gtpdd’s Southern Miss Preview

Tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 Central, the Bulldogs head to Hattiesburg to take on the Golden Eagles. But before you watch the game, you need to know some things. That’s where we come in!

How to Watch

The game will air on Stadium, which is a network that I actually get over the air here in South Carolina, somehow. If you don’t have an antenna, or you don’t live in South Carolina (or another area that gets this weird channel over the air), you can head to this link at game time to watch.

Other People’s Predictions

  • ESPN FPI: Tech has a 54.3% chance to win.
  • Massey: Tech wins, 26-24
  • Vegas (OddsShark): Tech wins by 2.5
  • S&P+: USM wins, 26-19
  • BleedTechBlue: Tech wins, 20-10
  • NCAA 14 Simulation: Tech wins, 27-10

Previous Records

Tech has put up a touchdown’s worth of wins, and a field goal’s worth of losses. USM has two safeties in the win column and a safety and field goal in the loss column. Let’s hope that’s not the final score of the game tomorrow.

What to Watch For

Evan: Defense. Look, if you like offense, this ain’t your week. Southern Miss comes in as the 9th ranked defense in the country in yards allowed. They’re not as stifling as say, 3rd ranked UAB or 7th ranked Mississippi State… But they’re damn close. They allow only 4.64 yards per play (Alabama, who I’m sure you’ve heard of, allows 4.47, for comparison). Given the high rankings of USM’s defense, you’d think Tech doesn’t have a chance to move the ball this weekend.

When we dive into the advanced stats on USM’s defense however, the picture looks a little better. The Golden Eagles are ranked 24th in rush defense S&P+ and 53rd in pass defense. That bodes a little better for the Dogs, provided J’Mar can get some confidence early.

Despite USM’s stellar defense, their offense is pretty bad. Tech’s defense should be able to hold Abraham and the Mustard Buzzards in check fairly easily, as they rank 120th in rush offense S&P+ and 82nd in pass offense. Former Tech backup QB Jack Abraham (aka Benedict Abraham) has been okay so far, but he’s coming off of a 2.5 game rest after an injury sustain when USM lost to Charlotte. That’s right, they lost to Charlotte. He throws the ball fairly accurately, but the problem is that sometimes he aims for the defense. He’s thrown 13 TDs and 10 INTs on the season. Their offensive line has had some issues this year, so Ferg and the boys should be able to pressure the QB.

Long story short, the defenses in this game should be fun to watch, making the offenses not fun to watch.

Random Factoid

Nathan: You’ve probably heard the game between Tech and USM called the “Rivalry in Dixie”, but did you know how the matchup got that name? Well, it all starts with a man who was later magically transformed into a Intramural Center.

Tech and Southern Miss played their first game against each other in 1935, a 27-0 victory of Tech. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Tech lost 19 of the next 24 matchups between the teams until Maxie Lambright took over as head coach for Tech.

Lambright was born in McComb, Mississippi and attended Missippi Southern College, the school now known as the University of Southern Mississippi

A decade after his graduation, Lambright was back in Hattiesburg, this time as a QB coach for the Golden Eagles. Lambright stayed in that role for 8 years, before Louisiana Tech extended an offer for a head coaching position.

Lambright coached the Bulldogs for 12 years, leading the team to three Division II championships and multiple conference championships. He has the second most wins (95) in school history. The coach with the most wins is Joe Aillet. You know, the guy the stadium is named after?

But if any coach would be able to even the score between the Bulldogs and Golden Eagles, it would be Lambright. So how did the legendary coach do in his first matchup against his Alma mater?

Bad. He did bad. Tech lost 58-7.

But then Tech won 5 of the next 8 meetings, bringing Lambright’s career record against USM to 5-4, a drastic improvement to what was then a 19-25 all-time series record.

During this nine game stretch of the rivalry, the away team won every single game. So if the game was in Ruston (or Shreveport), USM won. If the game was in Hattiesburg, Tech won.

Well, with one exception: the 23-22 Tech victory in Ruston in 1976.

And after that victory, Maxie Lambright declared “This is the finest rivalry in dixie.”

And finally, after 41 years, the rivalry had a name.

Hot Taeks

Evan: This game will not be fun to watch. Wait, you wanted a taek. This game will be fun to watch.

Josh: J’Mar won’t suffer the typical “Tech QB collapse while playing Southern Miss” phenomenon.

Nathan: There is currently a 10% chance of rain in Hattiesburg this Saturday. But if past games have been any indication, a typhoon will appear out nowhere for this game.

Final Predictions

Evan: I’m really hoping that the Tech offense from the second half of the Rice game shows up. You know, the one where J’Mar went 12 of 16 for over 200 yards passing? That’s the one! Will that offense show up? I sort of doubt it. I think this game will be a contest of which team is less ugly. Hopefully that team will be Tech, but I really don’t have a good gauge on this game.

Tech wins??? 24-18

Josh: I think this game will be very similar to a lot of Tech games this season: the offense can’t get anything going for most of the first half, we break off a few big plays to score, the defense mostly holds the opposing team in check, we win somehow. I don’t think it’ll be as close as the UNT game, but I do expect it to be close.

Tech wins, 21-17.

Nathan: These teams are very similar. They both have QB play that leaves much to be desired. They both have a single running back that dwarfs the production from the others on the depth chart. They both have decent defenses that find ways to keep the struggling offenses in the game.

They aren’t identical, but this is feeling close to when two people pick the same team to face off against each other in Madden. This game could really go either way, so much so that I’m tempted to flip a coin to pick who I think will win

I picked Tails, it was Tails

Tech wins 25¢ – 0

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