Preview: Washington at Southern Mississippi

When: 2:20 PM ET, Saturday, December 26, 2015
Where: Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, Texas




ZAXBY'S HEART OF DALLAS BOWL STORYLINES

1. Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl is the location for the first postseason game between Pac-12 and Conference USA teams when Washington meets Southern Miss on Dec. 26 at the historic Cotton Bowl. The Huskies needed wins over Oregon State and Washington State in the season’s final two weeks to become bowl eligible and play in the postseason for a sixth straight season. Led by third-year head coach Todd Monken and quarterback Nick Mullens, the Golden Eagles were the most improved program in FBS this season (six more wins than last season) and qualified for their first bowl since 2011.

2. The Southern Miss offense has gone from scoring 19 points per game in 2014 to 40.6 points this season, scoring 50 or more a school-record five times. The Golden Eagles have broken single-season school records for completions (312), passing yards (4,263), total offensive yards (6,758), touchdowns (67), and points (528). Mullens, the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year, has completed 63.4 percent of his 483 passes for 4,145 yards and 36 TDs against 12 interceptions.

3. The Golden Eagles’ talented offense will be going up against the best defense in the Pac-12. Washington led the conference and was among the top 30 in FBS in points allowed per game (17.8), yards against (349.9) and red zone defense (77.8 percent). Cornerback Sidney Jones and safety Budda Baker earned spots on the All-Pac-12 first team, Azeem Victor led the team with 88 tackles while fellow linebackers Cory Littleton and Travis Feeney combined for 13 sacks.

TV: 2:20 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Washington --8.5

ABOUT WASHINGTON (6-6, 4-5 PAC-12): Running back Myles Gaskin, who set school freshman records with 1,121 yards and 10 touchdowns, will be the focal point of the offense. He ran for 265 yards as the Huskies outscored the Beavers and Cougars by a combined 80 points to close out the season. In his final eight games, Gaskins ran for 912 yards (5.6 per carry), but quarterback Jake Browning (62.9 percent completion, 2,671 yards, 16 TDs, 10 Interceptions) had an inconsistent season, throwing four scoring passes each in wins over Arizona and Oregon State but multiple interceptions in losses to California and Arizona State.

ABOUT SOUTHERN MISS (9-4, 7-1 C-USA): Mullens posted an historic season but he was shut down in the Conference USA championship game, throwing for only 181 yards with three interceptions in the 45-28 loss to Western Kentucky. Casey Martin is his favorite target with 74 catches for 855 yards and seven TDs, but Michael Thomas is the deep threat, grabbing 62 balls for 1,201 yards and 12 scores. The Golden Eagles’ run game is also potent, as senior Jalen Richard (1,098 yards rushing, 14 TDs, 5.9 yards per carry) and sophomore Ito Smith (1,088 yards rushing, eight TDs, seven yards per carry) combined for more than 2,900 yards from scrimmage and 27 scores.



PREDICTION: Washington 44, Southern Miss 28

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Washington 6-6 W2 29.5 17.8 4-3 2-3 1-2 0-0 4-5
Southern Mississippi 9-4 L1 40.6 24.2 5-1 4-3 0-0 6-1 7-2

Last Meeting

Washington Southern Mississippi
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No Previous Meeting.

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
WASH N/A
SOMIS N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
WASH N/A
SOMIS N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
WASH N/A
SOMIS N/A
TDs Player TD
WASH N/A
SOMIS N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
WASH J. Browning 62.7 2671 16 10
SOMIS N. Mullens 63.4 4145 36 12
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
WASH M. Gaskin 201 1121 5.6 10
SOMIS J. Richard 185 1098 5.9 14
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
WASH J. Mickens 50 597 11.9 2
SOMIS M. Thomas 62 1201 19.4 12
TDs Player TD
WASH M. Gaskin 10
SOMIS J. Richard 17

Quickchart Matchup

Washington Off vs  Southern Mississippi Def
388.3 yards
364.1 yards
4.2 yards/rush
4 yards/rush
7.8 yards/attempt
6.3 yards/attempt
Southern Mississippi Off vs  Washington Def
519.8 yards
349.9 yards
5.3 yards/rush
3.5 yards/rush
8.7 yards/attempt
6.5 yards/attempt

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

Washington Overall Southern Mississippi
6-6-0 W/L 9-4-0
7-5-0 ATS 10-3-0
4-8-0 O/U 5-8-0
29.5 Pts For 40.6
17.8 Pts Against 24.2
Washington A/H Southern Mississippi
2-3 W/L 5-1
3-2-0 ATS 5-1-0
1-4-0 O/U 2-4-0
22.6 Pts For 39.8
18.6 Pts Against 18.0
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