Formulating a game plan for Rice didn't take a lot of film study for Southern Mississippi's defensive coaches.
With one of the best pitch-and-catch combinations in the nation and a freewheeling offensive style, the Owls are easy to figure out. But as the Golden Eagles prepare for tomorrow's game in Houston, they know that stopping Rice isn't so easy.
Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora says a third of Rice's snaps come with an empty backfield. That makes the challenge to cover a flood of receivers and keep from giving up big plays.
In their first season under Fedora, the Golden Eagles (2-4, 0-2 Conference USA) can ill afford to give up any more plays, big or otherwise, against the Owls (3-3, 2-1).
Southern Miss is in danger of snapping its streak of 14 straight winning seasons, the fifth longest in the Bowl Subdivision. The team is in the midst of its first three-game losing streak since 2004.
To stop Rice, Southern Miss will have to stop quarterback Chase Clement and receivers Jarett Dillard and James Casey, who've had an off week to get ready for the game