USM-ULL a matchup of two talented backs

USM-ULL a matchup of two talented backs

NEW ORLEANS, LA - "I don't know anything about [Southern Miss running back Ito Smith] but I heard from the defensive guys that he's very good," said Louisiana-Lafayette senior running back Elijah McGuire. "Very small guy, shifty, can make people miss."

"I've watched [McGuire's] highlights and stuff," Smith said. "Great running back. He's pretty good catching out of the backfield too. He has good hands and good ball skills. So, I'm excited to see him tomorrow."

McGuire of the Ragin' Cajuns and Smith of the Golden Eagles are two running backs that are both motors for their respective teams.

Saturday night is the first time the two cross lines on the football field and both teams know to watch out.

"You get a running back like [McGuire] and he gets started early, you're in trouble," said Southern Miss senior defensive lineman Dylan Bradley. "We have to shut him out the first quarter and then the second quarter shut him out. Make him go into halftime trying to figure out how can he get started, how can he get his motor running? Continue to cut him out of the game."

That will be tough to do against a Cajuns team that averages just over 180 rushing yards per game, led by 1,028-yard rusher McGuire.

The Golden Eagles have a talented back as well in Smith. Nicknamed "The Judge," the jury's no longer out on what he's capable of doing with the football.

"He makes us look really good sometimes when we mess up, he still makes plays," said Southern Miss senior center Cameron Tom. "It makes our job a little easier."

"Ito's going to do Ito," Bradley said. "Ito is the second head of the team. He's that second person that - get Ito the ball, any way, any how. If it's a run, pass, get him the ball. Let him do what he do."

With 1,321 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2016, Smith is just one score shy of tying Harold Shaw's record for rushing touchdowns in a season set back in 1997.
Both Smith and McGuire are sure to give the Mercedes-Benz Superdome turf some work come Saturday night at 8 p.m.