Golden Eagles Ready to Start Clicking

Boise State faces another tough road test this weekend in the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. Southern Mississippi has had a couple of bad home games in a row and are due.

The running back to watch in Saturday's game between Boise State and Southern Mississippi is not former Heisman candidate Ian Johnson.  Not even close.  The real star in the backfield is Southern Mississippi's Damion Fletcher.  Fletcher has exceeded the 100-yard mark this season, something Boise State backs can only look back and say "I couldn't do it." 


Fletcher has 680 yards and four touchdowns this season and sports 6.1 yards per carry average.  He's also proven to be a force in the Eagle aerial plan with 18 receptions for 166 yards and another score.


Freshman Austin Davis leads the Southern Mississippi attack and is gradually becoming more comfortable in the position.  He already has shown that he has a connection with the athletic Golden Eagle receivers, hitting 60.1% of his passes (113-188) for 965 yards and nine touchdowns.  Davis is a dual threat with 130 yards rushing as well this season.


Speaking of those receivers, Shawn Nelson (31 catches for 341 yards and three TD's) is Davis' favorite target but five-star recruit DeAndre Brown is the deep threat.  Brown has already snagged 23 catches for 370 yards and three touchdowns as well.  Damion Fletcher (18-166) and Gerald Baptiste (16-145) must also be covered tight as they are both possession receivers.


Gerald McRath is once again the defensive leader for Southern Mississippi.  McRath has amassed 55 tackles in five games and now totals 304 for his fabulous career.  Chico Hunter has 40 stops to go along with four pass breakups.  Anthony Gray is the early sacks leader with four.


Southern Mississippi placekicker Britt Barefoot is the second placekicker used this season and has booted 4-6 field goals.  Barefoot (who does not actually kick barefoot) is also a fine punter, averaging 41.6 yards per kick. 


The Golden Eagles blasted Louisiana-Lafayette 51-21 in the season opener and played Auburn close before losing 27-13.  They then tipped Arkansas State 27-24 before losing at home to Marshall (34-27) and UTEP (40-37 in OT).  For a team that rarely loses at home, the two consecutive home losses make Southern Mississippi a ticking time bomb ready to explode.  That alone should give the Broncos plenty of cause for concern.  When you combine that with a talented squad, you get the sense that this Golden Eagle team is on the verge of greatness. 


Boise State's hope is to get out of town with a win before that bomb goes off.  This Southern Mississippi team is too good to be down for long.


It should be quite a battle tomorrow night. If Boise State isn't ready for the Golden Eagles, it will be the Broncos who will be squawking on the flight home!

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