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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 28, 10:15 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bronco Stadium (36,387) -- Boise, Idaho. Television: ESPN U. Home Record: USM 0-1, BSU 2-0. Away Record: USM 0-2, BSU 0-2. Neutral Record: USM 0-0, BSU 0-0. Conference Record: USM 0-0, BSU 1-1. Series Record: Boise State leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The Boise State Broncos will attempt to stay perfect on the blue turf this season as they play host to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Saturday night.
After losing all 12 games in 2012 under Ellis Johnson, Southern Miss has experienced a similar fate this season with new head coach Todd Monken by losing all three of its contests thus far. The Golden Eagles extended the nation's longest losing streak to 15 games following a Sept. 14 setback at Arkansas.
Although Boise State has lost both of its road contests, it continues to hold one of the nation's best home field advantages, winning matchups in Boise over Tennessee-Martin (63-14) and Air Force (42-20). The Broncos appeared poised to knock off Fresno State last week on the road, but after erasing a 15-point second-half deficit, they allowed the game-winning touchdown with 2:14 left to lose, 41-40, falling to 1-1 in the Mountain West Conference in the process.
Boise State has won all three previous meetings with Southern Miss, including last season in Hattiesburg, 40-14.
Southern Miss has yet to score more than 15 points in a game this season. Its scoring offense (10.3 ppg) ranks 120th out of 123 qualifying FBS teams, and its total offense (312.7 ypg) isn't much better at 112th.
Most of the Golden Eagles' production comes through the air, with Allan Bridgford throwing for 732 yards through the first three games, although the signal caller's efficiency (.545, two TDs, seven INTs) has not been up to snuff.
Tyre'oune Holmes leads the team with 24 receptions, but they've gone for just 173 yards (7.2 ypc). Rickey Bradley is the team's deep threat with 250 yards and a touchdown on just 10 catches.
The team amassed just 68 rushing yards per game and it has yet to score a rushing touchdown. Jalen Richard leads the way with 115 yards.
The Golden Eagles defense has actually done a good job keeping opposing offenses in check, holding teams to just 337.7 ypg, but with the offense continually putting the unit in poor situations, it surrenders 34.0 ppg.
Alan Howze anchors the defense with 34 tackles and 2.5 TFL. Octavius Thomas has registered the team's lone sack, while Kelsey Douglas has its only interception.
Boise State has made a name for itself over the past decade for having one of the nation's top offenses, and it is off to a good start in 2013 with 37.8 ppg and 478.0 ypg. It has been outstanding on third down as well with a 50 percent conversion rate.
In his second year as the starter, senior quarterback Joe Southwick is off to an impressive start through four games, completing nearly 72 percent of his passes for 986 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. He has also made use of his scrambling ability with 124 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Jay Ajayi has taken over the starting tailback position this year and has responded well with 352 yards on 75 carries, displaying an outstanding nose for the end zone with seven touchdowns. Aaron Baltazar (198 yards, two TDs) also sees plenty of reps in the backfield.
Matt Miller (281 yards, TD) is the third-leading receiver in the MWC with 30 receptions, although he is far from the only option in the passing game. Kirby Moore (195 yards, two TDs), Geraldo Boldewijn (219 yards) and Shane Williams- Rhodes (147 yards, two TDs) all have at least 17 catches to round out one of the deepest receiving corps in the nation.
Unfortunately for the Broncos, their disappointing defense (28.2 ppg, 440.8 ypg) has allowed opponents to keep pace with their high-powered offense.
Darian Thompson and Bryan Douglas each have a pair of interceptions, with Douglas returning a pick 33 yards for a touchdown in the UT-Martin win a few weeks back. Ben Weaver (30 tackles, 1.5 TFL), Damarcus Lawrence (19 tackles, 3.5 TFL, sack) and Beau Martin (3.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks) are also defensive standouts.
Southern Miss has at least played more competitively early in the 2013 season than it did for most of last year, which would suggest that its embarrassing losing streak should come to a close sometime soon, but don't expect it to happen on the road against a Boise State squad that gets up for its primetime blue turf battles.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boise State 42, Southern Miss 17
09/25 10:35:50 ET
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