Heart of Dallas Bowl – Washington Huskies (-8.5) versus Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Posted: December 31, 2015 in College football, Football
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Not only is this the first appearance in the Heart of Dallas bowl for each school, but this is also the first all-time meeting. This is Southern Miss’ first bowl since 2011 and they’re 8-6 SU/7-6-1 ATS in their last 14 bowl games. Head coach Todd Monken is coaching is first bowl game. Washington is bowling for the sixth straight season and lost to Oklahoma State, 30-22 (-6) in last years Cactus Bowl in head coach Chris Petersen’s first year at the helm with the Huskies. Prior to joining Washington, Peterson was 5-2 SU/ATS in bowls at Boise State.

It looked to be a rebuilding year for Washington, as they lost a lot of talent to the NFL and returned just nine starters. True freshman quarterback Jake Browning has had a fine season, along with another true freshman in running back Myles Gaskin (enters with three straight 100+ yard games). With youth comes inconsistency and that is what Washington has displayed, but they have an elite defense as they held four of their foes to either their lowest or second lowest yards total and are No. 10 in the FBS holding their foes to 99 yards per game below their season average. The offense turned the corner late as they are averaging 491 yards per game, including 218 (4.4) rushing yards per game their last three games.

For years you could count on Southern Miss being bowl eligible as they had gone 19 straight years without a losing season before 2012! In his third year, head coach Monken has done a great job and the Golden Eagles were a money machine this year at 10-3 ATS. As expected they split their four non-conference games, losing to both Power-five conference teams, then crushed North Texas and out-gained Marshall in a loss. They then reeled off six straight wins, including going on the road and crushing Louisiana Tech for the CUSA West Division title, before losing to Western Kentucky in the CUSA Championship game. They are No. 15 in the FBS averaging 100 yards per game more than their foes allow & quarterback Nick Mullens has had nine game with 300+ passing yards, including one over 400.

Southern Miss enters this game having out-gained their opponents by 156 yards per game, while Washington has out-gained their opponents by just 38 yards per game. However, the Golden Eagles have played one of the easiest schedules in the country, while the Huskies play in the deepest conference in the nation. Southern Miss has not played a team that has a defense as tough as Washington and they played just five bowl teams, while the Huskies played 10. Against those five bowl teams, the Golden Eagles only won once and their losses were by an average of 16 points per game. Washington maybe a young team, but they have gotten better as the season has progressed.


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