A breakdown of Boise States next opponent Southern Miss
Where: Hattiesburg, Miss. (46,626)
Nickname: Golden Eagles
Record: 0-4, 0-1 C-USA
Last game: Lost to No. 19 Louisville 21-17, Saturday in Hattiesburg.
Ellis Johnson replaced Larry Fedora, who took the North Carolina job. Johnson was 17-28 in four seasons in two previous stints as a head coach at The Citadel (2001-03) and Gardner-Webb (1983).
The defensive mastermind spent the past four seasons as the coordinator at South Carolina, which ranked No. 3 in total defense last year. He also served as coordinator at Mississippi State (2004-07), Alabama (1997-2000), Clemson (1995-96), Southern Miss (1988-89) and Appalachian State (1984).
The Golden Eagles returned four line starters, 61 percent of their rushing yards and 52 percent of their receiving yards. The program has rushed for at least 2,000 yards in six straight seasons.
However, the Eagles rank 119th in total offense (274.3 yards per game), 60th in rushing (165.8) and 117th in passing (108.5). They run a one-back spread system that emphasizes the run. The offense looked better last week, rushing for 224 yards on a flooded field against Louisville.
The 4-2-5 scheme features a bandit end who plays a cross between end and linebacker (senior Jamie Collins) and a spur (junior Jerrion Johnson), which is like Boise States nickel.
Collins leads the team with 35 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks and three pass breakups. Junior safety Jacorius Cotton (26 tackles) and junior cornerback Deron Wilson (22 tackles, two breakups) also are veteran playmakers. Wilson has seven interceptions three for touchdowns and 27 pass breakups in his career.
Senior slot receiver Tracy Lampley says hes the offensive X-factor. He lines up at receiver and tailback in addition to his roles as punt returner and kickoff returner. Hes expected to become the first player in school history with 1,000 rushing, receiving, punt-return and kickoff-return yards. He has scored two touchdowns each on kickoffs and punts in his career.
Kicker Corey Acosta is 4-for-6 on field goals with a long of 47. Punter Peter Boehme averages 40.2 yards but has uncorked some long punts in his career.
DID YOU KNOW?
This is the first time since 2000 that Southern Miss has faced ranked opponents in back-to-back games. Boise State is No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.