College Football News Preview 2020: Southern Miss Golden Eagles Keys To The Season
Biggest Key To The Southern Miss Golden Eagles Offense
This goes for the entire program over the last decade … STOP TURNING THE BALL OVER.
It was so maddening throughout the season. The running game needs to be better and more consistent, and the offense has to keep things moving, but in game after game, the mistakes were the biggest killers.
Southern Miss was 121st in the nation in turnovers, giving away 26 on the season and was a -11 in turnover margin. When the team was -2 or worse, it was 0-5.
The O gave it up two times or more in eight games and 12 times in the last four games.
But this is nothing new for a program that’s been a hot mess with turnovers over the last ten years. The offense gave it up 17 times in 2010, and a ridiculous 247 times – an average or almost 25 a year – since then.
Biggest Key To The Southern Miss Golden Eagles Defense
Is it just as simple as the run defense needing to be a brick wall? The Southern Miss defense was No. 1 in Conference USA and 18th overall against the run, allowing a mere 1,506 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year.
When you give up just 3.5 yards per carry, you’re doing something right.
The D allowed more than 200 yards just once – against Mississippi State – holding Alabama to just 176 yards and allowing more than 150 just four times.
But here was the problem – USM allowed more than 130 rushing yards six times, and it lost all six games. Of course, that meant the team was 7-0 when holding teams to under the way-low 130-yard total.
By the way, the program is 1-11 in its last 12 games when giving up over 130.
With that in mind …
Key Southern Miss Golden Eagles Player To A Successful Season
DT Von’Darius Freeman, Sr.
The defensive tackles from last year are gone, and Tahj Sykes came up with just three tackles and Freeman made 11. Now these two have to be the tough guys on the inside of the great run D.
The 279-pound Sykes has good size, but the 6-2, 339-pound Freeman is the former JUCO transfer with the mass to gum up the works. Freeman doesn’t have to get into the backfield, but he needs to be a rock to work around.
Key Game To The Southern Miss Golden Eagles Season
Louisiana Tech, Sept. 12
Southern Miss had Louisiana Tech’s number for four years. It controlled the series, and it helped to at least have a shot at the Conference USA West title. Last year, though, the script was flipped with the Bulldogs getting the win.
It’s the second game of the season and the conference opener for USM. Assuming a win over South Alabama to kick things off, and with Jackson State to follow, beat Louisiana Tech, and likely be 3-0 before going to Auburn.
– Southern Miss Golden Eagles Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2019 Southern Miss Fun Stats
– Fumbles: Southern Miss 20 (lost 9) – Opponents 10 (lost 9)
– Sacks: Southern Miss 39 for 230 yards – Opponents 23 for 183 yards
– Field Goals: Southern Miss 18-of-22 – Opponents 11-of-18