“They have some speed rushers, guys who like to hit and like to be physical. But, you know, they’re not coming into Candy Land. We like to hit, too. We like to be a physical team. They’re going to bring the wood. We’re going to bring it, too.”
— Virginia left tackle Oday Aboushi
Well, all right then. Now that we’ve got that settled, let’s take a closer look at one of the guys Aboushi and the rest of the Virginia offensive linemen will be blocking for: redshirt freshman tailback Kevin Parks. After rushing for three touchdowns against William & Mary and two touchdowns at Indiana, Parks did not score last week against North Carolina. He did, however, gain 98 yards and average seven yards per carry.
With five rushing touchdowns, Parks is two shy of tying the Virginia freshman record held by Howard Petty (1983) and Marcus Wilson (1987). It’s feasible Parks could match or even surpass them Saturday against Southern Mississippi.
Not that gaining ground against the Golden Eagles will be easy. Southern Miss has held two of its first three opponents to less than 100 rushing yards. Since Coach Larry Fedora took over in 2008, Southern Mississippi is 17-1 when the Golden Eagles hold their opponents to less than 100 yards rushing.
Virginia, however, is averaging 190.7 rushing yards per game. The Cavaliers posted 170 rushing yards last week against a North Carolina defense that entered the game having allowed its first two opponents to average 30 rushing yards per game.
So both squads have reason to be confident entering Saturday’s matchup. That said, how do you think Virginia will fare against Southern Miss? As always, feel free to expand on your vote in the comments section below and/or e-mail me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.