No. 22 Southern Mississippi (11-2) vs. Nevada (7-5)
Time: 8 p.m.
Line: Southern Miss by 8.
Series Record: 2-0 Southern Miss.
WHAT'S AT STAKE: Southern Miss is seeking a school-record 12th win, trying to snap a two-bowl losing streak and trying to send coach Larry Fedora out with a win. Fedora is leaving for North Carolina after the game. The Golden Eagles also want to prove they are one of the nation's top teams after their upset win over previously unbeaten Houston for the Conference USA title. Nevada is trying to end on a high note after dropping two of its last three games, which cost the Wolf Pack a chance at the Western Athletic Conference title.
KEY MATCHUP: Southern Miss QB Austin Davis vs. Nevada defensive tackle Brett Roy. Roy, the leader of the Nevada defense with 10 sacks, will need to help contain and keep pressure on Davis, who has passed for 3,331 yards and 28 touchdowns while rushing for 332 yards and four TDs. The Wolf Pack can't afford to allow Davis to get too comfortable in the pocket, or he'll pick them apart as he did Houston.
■ PLAYERS TO WATCH: Nevada: QB Cody Fajardo. The WAC freshman of the year didn't start until week five and led the Wolf Pack to five straight wins. He is the trigger man in the pistol and has thrown for 1,647 yards and six TDs while rushing for 680 yards and 11 scores. Southern Miss: LB Jamie Collins thrived under first-year defensive coordinator Dan Disch, recording 94 tackles, including 19.5 tackles for loss, to go with 6.5 sacks. The former defensive back who moved to linebacker last year is used as a "bandit" who can get down in stance as a lineman or stand.
FACTS & FIGURES: Southern Miss is making its 22nd postseason appearance and is 9-12 overall. ... This is the seventh straight bowl appearance for the Wolf Pack. Nevada is 4-7 overall in the postseason. ...This will be the third meeting between the schools. The Golden Eagles won 35-19 in Hattiesburg in 1997 and won 55-28 in Reno in 1998. ... Southern Miss lost its last two bowl games, including a 31-29 defeat to Louisville in the St. Petersburg Bowl. ... With the Hawaii Bowl, the Golden Eagles are one of a dozen teams that have reached the postseason 10 straight years. ... Nevada has 18 players on its roster who have already earned degrees including quarterback Tyler Lantrip, who has a Master's degree. Every senior who came to Nevada as a freshman has graduated. ... This will be the final WAC appearance for the Wolf Pack, who are moving to the Mountain West Conference next year.
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