2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 6 - Southern Miss at Navy
Conference USA Fearless Predictions &
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Southern Miss 63 … at Navy 35
CFN Analysis: That’s a good Navy team that just got its doors blown off. Austin Davis was as close to perfect as possible completing 21-of-23 passes for 283 yards and three scores, while the running game did its part with Jeremy Hester and Tracy Lampley providing a nice 1-2 punch when Davis, who ran for 75 yards and a score, wasn’t taking off. The ten penalties were too many and the run defense gave up 421 yards and three scores, but Davis was playing at another level. Jumping back into Conference USA play in two weeks against SMU, the Eagles are playing like an ultra-confident team. It can’t afford to lose its edge during the layoff.
That’s three straight losses, and with an aggressive Rutgers team up next – with one of the most productive defensive lines in the nation – the offense has to be ready to do even more than it could against the Golden Eagles. That’s asking a lot considering the ground game ripped off 421 yards and three scores, led by 123 from QB Kriss Proctor, but the defense isn’t coming up with stops. Southern Miss did whatever it wanted to with Austin Davis completing 21-of-23 passes and cranking out 584 yards of total offense. The ground game leads the nation, and there haven’t been a slew of mistakes, but a three-game losing streak hurts with four road games in the next six. For next week, Navy is last in the nation in tackles for loss and Rutgers is fifth.
(AP) ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Halfway to their first 10-win season in 23 years, Southern Miss made Navy pay for its early inability to score, then poured it on for its fourth straight victory.
With a bye week ahead before a stretch of six Conference USA games, the Golden Eagles will have plenty of time to savor a most satisfying triumph.
Austin Davis passed for 283 yards and three touchdowns, and Southern Miss beat Navy 63-35 on Saturday.
"Since I've been there, I think this is as good as we've executed from the start to the finish," said Davis, who engineered nine touchdown drives in 13 attempts. "I thought we didn't let up in the second half. We played just as well in the second half as we did in the first."
Jeremy Hester rushed for 118 yards and a score and Tracy Lampley ran for two touchdowns for the Golden Eagles (5-1). Davis completed 21 of 23 passes and added 75 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
Though Southern Miss couldn't completely corral Navy's vaunted running attack, the Golden Eagles didn't let the Midshipmen grind out so much yardage that they were playing from behind early on.
"I knew they could score," Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora said. "But I thought we could make them snap it and score and eat some clock. They were getting too many big plays and when they are doing that offensively, you have to answer."
Navy (2-3) rallied for 28-second half points but lost a third consecutive game for the first time in four seasons under coach Ken Niumatalolo, surrendering a season high in points.
"It's been a long time since we got our butts whipped like that," Niumatalolo said. "And that starts with me. It was a thorough beating."
The Midshipmen played without fullback Alexander Teich, their leading rusher, who was held out for disciplinary reasons.
"Any time you lose one of your star players, it affects the team," Navy quarterback Kriss Proctor said. "But this was a team loss, not a one-player loss."
Navy's Delvin Diggs ran for two touchdowns, and Proctor added 123 rushing yards.
It was the most points allowed by Navy since a 65-19 home loss to N.C. State on Sept. 7, 2002. Southern Miss, meanwhile, topped 50 points for the second time in four games and is averaging 48 points a game during their winning streak.
The Midshipmen amassed 416 rushing yards, but paid for squandering early scoring opportunities.
Navy drove to the Golden Eagles' 7-yard line on the game's opening drive, but Southern Mississippi's Khyri Thornton blocked Jon Teague's 29-yard field goal try and Marquese Wheaton scooped up the loose ball, returning it 79 yards for a touchdown.
The Midshipmen moved to the Southern Miss 1 on the ensuing drive, but failed on three tries to punch the ball across for a score. Tim Green stuffed Proctor's fourth-down keeper attempt.
"That was basically just a bend-but-don't-break attitude that we had given up some big plays on those first two drives," Southern Miss linebacker Ronnie Thornton said. "We decided to buckle down there in the deep end."
The Southern Miss offense didn't touch the ball until 3:59 remained in the opening quarter, and Davis directed a 99-yard scoring drive capped by Hester's 3-yard scamper up the middle for a 14-0 lead.
Lampley's 4-yard scoring run put the Golden Eagles up 21-0 with 11:18 remaining in the first half.
Davis found Ryan Hanks uncovered in the end zone for a 5-yard scoring pass and a 28-8 lead 7:32 before halftime.
Navy responded with a six-play, 70-yard drive culminating in John Howell's 1-yard right-side run. But Southern Miss took a 35-7 lead on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Davis to Ryan Balentine.
Davis finished the first half 13 for 14 for 191 yards.
Proctor needed only 57 seconds to move Navy 74 yards early in the second half, leading Brandon Turner over the middle for a 43-yard touchdown pass to trim the deficit to 35-14.
But Davis threw his third scoring pass of the afternoon, a 10-yard strike to Kelvin Bolden in the back of the end zone, for a 42-14 Southern Miss lead.
Diggs scored on a 1-yard run, but Southern Miss used a trick play -- an 18-yard pass from Quentin Pierce to Collin Jarbo -- to increase its lead to 49-21. Proctor then threw a 27-yard TD to Gee Gee Green with 40 seconds left in the third quarter.
Lampley's second touchdown run made it 56-28 early in the final quarter. Diggs then scored from 7 yards out for Navy.
Davis' 1-yard run with 5:18 left concluded the scoring.
Southern Miss (4-1) at Navy (2-2) Oct. 8, 3:30, CBS Sports Network
Here’s The Deal … Southern Miss and Navy hook up for the first time, providing the Golden Eagles with a unique and educational trip to Annapolis. Although the team would like to soak in as much of the local flavor as possible, its only objective will be to get out of town with a fourth win-in-a-row. USM has been on an impressive run since losing to Marshall in Week 2, upsetting Virginia in Charlottesville and hammering Rice a week ago.
Although the upcoming game will have no bearing on the Conference USA race, the Eagles are determined to be primed for the resumption of league play a week from now. The Midshipmen are hoping to rebound from consecutive losses that both tested their mettle and shed light on their potential. After dispatching of Delaware and Western Kentucky, Navy squandered a fourth quarter lead at South Carolina before dropping a heartbreaker to rival Air Force, 35-34, in overtime. It’s crossroads time for a program angling for a ninth straight bowl game.
Why Southern Miss Might Win: During their three-game winning streak, the Golden Eagles have been crisp on both sides of the ball. The nation’s 28th-ranked offense sports balance, ranking in the top half of Conference USA in rushing and passing. Southern Miss will be able to exploit an average Navy D with either the precision passing of Austin Davis or the running of Kendrick Hardy, who’s gone for more than 150 yards in two of the last three games. The USM defense is also performing well, ranking no lower than 12th in the country in run defense, pass efficiency defense or tackles for loss. Its 2.3 yards per carry yielded will be a particular concern for the run-oriented Midshipmen.
Why Navy Might Win: Yeah, the Golden Eagles have been stout against the run, but they haven’t seen anything that resembles the Mids’ triple-option. One week is just not enough time to prepare for this system, especially since life without injured star LB Korey Williams began a week ago. In typical Navy fashion, the offense is churning out 352 yards a game on the ground, garnering most of its production from bulldozing FB Alexander Teich and elusive QB Kriss Proctor. The attack is relentless, controlling the clock and wearing down even quality defenses, such as the one from South Carolina it bludgeoned back in September.
What To Watch Out For: Will Southern Miss have a healthy back when it arrives in Annapolis for the weekend? Hardy’s arm was in a sling this week, putting his status for the game in question. Backup Jamal Woodyard appeared to aggravate an ankle injury in last Saturday’s Rice game. And Desmond Johnson remains sidelined with a knee problem. To be safe, DB Reggie Hunter worked out with the backs this week, and WR Tracy Lampley can expect an increased workload after carrying the ball nine times for 70 yards a week ago.
What Will Happen: Southern Miss is playing well, and will have a shot to win Conference USA, but Navy is a unique animal that’s very difficult to corral. Both offenses will have success, the Midshipmen on the ground, and the Golden Eagles through the air. The uncertainty in the running game, though, is going to limit the visitor’s full potential to put up points. Teich and Proctor, who’ll redeem himself for a costly penalty in the Air Force loss, will fuel a tough, hard-fought victory to pop back over the .500 mark.
CFN Prediction: Navy 30 … Southern Miss 27
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Navy -2.5 O/U: 58
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