Southern Miss vs. Louisiana Tech prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Golden Eagles and Bulldogs on Friday in Hattiesburg, MS.
Southern Miss vs. Louisiana Tech Game Preview
When: Friday, Nov. 25 – 4:00 p.m. ET
Where: M. M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS
TV Broadcast: ESPNews
The Golden Eagles (5-6, 3-4 Conference USA) were unable to become eligible for a bowl last week, as Jay Hopson’s squad dropped a 29-23 decision at North Texas. Ito Smith ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns for the Golden Eagles, but quarterback Keon Howard was contained. He completed just 10 of his 26 passes for 135 yards and three interceptions.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs (8-3, 6-1) had last week off but scored a 63-35 win at home against UTSA the previous week to claim their seventh-straight victory and complete their first unbeaten season at home since 2001.
In last year’s contest between these two teams in Ruston, Nick Mullens threw three touchdown passes and Smith ran for three scores in an easy 58-24 victory that clinched the Conference USA West division title for the Golden Eagles. Jeff Driskel was 27 of 44 through the air for 355 yards and three touchdowns, but he threw three interceptions for the Bulldogs in the loss.
What To Know About Southern Miss
One week after the Golden Eagles had trouble protecting the football against Old Dominion, giving away the football five times in a 51-35 loss, turnovers were a major issue once again in the setback last week in Denton. Southern Miss turned the ball over four more times, as Howard struggled in his second start. He is completing just 44 percent of his throws with one touchdown against four interceptions in place of the senior Mullens, who was not yet fully recovered from a concussion he suffered on Nov. 5 against Charlotte. The Golden Eagles gave up several big plays in the passing game in the first half as North Texas raced to a 20-0 second quarter lead. However, Southern Miss rallied for 23 unanswered points before being unable to complete the comeback. It was the second consecutive week that the Golden Eagles fell behind by at least 20 points. With Mullens possibly sitting out once again this week, can Howard play a cleaner game? He’ll be going up against a Bulldogs defense that is giving up 265.8 yards through the air per game.
What to Know About Louisiana Tech
The last time we saw Skip Holtz’s Bulldogs in action, Ryan Higgins passed for 293 yards and four touchdowns, while Carlos Henderson accounted for three scores in the easy win over the Roadrunners. Higgins has had a strong connection with Henderson and Trent Taylor all season long, which has helped the Bulldogs win seven in a row. Higgins has been a machine at quarterback, as he has four games of 400 yards passing or more, compiling 3,460 yards with a 34-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio on the season. There are certainly defensive deficiencies, but the Bulldogs make up for them on offense.
Offense: Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs are putting up 540.7 yards per game, while Southern Miss really misses the arm and leadership of Mullens.
Defense: Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles are only giving up 337.9 yards per contest.
Special Teams: Louisiana Tech. Jonathan Barnes is 16-of-20 on field goals and has a very strong leg.
Coaching: Louisiana Tech. Holtz is overseeing a very hot Bulldogs squad.
Intangibles: Louisiana Tech. The game is in Hattiesburg, but the absence of Mullens has really hampered this Golden Eagles team.
Matchup To Watch
Henderson vs. Southern Miss kick coverage team
In the Bulldogs’ last game, Henderson returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a score and Jarred Craft returned a fourth-quarter onside kick 45 yards for a touchdown. Offensively, Henderson can line up anywhere on the field, so he’s one of the more dangerous players in the Group of Five. As a returner, he is electric as well. Southern Miss can’t afford to give up any extra points because that Louisiana Tech offense is prolific.
Spread: No Spread (as of post)
Over/Under: No Line (as of post)
Southern Miss vs. Louisiana Tech Prediction
If Mullens is able to play, we have a chance to see a real shootout. If not, the Golden Eagles will have trouble keeping up with the Bulldogs because Howard has not protected the football well. Either way, Holtz’s team wins on the road and gets ready for the C-USA title game.
Southern Miss vs. Louisiana Tech Score Prediction: Louisiana Tech 41, Southern Miss 27