The Southern Miss Golden Eagles play their second straight home game to begin the season, as they host the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on Saturday evening. The Golden Eagles will try to get the bad taste out of the mouths from their dismal performance in their first game of the season. They entered the game as a 12-point favorite and left with an 11-point loss, 32-21, to the South Alabama Jaguars. The total went slightly under, as the over/under was set at 55 points. The Bulldogs will be making their season debut, as their scheduled first game on September 12 was postponed due to a rise of COVID-19 cases on the Louisiana Tech campus. The Bulldogs won their meeting with Southern Miss last season by a score of 45-30. Louisiana Tech was a three-point underdog going into the game.
Bulldogs looking to pick up where they left off in 2019After losing their first game of the season last year to the Texas Longhorns, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs reeled off eight wins in a row on their way to a 10-win season. They did it mostly in dominating fashion, as eight of their wins were by double digits, including four by at least 20 points. They capped off the season with a 14-0 shutout against the Miami Hurricanes in the Independence Bowl.
“It is obvious that the impact of Hurricane Laura in our community a few weeks ago really sparked our significant increase in numbers,” Louisiana Tech athletic director Tommy McClelland said about why their opener was postponed on sportstechie.com. “With 95% of our city losing power for days—even up to a week in many areas—our student-athletes were forced to find places to stay and some even had family from south Louisiana that came northward to stay with them.”
The Bulldogs have a change in leadership for their offense, as Aaron Allen takes over for the graduated J’Mar Smith. Allen threw for 446 yards on 43-75 passing last season as Smith’s backup. He also threw three touchdown passes and one interception. Louisiana Tech has their top two running backs returning from last season. Justin Henderson was a workhorse for the Bulldogs last season, toting the rock 188 times for 1,062 yards and 15 touchdowns. Israel Tucker was the second-leading rusher last season, gaining 340 yards on 65 carries. Both Henderson and Tucker averaged over 5.0 yards per carry in 2019.
Malik Stanley, who led the Bulldogs in yards receiving last season is gone, but their next five leading receivers are back, which bodes well for their offense this season. Smoke Harris, Adrian Hardy, and Cee Jay Powel all caught over 40 passes last season for a combined 1,300 yards. Griffin Hebert was second on the team last season with 537 yards on 30 catches and a team-leading six touchdowns.
Louisiana Tech was 8-5 against the spread last season, while the over-under was 6-7. The Bulldogs defense played pretty well last season, as they gave up 21 points or less in eight of their 13 games.
Golden Eagles lose game, head coachThis is definitely not the way the Southern Miss Golden Eagles wanted to start their 2020 campaign. Tabbed as a double-digit favorite against the South Alabama Jaguars, who hadn’t won a road game since 2017, the Golden Eagles were upset on the field, and then shortly afterwards their head coach was dismissed. Jay Hopson, who had been at Southern Miss for 10 seasons had a meeting with athletic director Jeremy McClain and it was decided, mutually, that the two sides would part ways. The Golden Eagles had winning records in each of their last four seasons. Offensive Coordinator Scotty Walden will serve as interim head coach.
“After heartfelt discussion with Jeremy, we have come to a mutual agreement for me to step down as head coach," Hopson said on espn.com. "I am in total agreement with this change in leadership and truly believe it is in the best interest of the players, coaches and this entire program.”
As for the game, Southern Miss was outscored 13-0 in the first quarters and never led in the game. Quarterback Jack Abraham had a decent game, completing nearly 70% of his passes for 314 yards and no interceptions, but he didn’t have a touchdown pass either. Their running game was almost non-existent, though, as they averaged just 2.6 yards per carry (37-95). Frank Gore, Jr. led the way with 32 yards on the ground. Tim Jones led the receiving corps with six catches for 139 yards for a average of 23.2 yards per catch.
Malik Shorts and Swayze Bozeman led the defense with 11 and 10 tackle, respectively, in the game. The Golden Eagles defense gave up 363 yards passing and 163 yards rushing for 526 yards in total. Southern Miss was 6-7 against the spread last season, while the over-under was 4-9.
Trends found on oddsshark.com:
- The Golden Eagles are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall
- The Golden Eagles are 1-4 ATS in their last five games played in September
- The Bulldogs are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games overall
- The Bulldogs are 6-3 ATS in their last nine games versus Southern Miss
- The Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS in their last five games in game three
- The Bulldogs are 5-1 ATS in their last six games played on a Saturday
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs finally get on the field in 2020, after their 10-win season of a year ago. The Bulldogs have a new quarterback, but all other key skill players from last year’s team are back. The Golden Eagles are coming off a disappointing start to the season, and they will be heading into the game with a new head coach. Southern Miss gave up over 500 yards in their first game, and Louisiana Tech’s high-powered offense will take advantage of the Golden Eagles defensive deficiencies. Louisiana Tech has covered the spread in six of their last nine games versus Southern Miss, and they will do it again on Saturday.
Prediction: Louisiana Tech +5
Full-Game Total Pick
Louisiana Tech averaged over 32 points per game last season, and they are anxious to get back to the playing field in 2020. All their major playmakers are back from last year’s team. South Alabama scored 32 points against Southern Miss in their opener, and the Bulldogs are much better than the Jaguars are. Louisiana Tech will have a field day with the Golden Eagles defense. In last season’s game between these two teams, there was a total of 75 points score, so expect a similar game on Saturday.
Prediction: Over 58