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Friday, September 06, 2013 12:01 AM

Associated Press

Southern Mississippi (0-1) at No. 22 Nebraska (1-0), 6 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

Line: Nebraska by 28 1/2.

Series record: Nebraska 3-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Nebraska surrendered 602 yards to Wyoming in the opener and has given up 1,831 yards in its last three games. The Cornhuskers better get a handle on what’s wrong with their defense or they’re going to have a big problem against Brett Hundley and UCLA next week. Southern Mississippi is going to be hard-pressed to end its losing streak, now at 13 games, with consecutive road games against Nebraska, Arkansas and Boise State.

KEY MATCHUP

Nebraska defensive line vs. Southern Miss QB Allan Bridgford. The Huskers continue to struggle when it comes to pressuring quarterbacks. They didn’t sack Wyoming’s Brett Smith even once. Bridgford is an easier target. The transfer from California has an NFL arm but isn’t mobile.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Southern Mississippi: WR Rickey Bradley Jr., a junior-college star who walked on in 2012 but failed to qualify academically. His 193 yards on seven catches against Texas State were the most by a Southern Miss receiver since 2008 and fourth-most in school history.

Nebraska: RB Terrell Newby, who impressed in his first college game with 76 yards on 15 carries against Wyoming. Newby backs up Ameer Abdullah and Imani Cross, but he carried nine times during a 13-play touchdown drive with the game still in doubt in the second half. He also returns kicks.

FACTS & FIGURES

The game originally was scheduled to be played in Hattiesburg, Miss., but the financially strapped Southern Miss athletic department struck a deal to be the visiting team in exchange for a $2.1 million paycheck. The Golden Eagles will return to Lincoln in 2015 for $700,000 … Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez passed for a career-high 354 yards and matched his high with five touchdown passes in a 49-20 win over Southern Miss in last year’s opener … Freshman Tyre’oune Holmes’ 12 catches last week were the most by a Southern Miss player in his first game … The Golden Eagles’ six turnovers against Texas State were the most committed by any team in the nation.

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Washington State (0-1) at No. 25 USC (1-0), 10:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)

Line: USC by 15.

Series Record: USC leads 57-8-4.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Cougars coach Mike Leach gets his first crack at storied Southern California when the schools open Pac-12 play with their first meeting since 2010 in a rivalry dating to 1921.

KEY MATCHUP

Washington State QB Connor Halliday vs. USC’s secondary. Halliday went 35 of 65 for 344 yards in the Cougars’ narrow loss at Auburn in their season opener, but also threw three interceptions. He’ll have plenty of cracks at the Trojans’ inexperienced secondary, which could be depleted by injuries.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Washington State: LB Deone Bucannon. The senior followed up his impressive 2012 by leading the Cougars with 14 tackles at Auburn. He’ll need another busy game to slow down USC’s multi-faceted offense.

USC: RB Justin Davis. He’s only 17 years old, but the freshman looks ready for big-time college football pressure after a smooth debut at Hawaii. With Silas Redd likely still out with a knee injury, Davis and Tre Madden should get the bulk of the carries for the Trojans, who ran the ball impressively in their opener.

FACTS & FIGURES

Washington State has lost eight straight to USC, and hasn’t won in Los Angeles since 2000. The Cougars have won three games at the Coliseum since 1941. … USC’s revamped 5-2 defense got off to a strong start last week under new coordinator Clancy Pendergast, allowing just 231 yards — 23 on the ground. … The Cougars have 24 players from Southern California, including DB Anthony Carpenter and LB Kache Palacio, who both played alongside USC star WR Marqise Lee at Serra High School. … Halliday’s 65 passes at Auburn were the second-most in school history, yet the Cougars also rushed for 120 yards — more than they managed in any game last season.

 

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