1.) How much has quarterback Nick Mullens grown from last year and what are his biggest strengths?
“Nick Mullens has grown tremendously and has become the unquestioned leader of the team. He started some games as a true freshman, then had last year to start and really grow in the offensive scheme. This off-season, he had competition in TCU transfer Tyler Matthews who really pushed him. He now knows the scheme really well and has great rapport with his receivers. His strengths are in his presence in the huddle and leadership abilities. He delivers the ball on time and accurately, and knows where to go with the football. This season he is second in Conference USA with 8 TD's and he has really cut down on his turnovers.”
2.) How much do you think playing Mississippi State earlier in the year will help this team against Nebraska?
“Playing Mississippi State will certainly help as it served to give the team valuable experience against a big time opponent. Southern Miss is no stranger to going into huge stadiums and competing. In the past few seasons, they have been to Alabama, Boise State, Nebraska, and Mississippi State among others. This will be the 4th trip to Nebraska since 1999. They played the Cornhuskers close in '99, losing the game late. In 2004, they knocked off Nebraska in Lincoln under Jeff Bower. The last two trips have been blow outs, however. The Eagles know they can be competitive this year and with improved depth and experience will certainly look to make it interesting.”
3.) Anyone talking about the game two years ago in Lincoln?
“When Southern Miss met Nebraska two years ago, it was a pretty dark time for the Golden Eagles. In 2011, they came off a 13-2 season, won the conference, and finished with a top 20 ranking. A coaching change led to a disastrous 0-12 season following, and Coach Monken has been rebuilding ever since. In 2013, he went 1-11 while trying to recover from the debacle that was 2012 and not many games are memorable from that season. People are talking about the game in 2004 where Southern Miss continued the reputation of being a "giant killer." The last two times these teams have met have been ugly for Southern Miss, as Nebraska has won them both by an average of 36 points. Southern Miss is also 2-5 against teams who were members of the Big Ten when they have played.”
4.) Talk about the Southern Miss run defense after three games this season?
“The Southern Miss run defense has to improve dramatically to give them a chance in this game. Last week against Texas State they gave up 281 yards on the ground on 37 attempts. The multiple offense and dual threat QB from Texas State presented problems last week and the dual threat nature of Tommy Armstrong is one of the biggest concerns for this Saturday. It starts up front, where Southern Miss is deeper and more athletic than a year ago. The depth has certainly helped, but the defense has to tackle in space much better than last week. Stand out safety Devonta Foster also was out last week and that really seemed to have an impact because he is one of the main vocal leaders of the defense. Defending the run has certainly been an emphasis for the defense in practice this week because of the very physical nature of Nebraska.”
5.) Drew White’s score prediction.
“This is a much improved Southern Miss team that will make a bowl game this year, but for anyone to go to Lincoln and come away with a win is a very tall task. 41-27, Nebraska.”