Nevada vs Southern Mississippi 2011 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Predictions: The University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles football team cost Conference USA multiple millions of dollars by knocking off then-No. 8 Houston in the league’s championship game Dec. 3. Had Houston won the championship, it was guaranteed a BCS bowl bid and all the benefits that go with it, around $17-million. The Golden Eagles dominated the Cougars all afternoon that day resulting in a 49-28 SU victory. USM has jumped to 21st in the BCS standings and will now play the Nevada Wolf Pack, who finished 2nd in the Western Athletic Conference behind Louisiana Tech. The game kicks off at 8 pm ET and will be televised on ESPN.
Online sports book TopBet.com lists the Golden Eagles 9-chalk ATS favorites over the Wolf Pack and are priced at -340 College Football Odds to win the game SU. Wolf Pack backers are getting +280 on the off shore money line while the game’s combined score total (over/under) is 63 1/2.
The Wolf Pack has the nation’s fifth-most potent offense, averaging 522.8 yards per game and also ranks eighth nationally in rushing offense at 251.8 yards per game. Rishard Matthews, the leading receiver in the WAC, is among the nation’s leaders in receiving (91 rec., 1,364 yds.) and has seven 100-yard receiving games.
The USM offense is led by senior QB Austin Davis, a four year starter who arrived as a walk-on. Davis won’t make folks at Southern Miss forget Brett Favre, but the four-year starter has managed to supplant the legendary quarterback in the program’s record books, including yardage (10,727), TD passes (81), completion percentage (61.6), and total offense (12,082). Davis, 6-2, 221-pounds, has thrown for 3,331 yards and 28 touchdowns this season with a pass efficiency rating of 142.44 in leading the Eagles to a 11-2 record.
Both teams have demonstrated the ability to move the football and score points but the Golden Eagles defense will be the game changer tonight. Remember, this is the defense that shut down the nations most prolific offense in Houston two weeks ago. Its true that coaching changes often affect a teams performance in a bowl but USM coach Larry Fedora, who’s taking over the North Carolina program is coaching the Golden Eagles in the bowl. I see Southern Miss winning big. My Pick – Golden Eagles cover -9.
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