Louisville vs. Southern Mississippi Game Preview and Predictions

Jon Hancock@@JonKYSportscoSenior Analyst ISeptember 25, 2012

The Louisville Cardinals will go on the road for their second straight away game Saturday against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles.

The Cardinals come into the game ranked as the 17th-best team in the nation, according to USA Today. Louisville is 4-0 for the first time since 2006 after beating Florida International last Saturday, 28-21.

"We're going on the road for the second-straight week," Charlie Strong said via UofLSports.com. "What's going to be critical for us is that we maintain our focus, emotions and our confidence - play with confidence and compete."

The Golden Eagles are now 0-3 on the season, losing to Nebraska, East Carolina and Western Kentucky. Southern Miss is coming off a big loss against Western Kentucky last Saturday, 42-17. WKU was able to get 560 yards of total offense against the Golden Eagles—369 of that was on the ground.

Southern Miss' head coach, Ellis Johnson, said Monday during his press conference about Louisville, via SouthernMiss.com, "I've seen a lot of film on them and they are a very good football team. The thing that impresses me the most about them is they are very young. They have a ton of freshmen and sophomores spread in their roster and mixed into their two-deep.”

Southern Miss fans are planning a black-out theme for the game.


Where: Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

When: Saturday, September 29th at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Watch: CBS Sports Network

Radio: 840 WHAS in Louisville, KY.

Betting Line: Louisville -10.5 per VegasInsider.com.

Weather: According to Weather.com, it will be in the high 80s in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and partly cloudy.


Players to watch on Southern Mississippi

Coach Ellis Johnson announced Monday in his press conference that redshirt freshman quarterback Ricky Lloyd will get his first career start against Louisville. He threw for 72 yards and one touchdown last Saturday against WKU. Lloyd took junior Chris Campbell's spot Saturday after Campbell got a stinger in his neck in the second quarter.

"We have complete confidence in Ricky Lloyd," Johnson said via SouthernMiss.com. "I think he can lead our football team and if we improve in so many areas that we have to improve in, we'll be fine."

Freshman quarterback Anthony Alford is a weapon the Golden Eagles will use often. He is very fast and he isn't afraid to run the ball. Alford has 44 carries for 126 yards and two touchdowns. He has only thrown the ball for 108 yards.

Tracy Lampley leads Southern Miss in all-purpose yards with 285 yards. The Cardinals will need to protect Lampley from making big plays receiving the ball or returning kicks.

Defensive lineman Jamie Collins will be the one the Golden Eagles will rely on to stop Louisville's running attack. Collins has 17 tackles so far this year, leading the Golden Eagles with tackles for loss with 6.5. 


Things to note about Southern Mississippi

—Southern Miss returned four starters on their offensive line.

—Southern Miss has scored five touchdowns so far this season; they have allowed 15.

—Southern Miss' defense has given up 473.3 yards total a game.

—Southern Miss' offense averages 282.7 yards a game.

—Southern Miss is 105th in the country in sacks allowed.


Louisville vs. Southern Mississippi series history

Southern Miss leads the all-time series, 18-10-1. However, Louisville has won the last five meetings, including a 31-28 victory in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl in December of 2010.


Keys to a Louisville victory

—Run the ball consistently. Louisville did not run very well in the first half against FIU. For Bridgewater to get a chance to open up the passing game, the Cardinals need to run the ball effectively the entire game.

—Do not allow big plays. Big plays give weaker teams a chance to upset the best teams.

—Finish well. Louisville cannot be complacent with an early lead; they must play a complete game. 


Game predictions

I predict Louisville will be ready for Southern Miss on both sides of the ball. Florida International was a wake-up call for Louisville. Southern Miss will be treating this game as their bowl game.

Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright will have another chance for both of them to reach the 100-yard mark.

The Cards may come out slow, but in the end Louisville's talent will prevail.

Louisville wins, 44-18.


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