Week 11 – Southern Miss at SMU

Posted Nov 9, 2012

Week 11 Fearless Prediction – Southern Miss at SMU

Southern Miss (0-9) at SMU (4-5) Nov. 10, 7:00, FSN

Here's The Deal: For SMU, it's down to three shots to win the two games necessary to become bowl eligible. For head coach June Jones and his Mustangs, it's an important measure of success to return to the postseason for a school-record fourth straight year. The program has been erratic for much of the season, now needing to rebound from last week's 42-17 loss to UCF.

Off to its worst start since 1976, Southern Miss is one of two FBS teams yet to win a game this fall. The Golden Eagles will spend the final three weeks desperately trying to break through in order to carry something positive into the offseason.

Why Southern Miss Might Win: Even without suspended RB Desmond Johnson, the Golden Eagles can grind out yards between the tackles.

Southern Miss is No. 4 in the league in rushing, averaging more than four yards per carry. Rookie Jalen Richard has run well of late, and Jeremy Hester will provide a spark with his quickness and vision. Plus, as long as Chris Campbell remains injured, Anthony Alford will bring athleticism to the quarterback position.

Why SMU Might Win: The USM defense has been shockingly rotten all year, especially against the run.

Garrett Gilbert and the error-prone Mustangs passing attack can breathe a sigh of relief; RB Zach Line will carry the load on Saturday night. Southern Miss ranks 105th nationally versus the run, and were just battered for 223 yards by UAB's Darrin Reaves. Line should be good for 150 yards, keeping the Eagles D on the field for long stretches of time.

What To Watch Out For: After getting schooled for six touchdowns by UCF, SMU figures to get back to being one of Conference USA most opportunistic defenses. Spearheaded by a talented collection of veterans, such as DE Margus Hunt, LB Taylor Reed and FS Jay Scott, no team in America has caused more turnovers than the Mustangs.

What Will Happen: SMU will play with purpose. USM will play like a team that can't wait for the season to end.

The Mustangs are back in Dallas, and poised to bounce back from last week's loss. Line will carry the offense, battering an overmatched Southern Miss defense. On D, SMU will continue to make big plays, forcing its visitor into a spate of turnovers and punts.

CFN Prediction: SMU 42 … Southern Miss 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) SMU -13.5 O/U: 53
Must Watch Rating (5 – Skyfall, 1 – Wreck It Ralph): 1