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At a glance: Southern Mississippi, UW’s opponent in the Heart of Dallas Bowl

A look at some basic information on Washington’s Heart of Dallas Bowl opponent, Southern Mississippi ...

HEART OF DALLAS BOWL

Washington (6-6, 4-5 in Pac-12) vs. Southern Mississippi (9-4, 7-1 in Conference USA)

11:20 a.m. PT, Saturday, Dec. 26

Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, Texas

TV: ESPN

RADIO: KOMO 1000 AM/97.7 FM

THE LINE: Washington by 8.5

SOUTHERN MISS LOCATION: Hattiesburg, Mississippi (population 47,556 as of 2013)

ENROLLMENT: 14,845

NOTABLE ALUMNI: Brett Favre, Ray Guy, Jimmy Buffett, Clarence Weatherspoon and more

FOR COVERAGE: Check out the Hattiesburg American, and the Sun Herald.

COACH: Todd Monken (13-24 in third season at Southern Miss and overall)

BOWL RECORD: 10-12 (Last appearance: a 24-17 victory over Nevada in the 2011 Hawaii Bowl)

2015 SCHEDULE

Sept. 5 L, 34-16, vs. Mississippi State

Sept. 12 W, 52-6, vs. Austin Peay

Sept. 19 W, 56-50, at Texas State

Sept. 26 L, 36-28, at Nebraska

Oct. 3 W, 49-14, vs. North Texas*

Oct. 9, L, 31-10, at Marshall*

Oct. 17 W, 32-10, vs. Texas-San Antonio*

Oct. 24 W, 44-10, at Charlotte*

Oct. 31 W, 34-13, vs. UTEP*

Nov. 14 W, 65-10, at Rice*

Nov. 21 W, 56-31, vs. Old Dominion*

Nov. 28 W, 58-24, at Louisiana Tech*

Dec. 5 L, 45-28, vs. Western Kentucky (C-USA championship game)

(*Conference game)

KEY OFFENSIVE PLAYERS: QB Nick Mullens, 6-1, 196, Jr. (306-for-483, 4,145 yards, 36 TDs, 12 INTs); RB Jalen Richard, 5-8, 210, Sr. (185 carries, 1,098 yards, 14 TDs); RB Ito Smith, 5-9, 195, So. (155 carries, 1,088 yards, 8 TDs); WR Michael Thomas, 6-1, 200, Sr. (62 catches, 1,201 yards, 12 TDs); WR Casey Martin, 5-10, 180, RSr. (74 catches, 855 yards, 7 TDs); WR D.J. Thompson, 6-3, 200, RJr. (52 catches, 743 yards, 6 TDs)

KEY DEFENSIVE PLAYERS: LB D’Nerius Antoine, 6-0, 215, Jr. (93 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 2 INTs); LB Brian Anderson, 5-10, 240, Sr. (83 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 4.0 sacks); DB Kalan Reed, 5-11, 195, Sr. (47 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 4 INTs); DL Dylan Bradley, 6-1, 265, Jr. (42 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks) (Note: Antoine and Bradley each left USM’s last game due to injury, though Monken said on Sunday’s teleconference that he anticipates they will be able to play.)

POSTSEASON AWARDS: Monken, who inherited a struggling program and led Southern Miss to just four wins total in 2013 and 2014, was named C-USA Coach of the Year after guiding the Golden Eagles to the West division championship this season. (They had the biggest year-to-year turnaround in the country.) And Mullens was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year. Southern Miss also had four players selected to C-USA’s first team (Richard, Reed, junior center Cameron Tom and senior longsnapper Lance Schuffert) and six to the second team (Mullen, somehow, despite winning OPOY; plus Smith, Thomas, senior offensive lineman Rashod Hill and senior defensive lineman Michael Smith).

NCAA STATISTICAL RANKS

Stat: Value (Rank)

Total Offense: 519.8 (9th)

Rushing Offense: 191.9 (41st)

Passing Offense: 327.9 (12th)

Team Passing Efficiency: 156.81 (16th)

Scoring Offense: 40.6 (12th)

Total Defense: 364.1 (40th)

Rushing Defense: 140.8 (34th)

Passing Yards Allowed: 223.3 (64th)

Team Passing Efficiency Defense: 117.57 (36th)

Scoring Defense: 24.2 (46th)

Turnover Margin: -0.15 (80th)

3rd Down Conversion Pct: 0.466 (15th)

4th Down Conversion Pct: 0.483 (76th)

3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense: 0.360 (45th)

4th Down Conversion Pct Defense: 0.500 (T-61st)

Red Zone Offense: 0.800 (T-89th)

Red Zone Defense: 0.796 (39th)

Net Punting: 35.32 (108th)

Punt Returns: 4.96 (105th)

Kickoff Returns: 23.38 (27th)

First Downs Offense: 302 (19th)

First Downs Defense: 250 (68th)

Fewest Penalties Per Game: 7.23 (104th)

Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game: 68.54 (110th)

Time of Possession: 30:41 (51st)

Christian Caple can be reached at christian.caple@thenewstribune.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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