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CFN Analysis - USM Beats Nevada In Hawaii

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 25, 2011


CFN Instant Analysis on the Southern Miss win over Nevada in the Hawaii

CFN Analysis   

Southern Miss 24 ... Nevada 17
 
 

By Pete Fiutak

- Why are bowl games a total rip-off for the schools? No way, no how was the attendance 32,630. Take a guess who has to eat the cost of all the unsold tickets.

- Norm Chow, it’s your job now to make the bowl matter in Honolulu.

- It was a decent mid-level bowl game. It’s a shame the husbands at my holiday party were among the few who saw it.

- Nice going, Southern Miss. It would’ve been easy to pack in this game with head coach Larry Fedora off to North Carolina the second the game ended. It wasn’t the team’s best offensive performance, but it was good enough when it had to be.

- Nevada needed to blow USM away with the running game, but it didn’t happen. 191 to 171 wasn’t going to get it done, especially with Cody Fajardo struggling with his accuracy.

- Cordarro Law closed out his career with two of his best games. The Southern Miss defensive end was a playmaker against Houston in the Conference USA title win, and he destroyed the Nevada line with seven tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and a broken up pass.

- USM PK Danny Hrapmann isn’t going to get drafted, but he’ll be kicking in the NFL. Even though he missed two long shots against Nevada, and he missed against Houston, his leg is strong enough to be a good long range threat.

- The Wolf Pack ground game needs more weapons if Fajardo isn’t running well. Lampford Mark is done after closing out the year with six straight 100-yard games, and next year the ground game will be Fajardo or bust in the Pistol.

By Terry Johnson

- Larry Fedora did the right thing by coaching the Golden Eagles in the Hawaii Bowl. At every practice, coaches tell their players “Finish what you started!” It is nice to see a head coach practices what he preaches.

- Tough to say whether or not the USM fake punt was called from the sideline or something that just happened. However, bowl season will always produce some very bold calls, especially when the coach does not have anyone to answer to afterward.

- The game ball goes to the Southern Mississippi defensive line. Sure, they allowed a few big runs by Lampford Mark, but the Golden Eagle defensive line kept pressure on Nevada QB’s all night, producing three sacks and a number of hurries. In addition, they stopped Nevada in the backfield twice on fourth-and-1.

- The Eagles limited Nevada to only 315 yards. Only Boise State turned in a performance against the Wolf Pack this season.

- If the Southern Miss has a Top 25 defense with an offensive-minded head coach, what type of units will they field with Ellis Johnson taking the reins?

- Chris Ault made the wrong decision by benching Cory Fajardo in favor of Tyler Lantrip. I realize that he made this switch to take advantage of Lantrip’s passing skills. However, with the amount of pressure that the Golden Eagles generated, Lantrip never had the chance to throw the ball. And since he cannot run the ball as well as Fajardo, the Southern Miss front simply pinned their ears back, and rushed the passer.

- On the other hand, Chris Ault proved why he is in the Hall of Fame this season. After losing many key components of last season’s 12-1 team – including QB Colin Kaepernick – Nevada survived a brutal non-conference schedule, and was one quarter away from a second consecutive WAC title. It is hard to do that without excellent coaching.

By Phil Harrison Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN

- Congrats to Southern Miss for surpassing its most wins of all time--at eleven. Not even the incomparable Brett Favre could get the Eagles to these heights.

- Speaking of which, how about the career of senior Austin Davis. He has surpassed many of Favre’s marks, but don’t kid yourself--today’s game is totally different and more wide open than those days.

- Pet Peeve Alert: I have a real problem with guys that put a big hit on an opposing player, find out that they may be hurt, and then puff their chest out as though it’s a good thing. Okay, I get it--Nevada, you might have had a blind-sided, clean hit, but Jamal Woodyard is writhing in pain at what could be a career ending injury, and you don’t even check on him and instead waltz around like you just conquered the Roman Empire. Get over it and have some decency to care about your opponent.

- Do you think that Larry Fedora really knows what he is getting himself into at North Carolina? There's a chance that this thing--once the NCAA finishes kicking the tires around in Chapel Hill could be a lot worse than anyone realizes. It's a real chance that academic fraud could be in the offing, and if so, UNC is going to get hammered more than Ohio State, Miami, and anyone else out there not named Penn State. He may be a Tar Heel as of now, but you get the feeling he’s going to be feeling Carolina blue before it’s all said and done. Good luck Larry.

- Where was all of the offense everyone expected in this game? Southern Miss looked like the second coming of the 2007 New England Patriots against unbeaten Houston, but couldn’t muster the same Mo-jo against a Nevada defense that ranked in the middle of the pack in country. Then there’s Nevada who came in with the fifth ranked Offense and seemed to have left its game plan in the waves of Waikiki Beach.

- Rumor has it that Brett Favre was going to take in the bowl game of his alma mater but he pulled out at the last minute, then changed his mind and said he was coming--and then waffled again and stayed at home to shoot another Wrangler commercial.