The Golden Eagles defeated the UTEP Miners 31-13 on Sept. 29 for the first conference matchup of the season.
Redshirt junior Jack Abraham threw 15 passes, completing 10 of them for 227 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Abraham also had a season-long passing touchdown of 74 yards to senior De’Michael Harris to spark the Southern Miss scoring outbreak. Abraham finished the game, completing 19 of 28 passes for 351 passing yards and three passing touchdowns.
“Jack is a smart quarterback who knows how to make adjustments before the ball is snapped,” Head Coach Jay Hopson said. “He has shown me a lot of the same characteristics Nick [Mullens] showed when he was here. Both great quarterbacks who are smart and know how to check their reads before they line up to take the snap.”
Abraham took some shots downfield, some that were caught and some that were well-defended and broken up; nevertheless, there were opportunities for the long ball, and he took them.
Southern Miss established a running game against the Miners when they rushed for 168 yards and had an even split between Harris and redshirt junior Kevin Perkins, who both carried the ball 11 times and who both picked up 69 yards, leading the Golden Eagles to a total of 168 rushing yards with the one rushing touchdown coming from Harris.
Redshirt sophomore Jaylond Adams picked up five receptions for 58 yards and one touchdown. Redshirt senior Jordan Mitchell picked up four receptions for 47 yards and one touchdown. Mitchell also picked up a
A blocked punt from Mitchell set up the Golden Eagles to pick up their second touchdown within the first five minutes of the game, giving the Golden Eagles a 14-0 lead. Redshirt junior Quez Watkins picked up two receptions for 97 yards.
“I am very confident in my receivers to find the space needed to get open, and when the ball is near them, I have both confidence and trust that they will come down with the ball,” Abraham said.
Although the Golden Eagles had some missing pieces to their defense, they managed to only allow a total of 294 yards and one touchdown.
“Locksley had a long touchdown run for 63 yards, but we still were able to keep him contained for the most part and put some serious pressure on him from a defensive perspective,” Hopson said. “We played a hard-fought C-USA game, which I thought we played well. UTEP is a good physical team but we stepped up and played the game we knew how to play. We could have played better, but we executed when we needed to and had some big plays on special teams that really played a role in our win tonight.”
The Golden Eagles have a bye week upcoming but will be back in the Rock on Oct. 12 against North Texas.