Eagles look to end two streaks Saturday
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 21:10
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles will enter Saturday’s contest against the Blazers of Alabama Birmingham hoping to end two streaks. The Eagles are currently in a winless season and are on an eight game losing streak. They also own a three game losing streak to the Blazers. A win would change a lot.
“We don’t have anything on the table, from a trophy to a watch to a ring,” said Head Coach Ellis Johnson on Monday. “It’s all about playing for each other. And, to me, that’s more important than the rest of it.”
This will be the second week in a row where the winner of this game will earn its first conference win of the season. UAB is coming off a 55-45 loss at the hands of the Tulane Green Wave. The Blazers are 1-7 on the season with a 0-4 conference record. Their lone win came against Southeastern Louisiana.
USM continued a disappointing season with a 44-17 loss to Rice last weekend. The Eagles find themselves 0-8 on the season, a drastic change from their 12-2 campaign last year.
Arsenio Favor became the fourth different starting quarterback for Southern Miss when he suited up against Rice. The Eagles are the only team in the country to start four or more quarterbacks this season. In the Rice game, Favor threw for 180 yards and ran for another 65 yards and a touchdown.
Despite having the most success with downfield passing, Johnson said Favor might not be the guy this week. The team will reevaluate injuries to Chris Campbell and Anthony Alford and make a decision on the starting quarterback later this week.
On the defensive side, Southern Miss has allowed teams to score 38 or more points for the last four games. The defense will have to improve on that trend if the team has a chance to win since the Eagles are only averaging 19.2 points per game on offense. If an improvement is made, look for it to be made by nose tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches.
“When he [Nunez-Roches] talks there are people that listen,” said Defensive Coordinator Tommy West. “He’s a fiery, intense kind of guy. I think Nunez has done a nice job. I would follow him.”
Roches and the Southern Miss defense will face another strong test this weekend. Head Coach Garrick McGee brought the passing game from Arkansas to Birmingham when he left the offensive coordinator position at Arkansas to accept the UAB job. Quarterback Austin Brown and wide receivers Jackie Williams and Nick Adams have the Blazer offensive attack rolling.
UAB averages 323 passing yards per game and 99 yards a game on the ground. They score on an average of 30.1 points per game. Their weakness is on the defensive end where they allow over 38 points a game.
In order for the Golden Eagles to put an end to both these losing streaks, someone will need to step up. The defense will need points from the offense, and the offense will need stops from the defense. Either way, someone will go home happy. Will it be the Eagles?