Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl 2010: Why Austin Davis Is a Name To Remember Despite Loss

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 22, 2010

Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl 2010: Why Austin Davis Is a Name To Remember Despite Loss

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    In the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl against the Louisville Cardinals, Austin Davis wasn't able to manufacture a win for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, but he did prove to many across the country that he's a player to watch out for next year. 

    The junior didn't have his greatest game of the season, but he still showed off just how talented he is. With his legs relatively neutralized, the quarterback still threw the ball well and even caught a touchdown pass. 

    In the game he also passed some guy named Brett Favre on the Southern Miss career touchdowns leaderboard. 

    Read on for 10 reasons that Austin Davis will be a player worth following in 2010. 

This Most Recent Performance

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    In the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, Davis came out on the wrong end of a 31-28 final score, but he still put up some big numbers in a postseason game. 

    The junior hit on 19 of his 32 passes, resulting in 205 yards and two touchdowns. His ball security throughout the game was fabulous as he neither threw an interception nor lost a fumble. 

    Davis got the Golden Eagles off to a quick start, first hitting Quentin Pierce on a 32-yard touchdown pass then watching Desmond Johnson run for a 62-yard score to put Southern Miss up 14-0 in the first quarter. 

    In the fourth quarter, he completed an eight-yard pass to Zeke Walters for a touchdown to take the lead 28-21, but watched his special teams give up the game-tying touchdown on the ensuing kickoff return. 

    Davis also ran the ball 13 times but was rather ineffective while doing so as he only picked up 16 yards. 

    Impressively, he even caught a 17-yard touchdown pass of his own. 

The Dual-Threat Aspect

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    Austin Davis has been the starting quarterback for Southern Miss for the last three years, although his sophomore season was cut short by injury. 

    In that time, we've seen him set the school record for single-season passing yards and the career record for passing touchdowns. Fans have also watched Davis run for over 1,000 yards in his tenure. 

    Dual-threat quarterbacks are always fun to watch because of the unpredictability. 

    If no one is open or if the play breaks down, they can make something happen with their legs. It's exciting to watch the quarterback tuck the ball away and scramble down the field while evading the bigger defenders. 

    Davis' success is partly based on his mobility.

To See Him Bury Brett Favre

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    After Brett Favre has toyed with us week after week in the NFL, many people have grown quite tired of the Southern Miss product. 

    I'm probably not alone in hoping that Austin Davis completely buries Brett Favre in the record books of the Golden Eagles. 

    In the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, Austin Davis passed Favre on the career passing touchdowns list by throwing his 53rd. 

    Here's to hoping that he has quite a few more during his senior year. 

The Southern Miss Offense

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    Offense is the primary reason for the success of the Southern Miss football team. 

    In 2010, the Golden Eagles ranked 15th in the nation in average points per game with 37.6 scored. They put up those points through the air and on the ground. 

    The team ranked 31st in the country in passing yards, averaging 254.8 yards per game through the air thanks to the golden arm of Austin Davis. 

    Davis also helped contribute to the 203.4 rushing yards per game, which was the 21st highest average out of all college football teams. 

His Freshman Year

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    Austin Davis' freshman season has been his most successful. After becoming the first freshman to start at quarterback for the Golden Eagles since 1991, he reeled off five consecutive 200-yard passing games. He would have nine on the season, the most by any quarterback in the program's history.

    His 3,128 passing yards set the single-season school record and his 23 passing touchdowns broke Favre's freshman mark. All in all, he set 15 Southern Miss records during the year. 

    In fact, Davis was the best freshman quarterback in the country, putting up better numbers than Boise State's Kellen Moore and Baylor's Robert Griffin III. 

    He was named to both the All-Conference USA freshman team and was an honorable mention to the freshman All-American team. 

The Success Story

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Despite his incredible high school career at West Lauderdale High School, Austin Davis was barely recruited at all. 

    In fact, he ended up only making the Southern Miss team as a walk-on in 2007. He would redshirt during his freshman year before taking over in 2008. He hasn't looked back since. 

    It's great to see unheralded players do well. It's the success story that keeps us rooting for them. 

    This story is no different. 

2010 Stats

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    2010 saw Austin Davis return to his freshman-year form as he returned from his injury-riddled sophomore season with a vengeance. 

    Leading the Golden Eagles to an 8-4 regular season record, Davis played well with both his arm and his legs. 

    The junior completed 278 of his 442 passes, good for a completion percentage of 62.9 percent. Those completions went for 3,103 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was only picked off six times on the year, earning Davis a 134.08 quarterback rating. 

    On the ground, Davis ran the football 145 times for 452 yards and 10 scores. He even caught a 17-yard touchdown pass in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl game. 

2010 Game Against Central Florida

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    If you need proof that Austin Davis can be extraordinarily successful, look no further than the 31-21 win over Central Florida during the Golden Eagles' 2010 campaign. 

    In that game, Davis completed 21 of his 34 passes for 264 yards. He also accounted for all four touchdowns with his arm. The junior also ran the ball 12 times for 41 yards. 

    Obviously, he can have some big games with his arm.

2010 Game Against Houston

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    One week after showing off his arm, Austin Davis had an even better performance with his legs. 

    Directing a 59-41 shootout win against the Houston Cougars, Davis completed 24 of his 31 passes for 293 yards and two scores. 

    Even more impressively, the junior ran 17 times, gaining an additional 111 yards on the ground. He also found paydirt four times when he kept the ball for himself. 

    Six touchdowns and 404 yards are pretty impressive total numbers. 

Returning Players Around Him

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    As good as he's been in 2010, Austin Davis will be even better next year. 

    One last reason for the prediction is the amount of returning players around him. 

    Six of his top seven receivers will be returning for the 2011 season, including Kelvin Bolden and Quentin Pierce, who combined for over 80 catches and 1,000 yards this year. 

    The only top receiver that Davis will be missing is tight end Johdrick Morris, who caught 50 passes in 2010 for almost 700 yards. 

    He'll also have the services of DeAndre Brown, who will be returning from a leg injury. 

    Additionally, Davis will be handing the ball off to the trio of Kendrick Hardy, Desmond Johnson and Tracey Lampley next year. 

    The offensive line will also return three of its five members, losing just center Cameron Zipp and right guard Alex Michael.