2008 New Orleans Bowl Preview and Pick – Souther Miss Golden Eagles vs. Troy Trojans

Southern Miss Golden Eagles (6-6) +4, O/U 55 vs. Troy Trojans (8-4)
New Orleans Bowl, Superdome, New Orleans, L.A., Dec 21st 8:15PM Eastern

By Jay Horne of Predictem.com

The Troy Trojans make their 2nd trip to the New Orleans Bowl in the last 3 years when they battle the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. Troy won the Sun Belt Conference this season while the Golden Eagles finished the season at the .500 mark at 6-6. The New Orleans Bowl should be an exciting game to watch featuring two offenses that love to post points on the scoreboard.

Southern Miss closed out the season on a strong note winning their last 4 games with an impressive victory over Conference USA Champions East Carolina. The Golden Eagles struggled around mid-season point losing 5 straight games. Southern Miss stepped up their defensive play in the latter part of the season allowing no more than 14 points by any team in their final 4 games. The Golden Eagle offense ranks as one of the top 20 offenses in college football tallying in at 434 yards of total offense per game. Southern Miss also put up a strong 30 points per game this season and will try to overcome a talented Trojan team.


Troy ranks in the top 30 overall on offense and defense. The Trojans held teams to 20 points per game ranking them in the top half of the country while only allowing 320 yards of total offense. Offensively, Troy maintains a balanced attack that has been effective on the ground as well as through the air. The Trojans have averaged 33 points a game this season with 421 yards of total offense. Troy won 3 of their final 4 games and remember they had LSU down 31-3 before the Tigers came back to win 40-31. Troy is a solid football team and they will try to overpower the Golden Eagles offensive and defensive fronts.

Las Vegas has the betting line favoring Troy by 4 points over the Golden Eagles. Early bettors have favored the Trojans ATS. Keep an eye on this line because it will likely move up the closer we get to the game. The over/under total has been set at the 55 point mark. The over/under should be interesting considering these two teams have been on both sides of the over/under totals all season.

Southern Miss has a trio of play makers at key positions that lead at equally dangerous rushing and passing attack. QB Austin Davis has had a solid season throwing for 2,852 yards, with 21 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. Davis has found comfort throwing the ball to star wide receiver DeAndre Brown. Brown has caught 66 passes for 1,108 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Golden Eagles have also established a strong running game behind tailback Damion Fletcher. Fletcher has rushed for 1235 yards this season with 9 touchdowns. The junior running back also sports a 6.1 yards per carry average and has become a lethal threat in the Golden Eagles offense. Watch for QB Austin Davis to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers in effort to defeat the Trojans.

Troy has very talented running back of their own in sophomore DuJuan Harris. Harris has handled the ball 190 times for a 1,024 yards on the year. Harris has 5.4 yards per carry average and has accounted for 11 touchdowns this season. Troy started the season with QB Jamie Hampton behind center, but Hampton tore an ACL midway through the season and is out for the year. Stepping in behind him is junior Levi Brown. Brown has been superb this season in relief. On the year, Brown has completed 62% of his passes for 1,775 yards, with 14 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions. Browns ability to hold onto the football has played a major role in the Trojans success this season.

Betting Trends
Troy has gone 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games while reaching the under total in 4 of those 6 games as well. The Trojans are 6-2 SU in their previous 8 games. On the other side of the ball, Southern Miss is 4-1 ATS and 4-1 SU in their last 5 games. As noted earlier, due to the Golden Eagles defense which closed out the year strong their games resulted in under totals for the last 3 games by a good margin.

Jays Pick: I would have to go with Troy in this one, they’re just better on both sides of the ball. Take Troy -4.