Start Time: 12:00 PM EST.
Location: McColl-Richardson Memorial Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
TV: American Sports Network
Records: Southern Miss: 4-3. Charlotte: 2-4. This is the first overall meeting between these two programs.
Live Stats: here.
Line: Southern Miss -15.5. Over/Under: 64.
Southern Miss Outlook: Last week versus UTSA, it was all about the Southern Miss defense. The defense held UTSA to only 205 total yards and 12 first downs. The rush defense has become much more effective versus the run game as the season has progressed. Offenses are below average in success rate and rushing for just under 185 yards per game on the ground versus Southern Miss. The pass defense has been better on average, but still struggles with giving up the big play. Overall, the Golden Eagles are giving up 385.7 yards per game.
Players to watch on the Southern Miss defense include D’Nerius Antoine, Brian Anderson, and Dylan Bradley.
Southern Miss has done an excellent job this fall of running a balanced offense. The run game is explosive and effective with Jalen Richard and Ito Smith both averaging over five yards per carry. Smith is more of a big play back, while Richard will get the tough yards inside. The two are the main components of an offense that averages 174 yards on the ground.
No one saw the Southern Miss passing game performing as well as they have this fall. Quarterback Nick Mullens has over 2,300 yards passing, good for 335.4 yards per game. Five players (Martin, Thomas, Thompson, Smith, Richard) all have 18 or more catches. Much of the passing success is due to an offensive line that has stayed very healthy. The stability within the line has given Mullens the time to make his reads and find the open receiver, something that did not happen very often last season. Overall, Southern Miss is averaging 509.4 yards per game of total offense.
Charlotte Outlook: The 49ers are coming off of yet another CUSA game that they let slip through their fingers.
Charlotte is getting better and better on offense as the season progresses. Much of that has to do with the duo of Kalif Phillips and Andrew Buie in the backfield. They have combined for nearly 1,000 yards on the season, while the rest of the offense has rushed for 119 total yards. It has been a struggle with an offensive line that is a bit overmatched versus the average FBS defense, but Charlotte is making it work.
Passing the football has been an adventure for Charlotte with a completion rate just above 50% and 14 interceptions. Lee McNeill seems to be the quarterback of choice for the 49ers. Even so, he has not been very effective until the Old Dominion game. According to the S&P+, Charlotte is one of the six worst passing offenses in the nation. Austin Duke, Trent Bostick, and T.L. Ford II are the only players with more than ten catches on the year.
Defensively, the 49ers have been very good at stopping the run. Teams are only successful on 33% of rushing attempts. The rush defense held the Old Dominion to 3.7 yards per carry, right at the Charlotte defense’s season average. The 49ers give up just under 140 yards per game on the ground. Stopping the pass game has been a little tougher as the Charlotte pass defense is very susceptible to giving up the big play. Old Dominion hit seven different passes of 20 or more yards in the week seven matchup. Overall, Charlotte is giving up 358.5 yards per game of total offense.
Players to watch on the Charlotte defense include Nick Cook, Larry Ogunjobi, and Caleb Clayton-Molby.
Prediction: This should be an easy win for Southern Miss, but teams have continually overlooked Charlotte with it coming back to bite them. While this shouldn’t be all that close, the 49ers will give their best effort. Southern Miss 45, Charlotte 21.