Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#359 Southern Miss vs.
#360 Alabama
Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 12:00pm EDT
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa
Written by Chris Kubala

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#359 University of Southern Mississippi
#360 Alabama
2-1
3-0
2-1
1-2
2-1
2-1
33
50
29
11

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It’s a non-conference tilt on the gridiron when a Conference USA program makes the trip to battle the big, bad SEC in the Yellowhammer State. The Southern Miss Golden Eagles are on the road as they make the trip to face the #2 Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday afternoon. Southern Miss survived a wild game on the road at Troy, prevailing 47-42 last Saturday. Alabama went on the road and whipped South Carolina 47-23 last Saturday in their SEC opener. The Crimson Tide leads the all-time series 29-3-1 and has taken the last six meetings, including a 52-12 home win on September 13, 2014 in the most recent matchup.

Southern Miss Golden Eagles Try to Pull Upset on the Road

Southern Miss managed to pick up a road win last week after getting dumped by Mississippi State the week before as they outlasted Troy. The Golden Eagles now face a much tougher opponent from the Yellowhammer State as they make the trip to Tuscaloosa. Southern Miss was in a wild game all the way and survived in part thanks to Jaylond Adams’ third kick return for a score this season, a 100-yard runback in the fourth quarter that gave the Golden Eagles a 40-28 advantage. Southern Miss owned a 626-528 advantage in total offense, picked up 26 first downs while allowing 21 and owned a 35:11 to 24:49 edge in time of possession. Neither team turned the ball over in the contest.

The Golden Eagles stand 12th in the nation in passing offense as they average 347 yards per contest while they stand just 114th in rushing offense with 106 yards per game. Southern Miss is 58th in the FBS with 33.3 points per game for scoring offense while the team is tied for 91st by allowing 30 points per game this season. Jack Abraham has completed 64 of 90 passes for 990 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Neil McLaurin hit his lone pass attempt for 51 yards and a touchdown. Kevin Perkins leads the ground game with 18 carries for 88 yards on the season. De’Michael Anderson (20 carries, 80 yards) and Steven Anderson (19 carries, 59 yards, TD) are next in line. Adams leads the team with 18 catches for 257 yards plus a score on the season. Jordan Mitchell (16 grabs, 295 yards, two TD), Tim Jones (13 receptions, 152 yards, TD) and Quez Watkins (seven catches, 209 yards, two TD) are also factors in the passing game. Andrew Stein has hit all nine extra point attempts and five of six field goal tries with a long of 39 this season.

“We’ve got to make sure we play great in all phases — offensively, defensively and special teams,” head coach Jay Hopson said, according to southernmiss.com. “It’s no secret we’re playing an outstanding football team, a great football team. We’re going to have to certainly be on our A-plus game this week, and that starts today. We’ll make sure we’re preparing, practicing, and paying attention to details. There’s no team that is going to have our respect more than Alabama.”

Alabama Crimson Tide Look to Roll to 4-0

Alabama cruised to an easy win over South Carolina to open conference play as they handled the Gamecocks. The Crimson Tide now looks to roll to a 4-0 record as they return home for this non-conference tilt. Alabama shook off a tight first quarter where they led 14-10 by outscoring South Carolina 20-3 in the next two quarters to seize control of the game. The Crimson Tide racked up a 571-459 edge in total offense, held a 32:37 to 27:23 edge in time of possession and forced the game’s only two turnovers to offset a 31-25 disadvantage in first downs.

The Crimson Tide enters this contest 6th in the nation in passing offense with 382.3 yards per game through the air and 55th in rushing offense with 179.7 yards per contest. Alabama is 8th in the FBS in scoring offense with 50.3 points per game while the team stands tied for 14th in scoring defense by allowing 12 points per contest. Tua Tagovailoa has completed 70 of 91 passes for 1,007 yards with 12 touchdowns and no interceptions: he adds 36 yards plus a score on the ground. Mac Jones has hit 12 of 17 passes for 140 yards plus a score while adding five yards and a score on the ground. Najee Harris leads the team with 31 carries for 156 yards and a score on the ground. Brian Robinson Jr. (28 carries, 99 yards, TD) and Keilan Robinson (11 carries, 97 yards, TD) are the next guys up on the depth chart. In the passing game, Jerry Jeudy (24 catches, 308 yards, four TD) is the leading receiver while DeVonta Smith (18 receptions, 237 yards, three TD) and Henry Ruggs III (12 grabs, 202 yards, two TD) are terrific options as well. Will Reichard is 19 of 20 on extra point attempts but only four of seven on field goal tries with a long of 49.

“I think we’re playing a team this week that’s a very explosive team in Southern Miss,” said head coach Nick Saban in his weekly press conference. “They score a lot of points. They do a lot of things on offense that obviously they’re in the Top 10 in the country or whatever in pass offense, 347 yards a game. It’s because they’ve got good skill players, they’ve got a good scheme. They dish the ball all over the perimeter and make you play in space all the time, which we need to do a good job of. The quarterback does a good job of executing.”

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While Alabama’s kicking woes could be a problem as the season wears on, especially in the rugged SEC race, it shouldn’t impact them here. The Crimson Tide likely is going to be wary of kicking the ball to Adams, who has reeled off three kick returns for scores already this season. Southern Miss is going to need some big plays from Adams and the passing game to hang in here. Tagovailoa torched South Carolina for 444 yards and five scores last week while we saw Southern Miss get scorched by Troy. The Trojans are nowhere near as dangerous as the Crimson Tide. Look for Alabama to take advantage of the soft Southern Miss defense and cruise to a one-sided win.

Prediction: Alabama Crimson Tide -39

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Alabama hasn’t been slowed offensively this season as Tagovailoa has kept them humming along. The Crimson Tide has to be a little better on the defensive side of the ball but with the shuffling of personnel from year to year thanks to the NFL Draft, it can take a little time to get guys up to speed. Southern Miss has been effective in the first three games but they were flat against Mississippi State on the road a couple of weeks ago. After the Golden Eagles gave up 42 points to Troy, can we really expect them to slow an explosive Crimson Tide attack?

The over is 4-0 in the Golden Eagles’ last 4 road games, 4-1 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning record and 5-2 in their last 7 games overall. Alabama has seen the over go 4-0-1 in their last 5 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game, 4-0-1 in their last 5 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points, 4-0 in their last 4 games in September and 4-0-1 in their last 5 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. With the weak Southern Miss defense, Alabama should pile up 50 plus points and push this one over the total.

Prediction: Over 61
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.