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Dueling defenses will highlight Mobile Bowl

By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
Dec. 19, 2000
MOBILE It's tough enough playing a team with the nation's top running back, but when that team also boasts the nation's top defense, it almost seems unfair.
Such is the task facing the Southern Miss Golden Eagles when they knock heads with the TCU Horned Frogs in the Mobile Alabama Bowl Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
It's the fourth straight bowl game for USM (7-4), which brings a little artillery of their own, sporting the second best defense in the country.
Defensive coordinator and author of the Black and Gold attack Dave Wommack spoke about the daunting task of stopping TCU tailback LaDainian Tomlinson.
TCU (10-1) has made its living with a tough option game where the talented Tomlinson has utilized his playmaking ability.
Wommack said he also thought the one versus two defensive matchup was one both sets of coaches would look to as a motivating factor.
But Wommack also said the offensive situation can lend itself to placing too much credit on the star running back.
All in all, it adds up to a bull Wommack says his bunch is eager to grab by the horns.
Chad Williams, USM's leading tackler, earlier summed up the attitude of the defensive unit that has drawn some doubts with the subpar finish to the season.
USM gives up 268 yards per game, while TCU only yields 245.
USM head coach Jeff Bower said from a scheme standpoint both units are similar.
The Horned Frogs have seven players who have recorded three or more sacks this season, including team leader Aaron Schoebel, who has collected six and a half.
TCU is also a threat to pick it off, as Tyrone Sanders has three interceptions on the year and Russell Gary has two.
USM gives up 16.1 points per game, ranking eighth in scoring defense.
The Golden Eagles gave up 162 yards through the air, good for a fourth-best pass efficiency defense and fifth in pass defense.
The run stoppers turned in an effort of 105 yards per, the 21st-best overall.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. Email him at rdark@themeridianstar.com.

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