clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Southern Miss Q&A With Jeremy Adcock Of Underdog Dynasty

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Well well well... here we are again. In just over 24 hours, your Nebraska Cornhuskers look to make their record an even 2-2 on the year as they welcome the Southern Miss Golden Eagles into Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

The Golden Eagles just got done with a shootout victory over the Texas State Bobcats by the score of 56-50, making them 2-1 on the year.

We wanted to know more about the Golden Eagles, so we contacted our man Jeremy Adcock, who writes about Southern Miss for the SBNation Group of 5 site Underdog Dynasty. He gave us some good answers, and we thank him for his help and invite you to head over to UD to check out their thoughts on the game as well.


1. Well, a 2-1 record with playing fairly well versus Mississippi St. for Southern Miss is not the worst start you could imagine for the Golden Eagles, no? What’s the mindset around this team right now as they head to Lincoln?

The mindset for Southern Miss heading into Lincoln is to go in and play well with no injuries. This chance at an upset is big to the team, but staying healthy and in line to make a bowl is by far the most important goal this season. The coaching staff knew that there would be more talent on the field, but that season opener versus Mississippi State proved that this team is confident and ready to perform.

2. Nick Mullens has gone on a 61% clip for just over 900 yards so far this year, including a 4 TD performance vs. Texas State last week. Talk about what you could see with Mullens with a Nebraska Secondary that has had fits so far this year.

Mullens was pushed to his limit by TCU transfer Tyler Matthews in the offseason for the starting job. Since earning the job, he has been smart with the football, rarely making a bad decision. Mullens will do most of his damage in the short passing game, but an occasional 20 yard pass down the seam is in the game plan. Basically, dink and dump the ball downfield to frustrate the secondary until a deep ball is available.

3. Jalen Richard had a monster game last week with 230 yards rushing. That being said, he does not have the bigger yards per carry average, as that goes to Ito Smith who had a good week versus Austin Peay. Who should we see more come Saturday, and can you tell us the difference between the two, if there is any.

Jalen Richard is more of the one cut, hit the hole and run type of back. At 5-8, 210, Richard is a bowling ball of a back that will not make many players miss, but will get the tough yards. Smith is the most dynamic running back with the ability to break any run. He was the most explosive running the ball versus Mississippi State. Smith is also dangerous in the passing game with an 18.9 yards per catch average. Michigan transfer Justice Hayes has been easing into the offense and could see more carries this week. My best guess is 15 carries for Richard, 12 for Smith, and 5 or so for Hayes.

4. I counted 13 different pass catchers for the Eagles, who are led by two so far in double figures in DJ Thompson and Casey Martin. Tell us about who are the big threats when Mullens wants to toss the rock.

Slot receiver Casey Martin and wideout DJ Thompson are willing to find the open spots in zone coverage in catching the short passes from Mullens. Michael Thomas and Korey Robertson are both big-bodied receivers that love to get downfield for the long ball. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mullens find his tight ends after finding lots of success versus Mississippi State. They have gone away from the tight ends in recent weeks, but with Ricky Parks and Taylor Marnini getting more involved, the passing dynamic for the Golden Eagles becomes much more explosive.

5. This Defense has done fairly well, save last week where Texas State almost went yard for yard with USM’s Offense, including allowing the Bobcats to go 9 for 15 on 3rd down. With the way Nebraska has shown the ability to run and pass the ball, what worries you and keeps you sane about the matchup this weekend?

Stopping the run game is the biggest worry for this game. More specifically, the quarterback running the football is a nightmare. Versus Texas State, the Golden Eagles were repeatedly gouged by quarterback runs. When they struggle to stop the run game, they cannot get off of the field. The secondary, with four capable safeties and two returning starters at cornerback, keep me sane. They will give up some plays, but find a way to tighten up in the red zone. The defense will give up at least 28 points, but should have a better performance than last week.

6. The last time Southern Miss visited Lincoln in 2012, little did we know that it would be the only season for Ellis Johnson, which was 0-12 and issues with players like Anthony Alford. Enter Todd Monken and a little better 3-9 season last year, but the Eagles could very well get to a bowl this season with this start. What has Monken done to give such a turnaround so quickly?

Transfers. Lots and lots of transfers. At the beginning of fall camp, the Golden Eagles had 33 players on their roster that did not start at the school. Half of the secondary, two linebackers, and half of the defensive line are FBS or JUCO transfers. The kicking game has improved with Ragin’ Cajuns transfer Steven Brauchle. Martin, Parks, and Marini from the receiving corps and Hayes from the group of running backs are all transfers as well. The coaching staff is going for broke this season with so many transfers and it has already paid off.

7. Going along with the question above, what are the worries that Monken gets plucked and USM has to start anew with another HC?

Right now, the worries are very low. There was a strong rumor heading into this season that if Monken had another below .500 season, he could be out of a job. What he has done so far is masterful, but I have to believe that another program would want to see him do it again in 2016 before plucking him away.

8. How many are making the trip from Hattiesburg to Lincoln for this game? And do you wish that Nebraska/USM got to play that game in the Superdome?

Southern Miss is a great traveling fan base. I would not be surprised to see 5,000+ make their way to Lincoln. A matchup in the Superdome would easily bring a huge crowd from the Southern Miss side. Many bowl pundits believe that if they can get to bowl eligibility at 6-6, the New Orleans Bowl will salivate for a Louisiana-Southern Miss bowl game. It would have been a great game for the fanbase, but Nebraska would have been able to play a game in a talent heavy area and maybe steal a recruit or two from the area.

9. Tell us about anyone else that we haven’t mentioned yet from above to watch for in Saturday’s game.

I have to give some love to the offensive line. Center Cameron Tom is the leader of an offensive line that has the same starting five in all three games so far. Their play versus the Nebraska front seven will determine the game.

10. Alright, prediction time. Tell us how you think the game will go, and who will be victorious.

As much as I would love to pull for the upset, I think it will go in similar fashion to the Mississippi State game. The Golden Eagles will give the Nebraska offense fits, but will tire in the second half with Nebraska pulling away. My guess is Nebraska 38, Southern Miss 21.