As a result of their win over Houston in the Conference USA title game earlier this month, the Southern Miss. Golden Eagles are celebrating with a trip to the 10th annual Hawaii Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu this weekend where they will tangle with the Nevada Wolf Pack.
Not only did Southern Miss bury a heavily-favored Houston squad by a score of 49-28 in the conference title game, it finished an impressive 11-2 overall with those two defeats coming against Marshall and UAB in C-USA action by a total of just nine points. The Golden Eagles have now put together their 18th consecutive winning season, which is the fourth-longest streak among Football Bowl Subdivision programs, trailing only Florida, Florida State and Virginia Tech.
For a few players to watch in the Hawai'i Bowl, head over to Tony Pauline's bowl prospect preview.
While the coaching position at USM is in a transitional phase, Nevada's Chris Ault continues to be the steady, guiding force behind the Wolf Pack on the sidelines. In his eighth season of his third go-around with Nevada, Ault brought his squad back from a disappointing 1-3 mark to begin 2011, the unit then reeling off five straight wins and closing out the regular season with a vicious 56-3 win over Idaho to finish 7-5 overall and 5-2 in Western Athletic Conference play.
Nevada has played in this bowl twice already, losing to SMU in the most recent outing in 2009 by a score of 45-10. Back in 2005, the Pack was pushed beyond regulation and needed overtime to register a 49-48 victory over UCF. Following that win over the Knights, Nevada had dropped four consecutive bowl decisions before posting a 20-13 triumph versus Boston College in last year's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which leaves the Pack with a record of 4-7 in the postseason dating back to 1948.