The No. 2 Alabama welcomes the Southern Miss Golden Eagles to Tuscaloosa on Saturday, Sept. 21 at noon.
The Crimson Tide are undefeated while the Golden Eagles are 2-1. Their lone loss came two weeks ago to another SEC team, Mississippi State. In the previous matchup between Alabama and Southern Miss five years ago and resulted in a 52-12 victory by Alabama.
Seen as one of the premier teams in college football, the Crimson Tide are loaded with playmakers on offense and defense.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is not only a Heisman frontrunner, but many draft pundits have him pegged as the potential first-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Tagovailoa is coming off a record-breaking performance against South Carolina last week.
Tua Tagovailoa passed for 444 yards today against South Carolina, the 3rd-most in a single game in Alabama history. He also became the first Bama player to record 400 pass yards and 5 pass TD in the same game. pic.twitter.com/diwfB2UjL9
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 14, 2019
Aiding Tagovailoa on offense is star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. The former Biletnikoff Award winner, given to college football’s best wide receiver, currently leads the SEC in receptions. Lining up opposite Jeudy is wide receiver Henry Ruggs, who is known for his game-changing speed. Protecting Tagovailoa is a sturdy offensive line that is second in the SEC for fewest sacks allowed.
Henry Ruggs now has 14 touchdowns over his last 17-plus games for Alabama.
His 81-yard touchdown a few minutes ago was the sixth play he’s made over the last three years that’s gained 50 yards or more. pic.twitter.com/5iKO9aYy4z
— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) September 14, 2019
On defense, defensive lineman Raekwon Davis and linebacker Anfernee Jennings lead a unit that has allowed 12 points per game. In the secondary, defensive back Xavier McKinney leads the team in tackles while snagging one interception as well. All three players are projected to be high NFL Draft picks.
Even though the Crimson Tide enter the game as 39-point favorites, head coach Nick Saban does not want his team to write off Southern Miss just yet.
The Golden Eagles travel to Tuscaloosa a week after defeating Troy 47-42. Junior quarterback Jack Abraham showed off his arm with 463 passing yards, hence why he leads Conference USA in passing yards. Abraham has no shortage of wide receivers to throw to, as Jordan Mitchell, Jaylond Adams and Quez Watkins all have over 200 receiving yards. As a unit, Southern Miss is second in the conference in total offensive yards.
Defensively, the Golden Eagles are second in the conference in total sacks. Southern Miss’ special teams is also ranked highly within the conference; they are first in total return yards. While Saban says Alabama can’t be too swayed by Southern Miss’ talent, he also acknowledges the Golden Eagles’ ability on all sides of the ball.
Draft Prospects to Watch (Alabama)
QB Tua Tagovailoa #13
RB Najee Harris #22
WR Jerry Jeudy #4
WR Henry Ruggs III #11
WR DeVonta Smith #6
OT Alex Leatherwood #70
DL Raekwon Davis #99
LB Anfernee Jennings #33
CB Trevon Diggs #7
SAF Xavier McKinney #15
How to Watch
Alabama faces Southern Miss at noon on Saturday, Sept. 21 on ESPN2.