Southern Miss (6-6) vs. Troy (8-4)
Today, 6:15 P.M. (MT), ESPN
Announcers: Eric Collins, Shaun King
New Orleans, LA, Super Dome
Last Five Bowl Games
Southern Miss: 3-2 (Last Year: Lost to #20 Cincinnati in the Papajohns.com Bowl 21-31. 7th straight year in a Bowl)
Troy: 1-1 (First bowl appearance since '06 New Orleans Bowl in a win over Rice 41-17.)
Players to Watch
Southern Miss: DeAndre Brown, Wide Receiver
For College Football junkies across the nation, DeAndre Brown has been a player people have known about for a few years. Brown was a highly touted recruit out of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, he had offers from practically all of the SEC and many teams around the nation. But decided to go to Southern Miss where he could play right away and have an immediate impact.
Brown did have an immediate impact as he caught 66 passes this season for 1,108 yards. Tonight's game will put him as one of the household names in College Football.
Troy: Levi Brown, Quarterback
Took over mid-season for Jamie Hampton at Quarterback and has brought much needed consistency to the Trojan offense. Brown completed 62% of his passes and had a 14 TD-3 Int ratio, which was a big reason Troy finished the regular season with a 4-game winning streak.
Both Troy and Southern Miss come into this game with four-game winning streaks, Southern Miss had to win its last four games to get bowl eligible for first-year Head Coach Larry Fedora. Troy had three of its four losses come against BCS Conference schools in Ohio State who the Trojans hung around with the entire game until late where the Buckeyes pulled away. A blow-out loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater, which was revenge for the Cowboys. Then a heart-breaking loss to LSU where Troy had a 28 point lead and let it vanish in the blink of an eye, as LSU rallied in the fourth to get the win.
Troy is a very talented, athletic team that could compete at a high level with many of the "Non-BCS" leagues, and they are looking to put their mark as the Sun Belt's elite program with a solid win over a Southern Miss program who has been a measure of consistency for the past decade.
The Golden Eagles this season had four losses by seven points or less, and even competed at home with undefeated, offensive juggernaut Boise State at home holding to the Broncos to just 24 points in the loss.
Both teams have many players returning in 2009, so this is your typical springboard type game for some Pre-Season buzz the following year.
I give the edge to Troy who has been tested by some talented ball clubs and held their own. Southern Miss down the stretch in their four-game winning streak has played some mediocre teams with the only exception being C-USA Champion, East Carolina who the Golden Eagles beat 21-3.
Look for Troy's defensive front seven to bring a lot of pressure on Southern Miss' Austin Davis to lead the Trojans to a victory and a nine-win season, the first in school history.
Troy 21 Southern Miss 13
Excitement Level (1 to 5): 2