HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Southern Miss steps out of conference play for the final time this season when they travel to Knoxville to face Tennessee in a 6:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. ET contest at Neyland Stadium.
The game will be televised on the SEC Network (Channel 400 on Comcast in Hattiesburg), along with being heard on an affiliate of the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network and via the internet through TuneIn.
Southern Miss (5-3, overall, 3-2 C-USA) looks to increase its perfect 3-0 mark on the road this season, but will have to play well this week against a formidable foe in the Volunteers, who have struggled in Southeastern Conference action. The Golden Eagles are wanting to rebound from their 30-12 home loss to UAB last weekend, which snapped a three-game winning streak for the program.
Despite holding a four-game losing streak, the Volunteers (3-5, 0-5) have won 11-straight non-conference games. All of their losses this season have come in league play, with three of those having been decided by six points of less in the final moments of each of those contests.
Entering the game, the Volunteers do possess the top pass defense in the country, allowing just 148.6 yards per contest.
The Golden Eagles, behind senior running back Ito Smith who averages 102.1 rushing yards per game and a Golden Eagles passing attack that averages 263.6 yards per tilt, hope to neutralize the Tennessee defense with a balanced running and passing attack.
Sophomore quarterback Keon Howard leads the way for the Golden Eagle passing offense as he has thrown for 1,099 yards in seven games, hitting 60.1 percent of his passes (89-of-148) with eight touchdowns and just four interceptions.
Southern Miss, which has a minus-2 in turnover margin, also must protect the football against the Volunteers who collected four fumbles last week in a 29-26 loss at Kentucky.
The Golden Eagles have never beaten the Volunteers in five previous meetings in the series which dates back to 1950. The two teams last met in Knoxville in 2007 with the Volunteers taking a 39-19 decision. All five of the games have been played at Neyland Stadium, which current capacity is 102,455 and ranks as the fifth-largest stadium in college football.
Following the UT game, the Golden Eagles return to the road next week when they return to league play against Rice. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m., at Rice Stadium.