College football report on Southern Miss, Mississippi State & Ole Miss

By A.J. Giardina – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Southern Miss jumps back into Conference USA play facing a 2 and 5 Blazers team that is very dangerous.  Despite a losing record, UAB will bring a team into Hattiesburg capable of knocking off the Golden Eagles.

The Blazers are coming off a near upset of 21st ranked Mississippi State losing to the Bulldogs 29 to 24 on Saturday in Starkville.  UAB almost beat Tennessee a few weeks ago before losing a 32-29 decision in double overtime.

According to Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora, "They are much more balanced then they were last year."  He added, "They're able to run the football and throwing the ball really well this year. Defensively they're just a better team overall. They've got guys back and they're more comfortable running their scheme."

Southern Miss has posted 2 wins and 1 loss in Conference play, the Blazers are 1 and 2.

The Golden Eagles seem to have UAB's number.  In 10 previous head-to-head games, Southern Miss has rung up 9 games under the win column.  Southern miss is 4 and 0 against the Blazers in Hattiesburg.

Ole Miss receives the difficult task of hosting the Auburn Tigers Saturday evening at five in Oxford.  The Tigers leaped to the top spot in this week's BCS standings after beating LSU 24-17 in Auburn this past Saturday.

The Rebels (3-4, 1-3 SEC) dropped a 38-24 decision at Number 21 Arkansas this past weekend.  In the loss Rebels quarterback Jeremiah Masoli passed for a career-high 327 yards and three touchdowns.  He added 98 yards rushing.  Combined his 425 yards of total offense second all-time in school history for a single game.

"That loss left a bitter taste in our mouths," head coach Houston Nutt said.  "We are going to try to get some things corrected.  I liked how they got right back to work, and now we are going to have to get ready to play the number one team in America."

The Ole Miss defense will face a powerful offensive attack led by Heisman Trophy candidate Cam Newton.  The Auburn quarterback leads the SEC in rushing with 134.6 yards per game.  He's on pace to join a select group of quarterbacks to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for a 1,000 yards in a season.

Nutt said, "Our players know who they are playing.  They will see the media coverage and know how good they are.  I am more concerned about us eliminating mistakes and taking care of the ball.  In this league, we have to be ready to play everyone."

The 21st ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs go after a 6th consecutive victory Saturday at six in Starkville when the Kentucky Wildcats invade Davis Wade Stadium.

The Bulldogs (6-2, 2-2 SEC) rank first in the Southeastern Conference in time of possession (31:17), second in rushing offense (219.2 per game), second in third down conversions (47.7 percent) and third in scoring defense (17.0 ppg).

Kentucky (4-4, 1-3 SEC) piled up 423 yards of offense against Georgia this past Saturday but the Bulldogs took advantage of four Wildcat turnovers to beat Kentucky 44-31.

Mississippi State's defense must put heat on Wildcats quarterback Mike Hartline.  He threw for 353 yards and four touchdowns in the Georgia loss.

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