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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 16, 12:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: M.M. Roberts Stadium (36,000) -- Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Television: CSS. Home Record: FAU 1-2, USM 0-3. Away Record: FAU 2-4, USM 0-6. Neutral Record: FAU 0-0, USM 0-0. Conference Record: FAU 2-4, USM 0-5. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Southern Miss Golden Eagles will attempt to halt the longest active losing streak in the nation on Saturday afternoon, as they play host to the Florida Atlantic Owls in a Conference USA clash at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
FAU's first season as a member of C-USA has not been a particularly good one, as it sits at 3-6 overall and 2-4 in league play. The Owls were able to halt a two-game skid in their latest outing, however, by dismissing bowl-eligible Tulane at home on Nov. 2, 34-17.
USM's streak of futility continued last week at Louisiana Tech, as it dropped a 36-13 decision to fall to 0-9 overall and 0-5 in conference. After going winless during the 2012 campaign, the Golden Eagles have now lost 21 consecutive games. The program has fallen a long way in a short amount of time, as it went 12-2 in 2011 and won the C-USA championship.
As newly-formed conference foes, FAU and USM have never before met.
FAU has not found much success on offense this season, as it scores a meager 22.2 points per game, but the unit was strong in its latest win over Tulane in generating 34 points.
Under center, Jaquez Johnson has been hit or miss this season. He is completing less than 58 percent of his passes for 1,305 yards with just as many touchdowns as interceptions (six), but he brings an extra dynamic to the offense with his rushing ability, having amassed 518 yards with eight scores.
Earning the majority of the work in the backfield alongside Johnson is Jonathan Wallace, who has tallied 568 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 119 carries, although his latest performance against Tulane (nine carries, 23 yards) was largely forgettable.
The modest receiving corps is led by Williams Dukes, who has hauled in 31 balls for 458 yards and five touchdowns. Daniel McKinney (38 receptions, 399 yards, TD) is also in the midst of a solid season.
Even though the offense oftentimes doesn't put the team in the best position, FAU's defense has performed well for the most part this season in allowing 27.1 points and 369.2 yards per game.
After securing three picks versus Tulane, D'Juon Smith now has seven interceptions on the season, which is tied with Virginia's Anthony Harris for tops in the nation. Andrae Kirk (69 tackles, INT), Adarius Glanton (8.0 TFL), Brandin Bryant (8.0 TFL, 5.0 sacks) and Christian Milstead (two INTs) have also been standout performers for the unit.
Not surprisingly, USM has had very little success on offense this season, as it ranks 114th in the nation in yardage (306.0 ypg) and 119th in scoring (12.8 ppg).
Allan Bridgford began the season as the club's quarterback, but after completing fewer than 55 percent of his passes with 11 interceptions in six starts, he gave way to Nick Mullens. Amazingly enough, Mullens has been even worse, completing only 47.7 percent of his throws for 948 yards with five touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Tyre'oune Holmes has a team-leading 44 catches, but they have resulted in only 316 yards. Markese Triplett has been more productive with fewer than half the number of catches (20 receptions, 346 yards, three TDs).
USM hasn't been able to get anything going on the ground, as it averages less than 75 rushing yards per game. Jalen Richard (256 yards) is the top performer out of the backfield.
On top of a malfunctioning offense, USM has played terribly on defense as well, ranking 119th in the country in allowing 43.7 points per game.
Excessive time on the field has allowed DeBarriaus Miller (76 tackles) and Terrick Wright (75 tackles) to rack up the stops, and each has recorded an interception as well. Octavius Thomas and Adam Williams each have two sacks for a team that has managed only eight on the season.
If there was ever a time for the Golden Eagles to snap out of their funk, it would be at home against a sub-.500 team. Unfortunately, USM has showed no signs of life lately, and with FAU coming off a strong performance, expect the Owls to keep the momentum going.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida Atlantic 38, Southern Miss 20
11/14 16:03:48 ET
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