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Opponent Q&A - Southern Miss

Underdog Dynasty joins us to talk about the Golden Eagles!

NCAA Football: Rice at Southern Mississippi Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn takes on Southern Miss on Saturday at 3 pm CST at Jordan-Hare Stadium, and to give us the goods on the Golden Eagles, Cyrus Smith from Underdog Dynasty was kind enough to stop by!

Looking at the schedule, the Golden Eagles haven’t really had a true test yet three games in and they’re 2-1... what’s your surface-level, 30-second rundown of the season so far?

The 2-1 Southern Miss Golden Eagles could very well be 3-0 if they didn’t turnover the ball four times against ULM. Starting QB Jack Abraham looked much better against Rice, but everyone looks good against Rice’s defense. The fan base would be filled with angst had the Appalachian State game not been cancelled as they would have been an underdog, and could be a concerning 2-2 entering this game. Instead, with a 2-1 record, USM fans feel like they could potentially compete for a conference title as both the offense and defense made strides in the conference opener against Rice. Realistically though, this is a pretty mediocre Southern Miss team by their standards and many C-USA fans believe this is a 7-win team at best.

Judging by the stats, Jack Abraham seems like a pretty competent kid at quarterback. He’s hitting 70% of his passes and slinging the ball all over the field. What are his strengths and what are his weak points?

The former La Tech QB has found a very ideal system for his play. He’s a statue in the pocket, and gets the ball out of his hand rather quickly while possessing a nice deep ball. His biggest weakness is ball security and decision making under pressure. Versus ULM all four turnovers were attributed to him as he had two fumbles lost and two interceptions. If you get some pressure on Abraham, your defense will have success.

It looks like there are pretty much two guys that get the bulk of the catches in Quez Watkins and Jaylond Adams. What kind of receivers are they and who else is available for Abraham to utilize as a weapon?

Quez Watkins is a speedster. Watkins flashed some potential last season but was unable to see the field consistently due to being behind a few veterans on the depth chart. Jaylond Adams fits that same mold too. A burner who can really stretch the defense. Aside from those two, RB Tez Parks is another speedster who does well in space, though he hasn’t been able to get on track this season.

Where are the strong points on the USM defense? Auburn has had trouble over the season on the offensive line. Will USM generate much of a pass rush? How’s the run defense?

Despite the departure of defensive coordinator Tony Peccaro, USM has remained effective in creating havoc plays with their unique blitz packages. New DC Tim Billings was on the staff last season, and that continuity has helped. Southern Miss ranks 25th in Overall Havoc Rate (TFLs, INTs, Deflections, etc.) and loves to have their DBs in on TFLs. Jacques Turner has been a difference maker on their line too, as he possess good size and is a disciplined player.

If Southern Miss wins this game, it’s because of what?

Southern Miss wins the game if they generate explosive plays on offense and win the turnover battle. USM is pretty one-dimensional on offense as they rank near the bottom in Rushing Marginal Efficiency, Rushing Marginal Explosiveness, and Opportunity Rate. Tez Parks is pretty much an all or nothing back, and his backups, though talented, are extremely young. Defensively they are the same. While they have a knack for creating negative plays, they do so at the expense of giving up explosive plays too. Since Jay Hopson has taken over as the head coach, Southern Miss has been extremely volatile on both sides of the ball. If they aren’t generating big plays, they typically lose.

Finally, do you think that dog should’ve caught the pass from Brett Favre in that Copperfit commercial?

Absolutely. The ball would have hit him in stride if the young pup turned his head around in time.

You be the judge.

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You can check out our answers to their questions later on this week at Underdog Dynasty!