Week 13 – Southern Miss at Memphis

Posted Nov 23, 2012

Week 13 Fearless Prediction – Southern Miss at Memphis

Southern Miss (0-11) at Memphis (3-8) Nov. 24, 4:30, CSS

Here's The Deal: Memphis is concluding a year exactly the way a coach of a rebuilding program would like. Justin Fuente and his staff have the Tigers playing their best ball of 2012, winning the last two games, including last week's convincingly over UAB, 46-9. They haven't won three in a row since 2008, providing the kind of motivation that can carry over into nest season.

One chance. That's all that's left for Southern Miss to avoid being this year's only winless team in the FBS. The Golden Eagles have been close and competitive in many games, such as last week's 34-33 loss to UTEP, but have been unable to break through with a victory. Despite being in his first year, head coach Ellis Johnson is already on thin ice with the administration.

Why Southern Miss Might Win: Memphis is beatable on defense, a good thing since the Eagles are coming of their best offensive output of the season.

USM has been all about the ground game this fall, feeding the likes of rookie Jalen Richard behind an assertive line. However, the attack may finally have something to build around at quarterback. Arsenio Favor was downright prolific versus UTEP, throwing for 374 yards and connecting on long balls with Quentin Pierce, Dominique Sullivan and Francisco Llanos. A more balanced offense has a far better chance of moving the ball this week in the Liberty Bowl.

Why Memphis Might Win: Confidence is contagious, and the Tigers are steeped in it these days.

Memphis didn't just beat an equivalent UAB team a week ago, it outclassed the Blazers on both sides of the ball. QB Jacob Karam threw more touchdown passes than incompletions, newcomer Brandon Hayes ran for three scores and 127 yards and the D yielded 26 rushing yards. Southern Miss hasn't stopped anyone on defense this fall, giving up 30 rushing touchdowns in its 11 games.

What To Watch Out For: Karam, a transfer from Texas Tech, has been a nice placeholder for Fuente this season. Although limited physically, he's smart and has only thrown three interceptions, a certain steadiness that's rubbing off on the young Tigers, like sophomore backup Eric Mathews. In many ways, No. 9 has been a perfect quarterback for the program, a coach in the huddle, with one more year of eligibility remaining.

What Will Happen: Memphis is playing at a higher level, with more confidence, trends that'll continue on this final weekend of the regular season. Fuente has the Tigers thinking they can win, and they will for a third straight week. Hayes will outrush the Southern Miss backs, navigating a defense that'll need an entire offseason to correct what ailed it in 2012.

CFN Prediction: Memphis 34 … Southern Miss 24
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Memphis -4.5 O/U: 51
Must Watch Rating (5 – Beware of Mr. Baker, 1 – Life of Pi): 1