Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Nevada vs. Southern Miss
Nevada Wolfpack vs. Southern Miss Golden Eagles Gambling Odds from Bookmaker
NCAA FB Betting Favorite: Southern Miss -6
Larry Fedora led Southern Miss to a huge win in the Conference USA title game, but days later it was announced he was heading to North Carolina to take over the head coaching position. Fedora’s final game with Southern Miss will be in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl against Nevada. Nevada comes in losers of two of their last three games, while Southern Miss has won nine of their last ten contests.
Chris Ault and the Nevada Wolfpack took a step backward this year after losing star quarterback Colin Kapernick, but this team was still solid most of the year. The offense took a big hit when star receiver Brandon Wimberly went down with an injury before the season started. Tyler Lantrip and Cody Fajardo have split time at the quarterback position. Lantrip is expected to get the start in this one. Lantrip is coming off his best game of the season in the regular season finale against Idaho. The Wolfpack can run the football effectively against almost everyone. Mark Lampford, Mike Ball, and Cody Fajardo all have at least 119 carries. All of them average better than five yards per carry. Nevada averages 33 points per contest.
The Nevada defense was inconsistent this season. This is a unit that looked great at times, but they were also torched by some opponents. Isaiah Frey led the team with five interceptions, and the secondary is very aggressive in pass coverage. The Wolfpack defense will need to be at their best against a strong Southern Miss offense. Nevada has lost eight straight games in Hawaii, including the 2009 Hawaii Bowl, and they are looking to break that streak this year.
Austin Davis is a fourth-year starter at quarterback for Southern Miss. Davis threw 28 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this year. The Golden Eagles offense is so tough to defend because of their balance on offense. Southern Miss averaged 263 yards through the air and 208 on the ground this year. Jamal Woodyard is the team’s leading rusher, but the Golden Eagles use five different running backs. Tracy Lampley is a receiver and running back for the team and his versatility really helps this offense. This offense hasn’t been held to less than 27 points since the second game of the season.
Southern Miss has had so much success inside Conference USA over the last few years largely because they have a much better defense than most in the conference. While many other teams must outscore the opponent, Southern Miss actually has a solid defense. The front seven has been terrific against the run this year. The Golden Eagles allow just 113 rushing yards per game, which is 20th best in the nation. The secondary has given up big chunks of yards at times, but the Golden Eagles do a nice job keeping opponents out of the end zone. This defense is giving up just 21 points per game.
It’s hard to tell how Southern Miss will respond to Fedora coaching his last game with the team. Both of these offenses should be able to move the ball. My favorite play in this one is the over.
Free College Football Pick: Over 61