Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis faces big test in bowl against Louisville Cardinals

ST. PETERSBURG — Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis comes from a baseball family, so there is a significance to playing a football game on a baseball field for the 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior.

"I grew up playing baseball," said Davis, who won a state championship in Mississippi his senior year of high school and had scholarship offers to continue at the college level. His brother, Bo, helped the Golden Eagles to the College World Series in 2009, and his cousin Jason Smith spent nine years in the majors as an infielder, including two seasons with the Rays on the same Tropicana Field field Davis will be throwing on in Tuesday's Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl against Louisville.

Since coming to Southern Miss as a walk-on in 2007, Davis has focused on football. He has thrown for 2,898 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, and rushed for 436 yards and 10 scores, leading a spread offense that has averaged 37 points per game. Despite missing eight games as a sophomore because of a foot injury, he is closing in on many of Brett Favre's school career records. He needs two touchdown passes to give him a school-record 53 and 498 passing yards to break another mark. He has the school's total offense record (8,198 yards and counting).

Davis has had at least 300 yards of total offense in five of his past six games, including a wild game against Houston in which he threw for 293 yards and two scores while running for a career-high 111 yards and four scores in a 59-41 victory. He has accounted for 19 touchdowns in the second half of the season, and in the Golden Eagles' only losses in that span, he led the offense to 49 and 50 points, respectively, against Alabama-Birmingham and Tulsa.

"It just creates another dimension that makes defenses have to account for him," offensive coordinator Blake Anderson said of Davis' running ability. "I wouldn't say he's a tremendously good runner, but he's adequate, and he can hurt you in a way that makes you account for it."

Anderson said Davis' maturation has come on the mental side, in his preparation and understanding of the offense, and he has been careful to limit turnovers. He ranks fifth in Conference USA in passing yards, but the four quarterbacks ahead of him had at least 10 interceptions each. Davis threw six in the regular season.

"He's extremely good with preparation, probably the best I've had in 20 years of coaching," Anderson said. "He's almost like a coach on the field, but his biggest attribute is the ability to not put the ball in harm's way during the game. He's okay with throwing the ball away when he needs to. He doesn't typically put the ball into bad situations, and he makes you feel comfortable his decision-making is going to be good enough to give you a chance to win every game."

Southern Miss hasn't faced many defenses like what it will see from Louisville, which ranks 12th in Division I-A in total defense and is allowing an average 18.7 points per game. The Golden Eagles faced one top 50 defense in the regular season but scored 31 points in beating a UCF team now ranked 18th in total defense.

"From the time I put the film on, I was impressed with everything they do," Davis said of Louisville. "They play hard, they play fast, they have a really good scheme. It'll definitely be a big challenge."


Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl

Who: Southern Miss (8-4) vs. Louisville (6-6)

When/where: 8 p.m. Tuesday; Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg


Line: Louisville by 3

Tickets: $40; call (727) 898-7297 or visit

Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis faces big test in bowl against Louisville Cardinals 12/17/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 17, 2010 11:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. History shows Ole Miss upheaval tough to overcome


    After Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze resigned Thursday, with the opener six weeks away, offensive line coach Matt Luke is being thrown into an interim head coaching position. He will try to save a season that already had been scarred by a self-imposed bowl ban for NCAA violations.

    After coach Jim Tressel resigned, Ohio State went 6-7, including a loss to Florida in the Gator Bowl, in 2011.
  2. Bucs add top executive from MLS to business side


    The Bucs have hired a top executive from Major League Soccer to their business operations in Atul "AK" Khosla, who has spent the last six years as chief operating officer of Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire.

    Atul Khosla, 38, spent the last six years as chief operating officer of MLS' Chicago Fire. He joins the Bucs as their new chief corporate development and brand officer.
  3. Minors also a training ground for umpires with big-league dreams

    The Heater

    Umpire Tom Fornarola, 23, left, and Taylor Payne, 24, facing, talk before the start of the Gulf Coast League game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at the Tigertown complex in Lakeland, Fla. on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.
  4. For starters: Souza not in lineup vs. Rangers



  5. Remember that famous Fred McGriff TV commercial? He's back, in a parody


    If you've ever seen Fred McGriff's TV commerical for Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills video it will always be fresh in your mind, with the deadpan delivery and famously ill-fitting cap.

    Fred McGriff in his new commercial for Chassis, a men's grooming line, that looks a lot like his old one.