Austin Peay-Southern Mississippi
Start Time: 3:30 P.M. ET, Saturday, Sept. 12
Location: M. M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS
TV: American Sports Network
Records: Southern Miss 0-1, Austin Peay 0-1. First meeting between the two programs.
Live Stats: here.
Betting Line: No line.
Southern Miss Outlook: The Southern Miss Golden Eagles, breaking in new players on both side of the ball, hung in tough versus the now #25 ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs in week one.
Two-year starter Nick Mullens (30-44/311/1TD) looks to be the starter moving forward but will have a short leash as a bowl berth and nothing less is the goal for the season. Running back Ito Smith (8/69/0TD) was the most productive running back for a rushing attack that carried the ball 36 times for only 102 total yards. The passing game was much more successful with Mullens connecting with 11 different players on the day, led by Korey Robertson (6/81/0TD).
While giving up 440+ yards of total offense and 34 points, the Southern Miss defense showed signs of being a very good unit. Depth at safety was the biggest takeaway from week one with Picasso Nelson Jr. (5 tkl), Deshadrick Truly (5 tkl), D'Nerius Antoine (5 tkl, 1 ff), and Devonta Foster (4 tkl, 1 fr) combining for 19 tackles in the loss. The front seven was solid but struggled to slow down a big time SEC rushing attack.
Austin Peay Outlook: The nicest way to describe the Governors is to say that they struggle a bit on both sides of the ball.
Austin Peay opened the season with only 244 total offensive yards, including only 56 rushing yards on 33 attempts. Otis Gerron (15/54/0TD) was the leading rusher for an offense thathad no one break 2.7 yards per carry. Quarterback Trey Taylor (20-32/188/1TD) was solid in the loss in finding eight different players on pass attempts. Jared Beard (7/85/1TD) is the biggest pass catching threat for the Governors.
Defensively, the Governors gave up 437 total yards to Mercer, good for 6.1 yards per play on the day. The rush defense for Austin Peay was nonexistent in giving up 261 total yards and 5.8 yards per carry. The pass defense was much more solid in holding Mercer to 6.5 yards per pass attempt, but with a faulty rush defense, there was no point in attacking the Governors pass defense as well.
Prediction: After facing the physicality of the SEC in Mississippi State, the Golden Eagles get a bit of a reprieve with the visiting Governors coming to town. Austin Peay is not good at all and should prove to be nothing more than a small roadblock in the direction of Southern Miss' first win of the season.