After a ‘too close for comfort’ 31-21 win last week against Samford, the Razorbacks turn their attention the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (0-2). The 11:21 Fayetteville kickoff will be televised by the SEC Network.
We guess no one got Samford the message that they were supposed to just roll over last Saturday in Little Rock. The Bulldogs led 21-17 midway through the third quarter before the Hogs offensive line and Alex Collins (24-172 RuYds, TD) restored order.
Penalties and turnovers by the Razorbacks gave Samford a short field to work with all night long, allowing them to hang around and claw their way back into the game. Despite giving up just 231 total yards, the Razorback defense played very loose in coverage until Samford took the lead.
“I think we outlined several things to show them how to lose a football game. There’s a lot of teams that would’ve lost that game right there. Give them [the players] credit, they took over in the fourth quarter when it mattered.” - Bret Bielema
So, now at 2-0, the Hogs turn their attention to Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles come in this week with the longest current losing streak in the FBS division at 14 games. That includes a 0-12 record in 2012, and losses to Texas State and Nebraska in 2013 thus far.
USM is coached by first year head coach Todd Monken (0-2) who was Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator the last two years. He has implemented a fast, up-tempo, spread attack offensively, but his inherited talent doesn’t quite fit that mold yet. It will take time.
Senior quarterback Allan Bridgford (599 PaYds, 2TDs, 5Ints in 2013) leads the Southern Miss offense, and so far they have struggled, scoring only two touchdowns in two games. Bridgford threw four interceptions in the Nebraska game, with two of them being returned for touchdowns.
Running back Kendrick Hardy, who rushed for over 1,300 yards two years ago returns, and is a good back, but Monken has not showed a willingness to run the football yet. USM has only 85 rushing yards in 2013.
On the other side of the ball, USM is multiple, but runs a 4-2-5 base defense most of the time. Pre-season All-CUSA defensive tackle Khyri Thornton (6-3, 308) has 23.5 TFL in last two years, and is their best defender. Nebraska torched them last week for 285 rushing yards on just 46 attempts. Look for the Hogs to try to do the same.
If the Hogs are going to keep their winning streak alive and USM’s losing streak intact, they have got to correct the ball security issues that we saw last week. Southern Miss has showed the propensity to turn the ball over so far, so this might be a good opportunity for the Hogs to secure some takeaways and get back on the right side of the season turnover margin (-1 currently).
Extended forecasts call for sunny skies Saturday and cooler game time temperatures in the low 80s. The Hogs are favored by 22.