Any thoughts of a Kentucky hangover for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles can be put to bed, as the Golden Eagles drubbed Southern University on Saturday evening.
The Golden Eagles scored early and often in front of the 24,337 people in attendance.
Southern Miss’ special teams opened the scoring when senior defensive lineman Xavier Thigpen recovered a botched Southern snap in the Jaguar end zone. The Golden Eagle defense smothered the Jaguar offense, pushing them deep into their own territory before recovering the snap.
The flood of scoring had only just begun for the Jaguars, unfortunately, as seniors Ito Smith Jr.(27 yards), Allenzae Staggers (20 yards) and T’Rod Daniels (49 yards) would all find the end zone, to go along with four extra points by junior placekicker Parker Shaunfield putting the Golden Eagles out in front 28-0 with five minutes remaining in the first quarter.
“It was frustrating, losing to Kentucky,” senior quarterback Kwadra Griggs said, “losing always hurts, and we tried coming out and getting a win tonight.”
The Golden Eagles had opportunities early in the 2nd quarter to put even more points on the board, but a Griggs fumble deep in Jaguar territory was recovered by Southern, and a missed field goal by Shaunfield wasted two highly effective Golden Eagle drives. It wouldn’t take USM long to find the end zone again as Griggs found sophomore Quez Watkins through the air for a 26- yard touchdown pass, putting the Golden Eagles up 35-0 heading into halftime.
Southern Miss started the second half off in the same fashion that they began the first, with a defensive touchdown.
Senior Cornell Armstrong intercepted Jaguar freshman quarterback Glendon McDaniel, and returned the ball 46 yards to the end zone to put the Golden Eagles up 42-0 with 14:37 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Shaunfield would close the 3rd quarter out with a 28-yard field goal to rub more salt in the Jaguars’ wounds and put USM up 45-0 going into the 4th quarter.
“Our defense gave us our momentum,” Daniels said, “They set up our offense. Our defense is awesome. Our defense is raw, and they’re so smart.”
Neither team could find dirt in the 4th quarter and defensive battles took over as the Golden Eagle defense held off a strong Jaguar drives, in route to a shutout victory in front of the Hattiesburg faithful.
Southern Miss travels to Louisiana-Monroe next Saturday, September 16th. Kick off is set for 6:00 p.m.