a little sour on the offensive end.  In particular, two fourth quarter drives of 17 and -7 yards that both ended in punts.  If one of the highest scoring offenses can turn one of those drives into points we may be having a difference conversation.  GRADE: C  

Defense: While Southern Mississippi's ability to score quick provides an adavantage in close games, it was their defense's inability to stop Louisville from driving that ended up being their demise.  Louisville chewed up 10:52 across two drives in the fourth quarter.  Those drives only produced three points, but the time they chewed up left Southern Mississippi with only real opportunity to put together a game-winning drive.  They did not give up 40+ points or any absurd statistics, but as projected, Southern Mississippi's loss falls on the shoulders of the defense.  GRADE: D

Coaching: Head coach Larry Fedora game in with just the right gameplan: they wanted to take some chances early, keep the speed up on offense, and hit them in the face early on defense.  The only problem was being able to keep it up for 60 minutes.  Hard to put the kickoff return on the coaches, but after Wright's return in the fourth quarter the Golden Eagles never really bounced back.  GRADE: B

FINAL GRADE 
Considering the three blow outs served up in the first weekend of bowl games, the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl was a friendly change of pace.  There were big plays, a two-score comeback, and the game came down to the last minutes.  Can't ask for much more than that.  Highlighted by this incredible reverse-WR pass to quarterback Austin Davis (WHICH HE GRABS WITH ONE HAND) I must say it was a pretty good game for a pre-Christmas bowl. GRADE: B+

Posted on: December 20, 2010 6:47 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2010 10:27 am
 

CBS Bowl Bonanza: Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

Why to watch: These teams have already started to tussle, with Southern Miss getting disrespected by their former conference rivals , and there has already been promise of payback on the field. Additionally, the game pits former colleagues against each other. Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora and Louisville's Charlie Strong served on the Florida coaching staff together from 2002-2004. The Golden Eagles are entering their ninth straight postseason appearance, while Strong has succeeded in getting Louisville back into the bowl schedule for the first time since 2006. Both teams have a lot of pride on the line, and with these early bowls "showing up" sometimes is more than half the battle. I expect both teams to show up ready to play on Tuesday.

Keys to victory for Louisville: Louisville's best performances all season involved a heavy dose of the running game. Mostly that will be anchored by running back Bilal Powell (120.9 yards per game), but even when Powell was banged up reserves Jeremy Wright and Victor Anderson carried the ball well behind the Cardinals offensive line.

Running the ball will be key to keeping the high-scoring Southern Miss offense off the field, as well as setting up the play-action down the field. It would not be surprising to see both Adam Froman and Justin Burke at quarterback for Louisville, and both of them should have no trouble finding an opportunity to take advantage of a Southern Miss secondary that gave up an average of 248.8 yards per game through the air in 2010.

Keys to victory for Southern Miss: West Virginia was one of the few teams to really shut down Louisville's rushing attack, holding Powell to zero yards in one half of play and getting the Cardinals' leading rusher sent to the bench at the break. The Golden Eagles are no West Virginia, but they can try to do just enough to create drive-ending stops. If they can keep the Cardinals from getting in the end zone, Austin Davis and the offense should be able to do work on Louisville's defense. Strong has improved the Cardinals defense, but they were inconsistent across 2010.

Davis was very consistent under center for Southern Miss, throwing for 2989 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season. He has plenty of weapons, and the offense scheme stretches the defense to leave seams open for the running game. If Davis can get comfortable and hit a rhythm, and the aforementioned Golden Eagles secondary can keep from giving up the big play, Southern Miss could answer Louisville's pre-game taunts with a bowl victory.

The Beef 'O' Bradys St. Petersburg Bowl is like: Hot Tub Time Machine - I mean, it is kind of absurd. A collegiate bowl game named after Beef 'O' Brady's. No respectable game should have that many apostrophes in the official title. But similar to Hot Tub Time Machine , there is some promise to the game. It may come in the form of cheap thrills (fights, wacky turnovers, etc.), but there is enough on the line for both teams to know that they will at least be fired up to play. It will likely not be the game we remember the most come January (or Wednesday), but there is enough intrigue to sit down and check it out.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com