Heart of Dallas
Washington has some nice wins, but consistency was always a problem with this team throughout the season en route to a 6-6 record. The Huskies take on Southern Miss in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, who just lost in the C-USA title Game. Still, the Huskies at 4-5 in Pac-12 play, opened as a large -8.5 point favorite as seen at betonline Sportsbook.
Washington closed the season with back-to-back huge wins, 52-7 at Oregon State and then 45-10 against Washington State in the finale. However, every Game wasn’t so easy for the Huskies. OUtside of a win at USC (when the Trojans were a mess), they couldn’t really beat any of the significant Pac-12 teams. And so, they finished 4-5 in Conference play.
Southern Miss definitely has what it takes to put up a fight and they’ll definitely be glad to play this Game after having three wins in 2014. The Golden Eagles went on a dominant run late in the season with six-straight wins before losing to Western Kentucky in the Conference title Game. They showed their worth in close non-Conference Games against Mississippi State and Nebraska.
In Washington’s Four Conference wins, they held their opponents to a combined 32 points. For the Huskies to win, they’ll need to hold down a high-powered Southern Miss attack.
Quarterback Nick Mullens has been great for the Golden Eagles this year, with 39 total TDs and 12 INTs. Interceptions have been a problem against better teams and that showed up when he tossed three picks against WKU last Game. Mullens has a few targets that he uses, but Michael Thomas (1,201 yards, 12 TDs) is his favorite receiver. Facing UW will be no easy task, though. USM will need to get their running Game going through Jalen Richard (1,098 yards, 14 TDs) and Ito Smith (1,088 yards, 8 TDs). But despite moving the ball on the ground against the Hilltoppers, it still wasn’t enough.
The other side of the ball may be the bigger question for both teams. Southern Miss has had some good defensive outings, but against better offenses, hasn’t shown much. They allowed 45 points to WKU last Game.
Washington’s offense is a question though, scoring just under 30 points per Game on the year. True freshman quarterback Jake Browning has been good, but not great. Most of his numbers came from blowout wins, but when faced against a better defense, has struggled. LUckily for him, Southern Miss can be beat, although it won’t be easy. The Huskies will ride freshman running back Myles Gaskin as much as possible early on like they have in recent wins. Gaskin has 265 yards and two touchdowns in the last two Games.
The Huskies are large favorites here, but it may not be a good idea to sleep on the Golden Eagles, who will be plenty motivated playing in their first bowl Game since 2011.
The Golden Eagles have covered in their last six non-Conference Games, while the only Husky trends point to the under (5-1 last six non-Conference Games).
Our Pick – Washington -8.5