Sun Belt Conference Preview: Southern Miss vs. Texas State

At the midway point of the season, the Golden Eagles have matched their win total from a year ago.

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles travel to San Marcos, TX on Saturday to take on the Bobcats of Texas State. Kickoff is set for 4 PM (CST).

The Golden Eagles are coming off a one-point, 20–19 homecoming victory over Arkansas State last Saturday night, while Texas State is coming off a close 17–14 loss to Troy.

The Golden Eagles will be seeking their fourth win of the season, something they haven't done since the 2019 season. They showed grit in their win over Arkansas State, coming from behind and scoring twice in the 4th quarter while holding the Red Wolves scoreless to secure victory.

QB Zach Wilcke was 11 of 20 passing (55%) for 132 yards and a touchdown (to WR Jason Brownlee) against Arkansas State. But he threw two INTs.

Through six games this season, Wilcke has passed for just 792 yards and six TDs, to go along with six INTs. He is completing 57% of his passes as a true freshman.

The Golden Eagles have played four different players at the quarterback position so far this season, including RB Frank Gore, Jr. Ty Keyes, named the starter at the beginning of the season, is out for the year with an injury.

Gore has rushed for 477 yards and four touchdowns so far this season. He posted 96 yards rushing and a score against Arkansas State.

On defense, the Golden Eagles have shown flashes of the glory days of the “Nasty Bunch” and are ranked in the Top 20 nationally in:

  • Sacks (22) #11 in the FBS.
  • Tackles For Loss (50) #11 in the FBS.
  • INTs (8) #20 in the FBS.

They held Arkansas State to a paltry 50 yards rushing. They recorded four sacks for the fifth consecutive game and posted nine tackles for loss. And they held the Red Wolves to 286 total yards.

Malik Shorts and Santrell Latham are the leaders on this unit, with 46 and 42 tackles respectively.

The Bobcats offense is led by QB Layne Hatcher. Hatcher has completed 63% of his passes for 1695 yards and 14 touchdowns, with seven INTs. Hatcher passed for 207 yards and a touchdown in the loss to Troy.

His favorite target is WR Ashtyn Hawkins (49 catches, 479 yards, 6 TDs). However, Hawkins has only scored one receiving touchdown in his last three games.

Texas State is somewhat one-dimensional and do not have a good rushing attack. They have rushed for just 671 yards and only 4 rushing TDs as a team through their seven games.

They’ve averaged 2.90 yards per carry this season and haven’t rushed for over 100 yards in a game since rushing for 106 yards in a win over Appalachian State three weeks ago and haven’t rushed for five or more yards per carry since week 2.

On the Bobcats defense, DL Levi Bell and LB Jordan Revels have combined for 80 tackles, 8 sacks, and 17 tackles for loss. The Golden Eagles offensive line will be tested.

These two teams have met only twice before, with series tied at 1–1. The Golden Eagles won a high-scoring affair back in 2015 with a 55–50 victory.

In 2013, the Bobcats came out on top with a 22–15 win.

Southern Miss is a -1.5 favorite in this game. Look for the Southern Miss defense to shine on Saturday, and the Golden Eagle offense to do just enough to get their fourth win of the season.

Final Score: Southern Miss 24 — Texas State 21

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Tony Thomas

I’m an aspiring writer, grandparent, military veteran, and college football junkie. I operate the website Email: