The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


Southern Miss vs Mississippi State preview and prediction


Southern Miss football hits the road for the final time in the 2023 season with a trip up north to Starkville to take on Mississippi State in the first meeting between the two schools since 2019.

The Golden Eagles (3-7, 2-5 Sun Belt Conference) look for victory for a boost of morale in an otherwise lackluster season after so much high hope coming into the season. However, if the Golden Eagles can beat the Bulldogs (4-6, 1-6 SEC), that sour taste will disappear with one sweet-tasting victory.

“I don’t know if you can be any more excited to play a game than we can be as a collective unit in this game,” Southern Miss head coach Will Hall said at the team’s practice on Tuesday.

Even with all the excitement, the Golden Eagles know what challenge is ahead for them on Saturday. Historically speaking, the series between Southern Miss and Mississippi State is neck and neck, with the Bulldogs holding a 15-14-1 advantage.

But recent data has shown that Mississippi State has dominated this series, given that USM has not beaten the Bulldogs since Ronald Reagan was President in 1988.

Further, Southern Miss has not won a game in Starkville since 1980; for those wondering history buffs, that is when Jimmy Carter was President.

The last time Southern Miss went to Starkville, it didn’t go so hot, even though it was over 100 degrees on the field when the Golden Eagles lost 38-15 in 2019.

Southern Miss is 6-10-1 in games played in Starkville.

This year feels different than 2014, 2015, and even 2019. For starters, given how late in the year, this game feels so unappealing in the most unusual way. This is the latest the Golden Eagles have played a non-conference game since finishing up the 2007 regular season with a 16-10 home victory over Arkansas State.

Mississippi State has just fired their head coach earlier this week, and USM is in a very underwhelming year. MSU named Greg Knox their interim head coach, and Hall has developed a good relationship with him.

“I got to know Coach Knox when I was young,” Hall said. “He’s always been really good to me and I think the world of him. He’s a college football lifer that’s always treating people with respect and has always been good to me.”

This game feels like Mississippi State is just slumping into the game, trying to salvage bowl eligibility. For USM, this might be their Super Bowl; they are not playing for a bowl game but rather a chance to finally beat the Bulldogs.

“We got a tremendous opponent this week. Really, really old team,” Hall said. “One of the oldest teams I’ve ever coached against. Nine senior starters on the offense, eight senior starters on defense. Lot of guys that have played a lot of football at the elite conference in this country. It’s a tremendous opportunity for us. It’s a game that matters so much to our people.”

There are a few things to remember for Southern Miss before they take the field against the Bulldogs

Who will start at QB?

Both MSU and USM have quarterback questions coming into the game. USM’s question remains about who will play quarterback on Saturday between Billy Wiles and freshman Ethan Crawford.

If Crawford were to play on Saturday, that would forgo his redshirt and an extra year of eligibility in College Football.

Hall and the program have been utterly quiet on this issue, which gives me a hunch that USM fans will see Crawford on the field against the Bulldogs.

For MSU, the Bulldogs hope to return Will Rodgers, the school’s all-time leading passer, from injury. If not, there are two other quarterbacks in Mike Wright or freshman Chris Parson.

How will Mississippi State respond to losing their head coach?

Coming into this week, all USM fans had this eager excitement for the game this weekend, giving them hope that they could win it on Saturday.

The Arnett news changed all that and added a unique mystery to the game. Will that be the spark for Mississippi State to end the season that they need? Or will it tank the rest of their season ahead of USM and next versus Ole Miss?

USM does not expect too much to come from the firing of Arnett, but the questions remain and something to watch on Saturday.

Score prediction

Mississippi State 31, Southern Miss 20: I feel like this game will be the typical SEC vs Southern Miss game. The game is very close until halftime when the opponent generally starts slipping away. I expect the game to be within one score up until late, when MSU gets a late touchdown to bring the score to double digits.

PICK: USM +17.5, OVER 46.5

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