C-USA: La Tech-Southern Miss
Time: 3:30 PM ET
Spread: LAT -9.5
M/L: LA -350; SM +290
Betting odds courtesy of Bookmaker
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles are 3-4 on the season but just 1-2 in C-USA play. College odds predict that the Eagles will fall again, setting the line 9.5 points in favor of visiting Louisiana Tech. La Tech is 4-3 on the season but a perfect 3-0 in C-USA play, good for 4th in the West division.
One reason for Southern Miss’ troubles has been poor rushing an even less effective defense. The Eagles have dropped two of its last three games, losing 41-23 against Rice, 37-31 against Middle Tennessee and a 30-20 victory over North Texas to snap the two game losing streak. Defensively, the Golden Eagles are allowing 34.1 points per game while scoring just 20.4 points.
A lot of the disparity is due to a blowout loss to powerhouse Alabama, which saw the Eagles lose 52-12. The Eagles won’t face another ranked team until Nov. 8 when it faces Marshall.
QB Nick Mullens has been fair. He’s thrown for 1,909 yards on the season but is averaging just 6.7 yards per reception and has thrown eight INTs to just 10 TDs. Still, Mullens posts a 121.5 QB rating and has rushed for 74 yards on the season (though for just 1.9 yards per carry). Its just that the backfield isn’t doing much to help the cause.
The top two backs for the Eagles both average under four yards per game, though George Payne has accounted for all five Eagles’ rushing TDs. Tez Parks leads the team in yards per carry, but he’s only rushed 21 times this season. Perhaps that should change.
Louisiana Tech has been solid, but not spectacular. The offense is in the bottom half of D-1 schools, averaging 226 yards via the pass and 143.6 on the rush. It results in 33.1 points per game, while the defense allows 26.7. The Bulldogs have had something of a tough schedule, already having faced then- No. 4 Oklahoma and losing 48-16 on Sept. 6 and a 45-17 loss to then- No. 5 Auburn. Against the rest of its schedule it has gone 4-1, including a two game win streak heading into this contest with a blowout win of UTEP and a seven-point victory over UTSA.
QB Cody Sokol has thrown for 1,555 yards on the season with a 57 percent completion ratio, and he’s thrown 14 TDs to just 8 INTs. Sokol has also rushed for 47 yards, but to a tune of just 1.7 yards per carry, though he has scored a TD.
RB Kenneth Dixon has led the way in the backfield, with 640 yards, including a 99 yard TD trek. He’s rushed for nine TDs which is 75 percent of the teams rushing TDs.