Boise State at Southern Miss
Teddy Covers' Recommendation:
Saturday, 9 am PT - FSN
Boise State -11.5 O/U 47
Boise State -10 O/U 48
Rob Veno's Power Rating:
Boise State -12.5
Southern Miss is a complete mess right now, a shell of the team that went a school record 12-2 last year. We all know what happened in the offseason. Head coach Larry Fedora took the North Carolina job. Four-year starting QB Austin Davis graduated as did their top two receivers and a third round NFL draft choice off the offensive line. The defense suffered even greater graduation losses, including five of their top eight tacklers; weaker on all three units in 2012 compared to 2011.
That’s just the starting point. New Golden Eagles head coach Ellis Johnson has already seen two quarterbacks go down with injuries, leaving Ricky Lloyd – the guy who finished the preseason three-way quarterback competition in third place, and completed a grand total of two passes for 25 yards last week – healthy enough to start. Their defense has been nothing short of awful, ranked #118 in the country in third down conversion percentage, unable to get off the field.
Two weeks ago, against a mid-level Sun Belt team, the Golden Eagles were thoroughly dominated in a 42-17 loss, outgained by nearly 300 yards. The week before, they lost at home as TD favorites to East Carolina. Don’t be fooled by last week’s closer than expected result against Louisville – a ‘chance of showers’ turned into a torrential downpour that negated the Cardinals speed edges on both sides of the ball. This is the Golden Eagles first 0-4 start since 1976 and they know they’re not good.
Johnson seems lost about how to fix their myriad of problems. "I think when you're not performing well in so many different areas, you have to start back at the head coach's feet. We've got to start back at square one and evaluate everything we're doing, from personnel to schemes to practice and just see what we can come up with and improve our football team….It doesn't get any easier.... It's a tough way to grow up, but we are going to have to grow up or we are going to suffer.”
Boise fell asleep with a 25-0 halftime lead at New Mexico last week, allowing the Lobos to make things interesting by the fourth quarter. That served as a wakeup call for the Broncos, who had early morning practices all week to adjust for their 10 AM local time kickoff. Expect a vastly improved intensity level here, leading to a comfortable Broncos victory.
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