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Hawaii Bowl: Nevada vs. Southern Miss

Present Iteration: The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
Past Iterations: ConAgra Foods Hawaii Bowl
Toasting Town: Honolulu, Hawaii
Vintage: 2002
Combatants: Nevada (7-5) vs. Southern Miss (11-2)
Holiday Equivalent: Travelling halfway across the world to stay in a Sheraton

For just the fourth time in the bowl’s history, this isn’t a glorified home game for Hawaii.

Nevada Wolfpack [SRS 56]
Best Wins: Hawaii (86), Fresno St (88)
Losses: Oregon (4), Boise State (8), Louisiana Tech (45), Texas Tech (62) Utah State (67)
Famous Alum: Robert Hale Merriman

The Wolfpack lost Colin Kapernick and their schedule make did them no favors. They began the season with four-straight road games, including trips to Oregon and Boise State. Their Pistol is not firing as efficiently, though they were still a balanced, top 15 offense. Expect them to lean on the pass against a stout Southern Miss run defense. That could lead to a big game from sophomore wideout Rishard Matthews.

Southern Miss Golden Eagles [SRS 28]
Best Wins: Houston (13), Louisiana Tech (45), Virginia (68)
Losses: Marshall (90), UAB (113)
Famous Alum: Cat Cora

We saw what this team was capable of against Houston. Inexplicable road brain-farts against two bottom feeders cost them a BCS bowl game. Though, the season was still good enough to see Larry Fedora off to North Carolina. Austin Davis makes plays with his arms and feet (and his hands), and broke many of Brett Favre’s records. Their aggressive 4-2-5 defense got in Case Keenum’s grill, ranked 11th in yards allowed per play and returned eight interceptions for touchdowns in 2011.

Key: Experienced senior going against the 79th ranked total defense. Redshirt freshman going against the 11th ranked total defense. Advantage Southern Miss, on paper.

For Recreational Purposes: Travel. Time-off. Coach Leaving. Let down after a big upset. Nevada (+9)

[Photo via Getty]

 

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