This years R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl features two teams that have won the New Orleans Bowl in recent years. The Southern Miss Eagles won this bowl game in 2004 and in 2005. While the Troy Trojans won this bowl game in 2006 over Rice. Now these two teams meet in the 7th annual New Orleans Bowl. The Eagles of Southern Miss enter with a record of 6-6 and the Trojans enter with an 8-4 record.
The Troy Trojans enter this bowl game having won two straight games over Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State both of which were blowouts. The Trojans started the season off with two straight wins before losing to Ohio State and Oklahoma State.
They went on to then win three straight games before getting knocked off in a 31-30 loss to conference rival Louisiana-Monroe. They would then blow a big second half lead to No. 20 LSU and lose a game they should have won. The Trojans now enter this bowl game facing a tough challenge in the potent Southern Miss offense.
The Southern Miss Eagles started off the year 2-2 with losses to Auburn and Marshall. The Eagles then ended up losing four straight games following the Marshall loss and had to win out to qualify for a bowl game. They did exactly that. The Eagles ended up winning their last four games with the closest win being an 11 point victory.
Both squads feature potent offenses but I would have to lead toward Southern Miss in terms of having a better all around offense. The Eagles feature freshman quarterback Austin Davis who has performed like an experienced signal caller for the Eagles. Davis has thrown for 2852 yards, 21 TD's and eight Int's.
They also have a good rushing attack led by junior tailback Damion Fletcher who has rushed for 1235 yards and nine TD's. But the offensive firepower doesn't stop there for the Eagles. They also feature a great freshman wide receiver in DeAndre Brown. Brown was highly recruited out of high school and he has lived up to the hype. The 6'6 Brown has 66 cathes, 1108 yards receiving and 12 TD catches.
The Troy offense isn't too bad either as they score 33.3 points per game on offense. They are led by quarterback Levi Brown who has 1775 yards passing and 14 TD's through the air. They are not limited to the passing game though. They have running back DuJuan Harris who has 1025 yards rushing and 11 TD's on the ground.
Now, time for my prediction. I think that Southern Miss has been on a roll as of late by winning four straight games. One factor that I think will be key in this ball game is the sometimes over aggresive play calling by Troy because they have thrown the ball 45 times or more three times this year including a game where Levi Brown threw 70 passes.
In the end I think that Austin Davis will out-duel Levi Brown and pick apart the Troy defense. Troy doesn't have a great cover corner like former Trojan, now NFLer Leodis McKelvin to man up on the 6'6" Brown.
Final Prediction: Southern Miss is able to force turnovers and score off of those turnovers. The combination of Austin Davis and DeAndre Brown will be too much for Troy.
Final Score: Southern Miss 31, Troy 21