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Walk-On’s Independence Bowl: Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at Florida State Seminoles

ACC Versus C-USA at 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec 27 offers sports bettors four college football games with the first one, the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, featuring the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (8-4) and the Florida State Seminoles (6-6). USM finished second in the Conference USA West Division with a 6-2 record. They ended the season on a high note, as they put together a three-game winning streak. FSU had big hopes this year, and as they started the season, many thought they had a chance at the ACC title. But the Seminoles faltered and ended up sixth in the ACC Atlantic Division with a 3-5 record. Like USM, they finished their season by winning three straight games. Our Southern Mississippi plays Florida State 2017 Independence Bowl pick has the Seminoles at -15.0 and the totals listed at 49.0.

Southern Mississippi Overview

The Golden Eagles are generating 438 yards of offense per game with 189 of those yards on the ground. They’re scoring 30.5 PPG. Although they have a dominant rushing game, Southern Mississippi also has a very fine air attack, making them very tough to defend against. Junior QB Kwadra Griggs (56.5 COMP%, 15 TDs, 2 INTs) offers solid passing chops. He’s got a good group of receivers to throw to, including his top pass catcher Korey Robertson (72 REC, 1,070 YDs, 14.9 AVG`, 11 TDs). RB Ito Smith (232 ATT, 1,321 YDs, 5.7 AVG, 13 TDs) is a dual threat who has also caught 36 passes for 370 yards and two touchdowns.

The USM defense is holding teams to 322 total yards and 23.0 PPG. They have defended 49 passes, made nine picks, and forced nine fumbles. They’ve made 23 sacks and 80 TFL. They are stout stoppers of the run with LB Paxton Schrimsher and DL Xavier Thigpen both tied with 11 TFL. Plus, the duo has combined for 10 sacks. DB Tarvarius Moore leads the team in picks with three and tackles with 73, while DB Curtis Mikell is tops in PD with 13.

Golden Eagles Summary

  • Good balance on offense
  • Smith is a solid dual-threat
  • Defense is especially tough versus run

Florida State Overview

The Seminoles generate a lot of yards on the ground, as they have averaged 151 a game while passing for 192 more. The offense is putting 26.7 PPG on the scoreboard. Freshman QB James Blackman (57.2 COMP%, 15 TDs, 11 INTs) is not perfect, but he’s pretty good. His go-to WRs are Nyqwan Murray (40 REC, 604 YDs, 15.1 AVG, 4 TDs) and Auden Tate (35 REC, 464 YDs, 13.3 AVG, 7 TDs). FSU features two running backs, Cam Akers (181 ATT, 930 YDs, 5.1 AVG, 7 TDs) and Jacques Patrick (118 ATT, 687 YDs, 5.8 AVG, 6 TDs). They’re a tough tandem to stop.

On defense, the Seminoles are holding teams to 21.9 PPG and keeping them at 337 YPG. They offer a very fine rush defense, while their pass D is good but uneven. FSU has notched 77 TFL, 27 sacks, and nine picks. Plus, the Seminoles have defended 52 passes. LB Matthew Thomas (85 TCKLs, 2 SCKs. 10 TFL) is an anchor for the D and the team leader in tackles, while DEs Josh Sweat (56 TCKLs, 5.5 SCKs, 12.5 TFL) and Brian Burns (48 TCKLs, 4.5 SCKs, 12.0 TFL) are both first-rate pass rushers and running back stoppers. DB Derwin James (2 INTs, 11 PD) will work to keep the secondary focused.

Seminoles Summary

  • Solid running game
  • Defense is tough versus run
  • QB Blackman has to stay away from turnovers

Three Independence Bowl Takeaways

We offer these three takeaways for our our Southern Mississippi plays Florida State 2017 Independence Bowl pick-

  1. Overall offensive edge to Golden Eagles
  2. QB edge to Golden Eagles
  3. Rush attack edge to Seminoles

Our Walk-On’s Independence Bowl Pick

In creating our our Southern Mississippi plays Florida State 2017 Independence Bowl pick, we’ve considered the following added factors. Both teams are fairly evenly matched on defense. It’s on the offensive side of the ball where the Golden Eagles seem to have an advantage. Of course, there is a major difference between teams like FSU, which is in the ACC, a Power Five conference, and those like USM, which is in C-USA, which is considered to be one of the weaker conferences. The Seminoles are 15-point favorites. That’s a big spread. We like the Golden Eagles to cover at +15.0. We also think the game will go over 49.0 points.

Summary Southern Mississippi at Florida State Picks: USM at +15.0 and over 49.0


Paul has been writing about sports betting and sports for more than a decade, offering picks on the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA, as well as on college sports and European football. He's written thousands of season and post-season previews, innumerable articles on sports betting strategies, and various books on sports and sports betting.

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