Southern Miss vs. Rice prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Golden Eagles and Owls.
Southern Miss vs. Rice Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 1 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: M. M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS
TV Broadcast: N/A
The Golden Eagles (3-1, 1-0 Conference USA) began conference play with a 34-7 victory over UTEP last Saturday night. The win followed a tough six-point loss to Troy, which survived the Golden Eagles nearing the goal line as time expired. Meanwhile, the Owls (0-4, 0-2) are still looking for their first win of the season after dropping a double-overtime contest to North Texas at home last week. Rice ranks No. 125 in the nation in total defense, giving up 535 yards per game, including 296 yards per game through the air. So this is a bad spot for a downtrodden defense facing an offense capable of lighting up the scoreboard.
Last season, the Golden Eagles beat the Owls, 65-10, in Houston. Nick Mullens tied a single-game program record with five touchdown passes, finishing with 386 yards and no interceptions before giving way to backup Tyler Matthews.
What To Know About Southern Miss
Golden Eagles offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson was not happy with his unit’s performance last week in the win over the Miners. In the second half, the unit could only muster a 46-yard field goal by Parker Shaunfield. That is quite the opposite of what Golden Eagle fans have come to expect, especially after the exciting comeback win in the season opener at Kentucky. On the positive side, though, the defense shut out UTEP in the second half. That is the third time in four games that the Southern Miss defense has done that to an opponent. Expect the passing game to bounce back and Mullens to light up this Rice secondary, especially after he went without throwing an interception for the first time this season on Saturday against UTEP.
What to Know About Rice
The setback to the Mean Green came a week after David Bailiff’s squad hung around with Baylor. Quarterback Tyler Stehling threw for 232 yards and ran for 92 with a passing touchdown against North Texas, while Darik Dillard added 67 yards and two scores on the ground. The Rice offense is dependent upon the rushing of the dual-threat Stehling, Dillard and Austin Walter. So it needs to be fully functioning for the less-than-stellar passing attack to work.
Offense: Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles should be a consistent offensive outfit all season long, so expect this unit to come out hungry after Dawson was not pleased with last week’s performance.
Defense: Southern Miss. Pitching shutouts in the second half will give the Eagles chances to win a lot of games this year.
Special Teams: Southern Miss. Shaunfield remains perfect on field goals and extra points this year. The strong-legged kicker has 39 points on the season.
Coaching: Southern Miss. Jay Hopson had just one losing season at Alcorn State, going 32–17 at the school.
Intangibles: Southern Miss. The Owls do not have a lot of confidence right now being a winless bunch.
Matchup To Watch
Curtis Mikell vs. Rice passing game
Last week against UTEP, Mikell had two interceptions, one of which he returned 100 yards for a touchdown. The cornerback intercepted a Zack Greenlee pass at the goal line and took it to the house. This week, he’ll be defending passes from a quarterback in Stehling who has thrown four interceptions and has struggled with his accuracy thus far.
Southern Miss vs. Rice Betting Odds
Spread: Southern Miss -20.5
Southern Miss vs. Rice Prediction
The Golden Eagles will overwhelm the Owls and send Bailiff’s crew to 0-5. There is too much firepower on this Southern Miss offense, and Dawson lit a fire under the unit after last week’s subpar second half.
Southern Miss vs. Rice Score Prediction: Southern Miss 44, Rice 20