Here are The Daily Dragon’s staff predictions for the week nine game at Southern Miss.
The Blazers travel to Brett Favre country and face the Golden Eagles of Southern Miss who currently are tied for first place in the Conference USA Western Division. UAB comes off a shocking road overtime loss to previously win-less Charlotte. The Green and Gold currently sit at 4-3 (2-2) with five games remaining. A win last week would of had the Blazers tied for first place in the division and could of separated itself from Southern Miss with a win this week. Instead, the Blazers will look to win this week and have North Texas drop another conference game to create some Conference USA chaos. Before the season I predicted UAB would win this game and I really did not expect the Golden Eagles to look as good as they have. I thought the loss of quarterback Nick Mullens would have hurt the offense, but they really haven’t missed a beat. Ito Smith can run the football plain and simple. The dude is a baller and has that break away potential on any given run. Southern Miss has plenty of receivers they throw to and are not afraid to air it out. This is going to be a challenge for the Blazers defense. For UAB, no matter what happens they can not coast in the second half on offense. They must act like the game is 0-0 and the second half of the North Texas game. Complacency finally caught up with the Blazers last week at Charlotte. I picked UAB before the season, but after last week not sure how I can stick with that pick. Southern Miss is going with the blackout this weekend, so let’s hope that comes back and bites them in the butt. UAB can certainly win this game, I’m just not sure what team will show up.
Prediction: Southern Miss 35 UAB 24
You want your team to view every game as a must-win, but in this case Saturday’s game in Hattiesburg is in fact a must-win. UAB’s margin of error became razor thin with the terrible loss at Charlotte last week. A win against Southern Miss puts UAB one game closer to bowl eligibility and keeps them in the Conference USA West division title race. In my opinion, UAB’s defense played well enough last week to get the win on the road. Southern Miss will be better in every facet of the game than Charlotte, and we’ll have to be up to the tall task. If we can contain Ito Smith and the run game, I like our chances. UAB has still yet to put two halves of good football together, and what better time to do it than on our rival’s home field. I’d expect UAB to be even more reliant on our running game than we have up to this point. A healthy dose of Spencer Brown, Donnie Lee, and James Noble is what we need.
Prediction: UAB 24 Southern Miss 21
Let’s just say I was less than pleased with the effort from UAB football against Charlotte last Saturday. I think everyone was, including the players and coaching staff. My hope is that it at least woke this team up so they will play more inspired football in Hattiesburg on Saturday. The loss to Charlotte has really hijacked this season, but a win at Southern Miss would put them right back on track. It sounds as if Southern Miss running back Ito Smith could miss this game, which would be huge for UAB. But the Golden Eagles have several play-makers on offense. Either way this will be a tall task for our defense, and as I usually say, they’ll need to keep them under 30 points to give our offense a chance. My hope is that our running back, Spencer Brown, is 100 percent and carries the ball 20-plus times in this one. The only way I see us winning this game is if we wear them down by running the football 40-plus times. Of course, those runs have to be effective runs, both up the middle and on the perimeter. I do think the Blazers play much better football this Saturday — it can’t be worse — and I certainly think they have the ability to pull off the upset.
Prediction: UAB 31 Southern Miss 28