Kansas Jayhawks (1-1, 1-1 ATS) at Southern Miss Golden Eagles (1-1, 0-1 ATS), Week 3 College Football, Friday September 17th, 8:00PM Eastern M.M Roberts Stadium Hattiesburg, M.S.
By Jay Horne, Professional Sports Handicapper of Predictem.com
Point Spread: KU +4/S.Miss -4
So after week 2 of college football, I would like to know if anybody has the Kansas Jayhawks figured out yet? If you would like me to bring you up to date, the Jayhawks were upset by the North Dakota State Bison out of the NCAA FCS 6-3 in their opener in what was arguably the worse defeat in school history. While many thought Kansas would be forgotten for the rest of the 2010 season, the Jayhawks bounced back last week with an impressive 28-25 victory over the no. 15 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Not only did the Jayhawks redeem themselves, but they also looked like a totally different team throughout the game on both sides of the ball.
The question now is what team will show up this week when the Jayhawks take their first road trip out to Hattiesburg to battle with the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. Southern Miss suffered a disappointing loss to South Carolina in their opener before breezing by Prairie View A&M last week 34-7. The Golden Eagles are expected to challenge for tops in Conference USA this season and a very interesting battle waits when Kansas rolls into town. The Golden Eagles were outmatched by speed and power against an SEC power in their opener, but their meeting with Kansas should be a better precursor of what is to come considering this will be very similar to the type teams they play for the rest of the season.
The Kansas offense came to life last week behind QB Jordan Webb who tossed 3 touchdown passes with a total of 179 yards through the air. Now the Jayhawks may not be the heavily favored passing teams of years past, in fact they prefer establishing the run upfront. However, the passing game must be able to be effective if their running game is going to be reliable and that is exactly what Webb was able to accomplish against Georgia Tech. Jayhawks running back James Sims carried the ball for 17 times while racking up 101 yards against the Georgia Tech defense last week. It was Simms first taste of action this season after the freshman did not take a snap in the opening loss. However, with the added consistency coming from the ground it should ensure that Simms will get a lot of action again next week. The Jayhawks will need that balance to remain effective offensively going forward.
Also, Kansas perhaps biggest playmaker is their utility player in Daymond Patterson. Patterson is used in a variety of ways whether it be running the ball out of the back field or moving outside to catch the football through the air. Either way he is the Jayhawks difference maker when big plays are needed. Patterson caught 7 passes for 85 yards last week including a big game changing 32 yard touchdown pass as well. The Golden Eagles defense must know where Patterson is lining up every play throughout the game if they plan on preventing any big plays.
Southern Miss has a fairly solid defense that kept Prairie View A&M to just 211 total yards last week. The Golden Eagles defense is an experienced group that can be very disciplined as well. They do a good job at keeping the ball in front of them preventing big plays. Thus it takes a patient offense to have success against the Golden Eagles defense. It will be interesting to see if the young Jordan Webb keeps his poise and does not try to force the ball into spots that could turn into Golden Eagle interceptions.
The Golden Eagles offense is led by a strong passing force led by junior WR DeAndre Brown. Brown is perhaps the best wide out in Conference USA and is coming off a 100 yard performance on just 5 catches from a week ago. Targeting Brown will be QB Austin Davis. Davis is the best throwing quarterback on the team and completed 11 of 18 passing for 178 yards last week.
However, the Golden Eagles will also let QB Martevious Young get into the action as well. Young is a bit more inconsistent than Davis, but also gives more of a dual threat behind center with his rushing capabilities. However, the Kansas defense proved last week that they could stop rushing quarterbacks when they shut down Georgia Tech QB Josh Nesbitt to just 33 yards last week. Nesbitt is perhaps the best rushing quarterback in America so I’m assuming we will see much more of Davis trying to spread the ball out down field for the Golden Eagles offensive attack.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Alright, so I went against Kansas last week by underestimating the rush defense. However, their pass defense is still plenty questionable and that is where their main problems will be in 2010. Kansas will have to prove it to me again because taking down a top ACC team is obviously not too difficult. Take Southern Miss -4