Southern Miss faces off against Sun Belt member Appalachian State on Saturday in the out-of-conference finale for the Golden Eagles. Southern Miss is 1-2 and is coming off a 52-12 loss against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Appalachian State is 1-1 and had a bye last week. Their most recent result was a 66-0 win against the Campbell Camels.
Where? M.M Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS
When? Saturday, September 20, 6PM (CST, local time)
TV? American Sports Network (list of markets carrying the game)
Despite a lopsided loss against Alabama, Southern Miss fans were given some hope as the Golden Eagles played fairly competitive in the 1st half against the Crimson Tide and were able to move the ball some. This week, Southern Miss plays an opponent much closer to its' level of talent, the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Appalachian State is a program that has much in common with Southern Miss. Both school's colors are black and gold, both schools play in a stadium nicknamed "The Rock", and both have histories of being 'giant killers' in football.
As mentioned earlier in this article, App State's lone win came against Campbell on September 6. The Mountaineers won the game by 66 but it should be noted that Campbell is ranked 248th of 251 FBS and FCS teams in Jeff Sagarin's most recent rating. App State took somewhat of a step back last year in their final FCS season, finishing 4-8 in the Southern Conference under head coach Scott Saterfield. The Mountaineers' QB is Kameron Bryant who has thrown three touchdowns in the early part of this season. Marcus Cox and Terrence Upshaw highlight the ground game for Appalachian State. Both have over 100 yards rushing this year and have combined for four touchdowns.
This will be a good measuring stick game for Southern Miss. While Appalachian State is a transitional FBS team, they still have the potential to win a few games in the Sun Belt. It would also be the first FBS home win for Southern Miss since 2011. If the Golden Eagles win, it'll mean a 2-2, .500 record in the out-of-conference portion of the schedule. It doesn't sound like much but that would double the number of wins from the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Needless to say, a win on Saturday would show some progress in the rebuilding job led by head coach Todd Monken.