Scout.com Preview: USM

Scout.com 

Southern Miss (1-0) at Auburn (1-0)  12:30 EST, GamePlan
Why to watch: The Larry Fedora era got off to a rousing start at Southern Miss as the Golden Eagles destroyed UL Lafayette 51-21 with 633 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, the Tony Franklin era got off to a rousing start at Auburn as the new offensive coordinator’s attack ripped off 406 yards of total offense in a 34-0 win over UL Monroe. Now that the two teams have dispensed with the Sun Belt, they’ll play an important game for each team. The Tigers kick off SEC play next week against Mississippi State and face LSU in two weeks. Any and all bugs have to be worked out of the system by then. Meanwhile, Southern Miss can make a huge splash for itself, as well as for Conference USA, if everything works out perfectly and Damion Fletcher and the boys can pull off the upset. Outside of Boise State, there isn’t a team on the schedule for the Golden Eagles to worry about until a mid-November date at UCF.
Why Southern Miss might win: Auburn can’t throw the ball. At least, its passing game is still suspect with the running game used to get the offense moving. The Tigers have been able to get away with a mediocre passing attack for the last few years, and while the Golden Eagles have a strong secondary, All-America LB Gerald McRath and the boys should be able to focus all of their attention on stopping the run. While that might sound good in theory …
Why Auburn might win: USM got run over last week. It was a 30-point win, but giving up 263 yards on the ground isn’t a plus. While running the ball is all UL Lafayette can do, the Golden Eagle defense still had a few problems early on and failed to generate any push in the backfield. Auburn’s offensive line is among the best in America and should be able to dominate from the start. When the Tigers do try to throw the ball, the quarterback won’t have much of a problem. What is an issue is …
Who to watch
: … who the starting quarterback will actually be. Kodi Burns is the better overall threat for the running aspect of the spread offense, but Chris Todd is the better passer. Burns suffered a major cut on his leg against ULM in the third quarter, and now Todd has been named the starter, for this week, at least, after completing nine of 18 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown with an interception.  Burns completed four of nine passes for 15 yards, but he ran for 69 yards. For Southern Miss, all eyes will be on Fletcher, who tore off 232 yards and two touchdowns on just 21 carries against ULL.     
What will happen: Each defense will dominate for the first 20 minutes or so, and then the Auburn offensive line will take over. The Tiger offense might not be pretty, but it’ll look far better than a USM attack that’ll do next to nothing in the passing gagame.
CFN Prediction: Auburn 26 … Southern Miss 7 … Line: Auburn -18.5
Must See Rating: (5 Entourage premiere - 1 One Tree Hill premiere) … 2.5

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