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Alabama takes on Southern Miss in night contest
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Alabama takes on Southern Miss in night contest

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alabamafootball PHOTO FOR CENTERPIECE

Alabama wide receiver John Metchie III hurdles past Florida defensive players cornerback Kaiir Elam, linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper and safety Trey Dean III during the second half last Saturday.

Alabama football and Southern Miss have had two entirely different starts to their respective seasons.

On one hand, the top-ranked Crimson Tide is 3-0. Two of those wins have come against ranked opponents, Florida and Miami.

Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles have managed only one win, which came 37-0 against Grambling State on Sept. 11. Southern Miss has lost to South Alabama, 31-7, and Troy, 21-9.

And now the No. 1 Crimson Tide and Golden Eagles will face each other at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Tuscaloosa, the first night game of the season for Alabama.

The matchup is the first between the two since 2019, when Alabama won 49-7. The game Saturday will be the third between the Crimson Tide and Golden Eagles during Nick Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa.

Here’s what you need to know about Southern Miss heading into the game:

Alabama expected to face freshman quarterbackWoodrow “Trey” Lowe III, the grandson of Alabama great Woodrow Lowe, started at quarterback for Southern Miss the first two games of the season. But then he suffered a foot injury that is expected to keep him out for the game against the Crimson Tide.

That means freshman Ty Keyes will likely start again for the Golden Eagles.

This season, Keyes has completed 20 of 38 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.

“We want him to see the signal and execute the assignment,” Southern Miss coach Will Hall said. “Worry about their job and doing their job. Offensively, we’ve got to get 11 guys doing their job. We’re not doing a great job of doing that right now. We’re self-destructive in a lot of ways.”

Saban said Keyes is an athletic guy and that Southern Miss uses some of the quarterback runs that Alabama had to defend against Florida.

Southern Miss run defense is stout The Golden Eagles haven’t started the 2021 season strong, but their run defense has been among the best.

Southern Miss, after the first three games, ranks second in the country in rushing yards per game allowed with 43.7. Only Wisconsin is ahead of the Golden Eagles (33.0).

That number is worth noting because Southern Miss has lost two games by double digits. Often, that would translate to the team in the lead running more and picking up more yards on the ground late in games in an effort to maintain the lead and run out the clock.

However, the Golden Eagles have remained stout when defending the run through the team’s rough patch to start the season.

“These guys play really well on defense,” Saban said. “They’re one of the toughest people to run against of anybody in the country.”

Frank Gore Jr. leads Southern Miss RBsThere’s a name you will likely hear several times Saturday that will sound familiar. And yes, he’s related to that Frank Gore.

Frank Gore Jr. is a Southern Miss running back and the son of the longtime NFL running back who was playing for the New York Jets as late as this past season. Gore, a five-time Pro-Bowl selection, began his career with the San Francisco 49ers in 2005.

Gore Jr. is averaging 5 yards per rush this season with 274 yards on 55 carries. He has scored a touchdown, and his longest run went for 51 yards.

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