Eagles fall hard at WKU
Published: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 23, 2012 18:09
It was an all-around ugly game for Southern Miss as the Western Kentucky Hiltoppers and their record setting crowd sent the Eagles home limping, literally. A week of promise and hope ended in questions and doubts.
Quarterback Chris Campbell received the much anticipated start but was replaced by Freshman Anthony Alford after WKU defensive end Quanterus Smith ended Campbell’s night. Neither quarterback provided to be very effective as they went a combined 4 for 12 for 29 yards for the night. Alford’s night was ended with a knee injury after he rushed for a fourth quarter touchdown.
The Golden Eagles were down 42-3 in the fourth quarter when third string quarterback Ricky Lloyd entered the game. Lloyd hit running back Tyre Bracken in the end zone for the first career touchdown of both players’ young careers. Ricky Lloyd led Southern Miss down the field on the next possession before Alford scored on a run from the one yard line. Alford was injured and his night was finished on that exact play. A fumble with one minute left in the game ended Lloyd’s final drive but he did move the team in scoring position for his third time. Lloyd went four of five for 72 yards and a touchdown.
The game felt over early in the third quarter when Western Kentucky’s Leon Allen became the second running back to pass the 100 yard rushing mark. Allen had 132 yards and Antonio Andrews rushed for 136 yards as the Hilltoppers gashed the Eagles’ defense all night. Most of Andrews’ yards came in the first half as he piled up over 100 all-purpose yards before halftime.
Defensively the Eagles were porous; missed tackles, penalties and the inability to get off the field on third down plagued Southern Miss again. They allowed 298 yards in the first half and gave up 560 yards of offense in the game. The Hilltoppers also converted on 9 of 13 third downs.
The Golden Eagles will need to rebound quickly as they face arguably the best team on their schedule, Louisville, next Saturday. The quarterback controversy worsened tonight and it will be interesting to see how injuries will shape the battle. Who starts at quarterback and how much the defense improves in a week will be the main questions addressed this week during practice.