how It actually comes as a bizarre twist in what has been a bizarre 2020, but South Alabama’s trip to play Southern Miss in the opening game for both teams is actually happening during the same week as originally scheduled.
In fact, the game actually got moved up two days, even as college football teams and leagues around the country pushed their start dates back due to COVID-19 concerns.
hen: Thursday at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Legion Field — Birmingham, Alabama
The game on Thursday night is the first between FBS programs for this unusual season between Conference USA and Sun Belt teams. Fans dying for a little bit of levity get it when these two take the field in Hattiesburg. It’s also the first ever meeting between these two teams that sit just 90 miles apart. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect and make a pick for who will win.
South Alabama: The Jaguars finished the 2019 season with a 2-10 record thanks partly to a dubious 1-3 record in games decided by 10 points or fewer. But they finally found some offense late in the year when Desmond Trotter took over at quarterback.
Now back as the full-time starter in his redshirt sophomore season, Trotter will look to pick up where he left off in a season-ending win over a bowl-bound Arkansas State team last season. Trotter threw for 279 yards and four touchdowns in that game and ran for another 58 yards.
Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles are coming off their fifth straight winning season, and star quarterback Jack Abraham is returning to lead the team once again. Abraham threw for 3,496 yards last season and even cobbled together respectable outings in losses to SEC foes Mississippi State and Alabama.
But it’s not all roses for Southern Miss. For one, the lack of spring practice kept the team from a getting an early grasp on the systems of new coordinators on both sides of the ball. The Golden Eagles also received bad news in preseason camp when four key players announced their plans to opt out of the season and transfer. Southern Miss still has a decent bit of continuity under fifth-year coach Jay Hopson, but there are plenty of questions, too.
The South Alabama Jaguars and the Southern Miss Golden Eagles are opening their 2020 seasons against one another at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday at Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium. Returning after a rocky 2-10 year, South Alabama is aiming to prove that the past does not define them. While Southern Miss was not exactly top dog last season, they did wrap up the year with a winning record of 7-6.
A couple last-season offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Jaguars ranked 12th worst in the nation with respect to passing yards per game last year, where the team accrued only 158.8 on average (bottom 92%).
The Golden Eagles experienced some struggles of their own as they were 10th worst when it came to rushing yards per game last year, with the squad coming up with only 117.5 on average. Looks like yards on the ground might be a bit hard to come by this week.How To Watch Series History.This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last five years.
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