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College Football Analysis: Southern Mississippi-Kansas

Southern Mississippi headed into Friday nights game against Kansas as a 6-point favorite according to NCAA Football sportsbooks and facing a Jayhawks squad that uspet then No. 15 Georgia Tech last weekend. Playing against big BCS opponents at home is something that the Golden Eagles have had much success with. Friday was no different as Southern Miss handed Kansas their second loss of the season with their 31-16 win.

The Golden Eagles (2-1) have now won ten straight at home dating back to 2008. They were led by quarterback Austin Davis who completed 19 of 24 passes for 155 yards and rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown.

“We thought this was very winnable coming in,” Davis said. “We played with the attitude we were supposed to play with and had a lot of fun out there.”

The outcome could have been worse for Kansas had Southern Miss taken advantage of some missed opportunities. They dropped two possible interceptions in the first half including one that would have resulted in a sure touchdown. The Jayhawks seemed to have gotten back on track after their upset win over Georgia Tech since losing to North Dakota State in their opener. But it seems that there is still work left to do.

“We’ve got to continue to develop our players and be able to execute,” Kansas coach Turner Gill said.

The Golden Eagles got on the board first when Jonathan Massey caught a 1-yard pass from V.J. Floyd on a trick play that put them ahead 7-0. Kansas would respond early in the second with a 37-yard field goal by Jacob Branstetter to cut the lead to 7-3. But Southern Miss would come back to score two touchdowns with less than 4 minutes to play in the first half to give them a 21-3 lead heading into halftime.

Kansas came out of intermission and cut the lead to 21-10 after Deshaun Sands scored on a 8-yard touchdown run. But Southern Miss would answer late in the period on Davis’ 1-yard run to give them their 18-point lead back. The Golden Eagles would add a field goal in the fourth but Kansas could only manage one more touchdown and could not get the comeback win.

Southern Miss controlled the game on the ground and rushed for 202 yards. They were led by Desmond Johnson who had 89 yards rushing and 1 touchdown. Defensively, they held Kansas to just 274 total yards in the win.


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