Photo by Michael Sandoz
TUSCALOOSA, ALA. – Southern Miss (2-2, 0-0 C-USA) concluded its non-conference play and road game stretch in Tuscaloosa against the Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0, 1-0 SEC). Alabama outscored Southern Miss by 42 points with a final score of 49-7.
“We battled for 60 minutes,” Head Coach Jay Hopson said. “I certainly want to give them [Alabama] credit. They are an outstanding football team.”
The Crimson Tide offense overwhelmed the Golden Eagles with over two times the amount of total yards. Jack Abraham had 174 passing yards for the game, his lowest of the season so far. The remainder of the offense rushed for only 52 yards compared to Alabama’s 176.
“I’ve never seen an offense with two Heisman trophy candidates in it,” Hopson said. “They are very good, really good. They are going to be one of the best offenses if not the best offense in college football with that type of explosion.”
Southern Miss was unable to score until the end of the first half, leaving 28 points unanswered. With 4:08 left in the second quarter, De’Michael Harris had two short carries before Abraham connected with Harris for a 37-yard pass. A personal foul on Josh Jobe gave the Golden Eagles an automatic first down. Abraham continued to move his offense down the field with a 14-yard pass to Kevin Perkins. On first and goal, Perkins lost one yard in an attempt to run up the middle. Abraham sent a 4-yard pass to Harris for the touchdown, making it the first receiving touchdown for Harris this season.
“We had four pretty good drives, but unfortunately we only scored on one of them,” Hopson said. “Jack did a good job. He moved the ball around well. He directed our offense well.”
The Golden Eagle defense stayed competitive with 57 total tackles, eight of which were tackles for loss. Swayze Bozeman recorded one sack for a loss of six yards. In the fourth quarter, DQ Thomas intercepted a pass from second string quarterback Mac Jones.
“The interception against Alabama helped us gain some momentum and stop the drive,” Thomas said. “It was really important to get it in that third down right there.”
Going into conference play the Golden Eagles hope to take what they have learned from facing not only one but two SEC opponents and applying it to the remaining eight games.
“Offensively I thought today we had a few plays that could have gone our way, and we could have put up a few more points,” quarterback Jack Abraham said. “Non-conference is over, so now it’s a new season.”
Hopson and his players also see the remaining eight games as a clean slate with potential still remaining to claim the conference championship.
“Conference USA is not the SEC. I felt like the whole team belonged out there today. We fought as hard as we could,” De’Michael Harris said. “We are shooting for a conference championship. Anything less than that is a bust.”
The Golden Eagles will return home on Sept. 28 for a matchup with UTEP.