After a 45-30 loss to LA Tech on Oct. 18, Southern Miss now sits at number three in Conference USA West.
“We had our chances,” Head Coach Jay Hopson said. “We knew it would be a 60-minute game and it was. We just had too many missed executions. We have to hold onto the football and we have to play assignment football: offensively, defensively and special teams wise.”
Against the Bulldogs quarterback Jack Abraham threw a season high of four interceptions and completed just 26 of 40 passes for a 65% passing rate. Despite problematic stats, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award top 20 finalists also passed for 327-yards and rushed for a career-high 44-yards. Abraham was also responsible for two touchdowns for the night.
“The thing he did is he competed as hard as I’ve ever seen anybody compete. Yeah he threw four interceptions, but he also gave us a chance,” Offensive Coordinator Buster Faulkner said. “He knows we have to get some things cleaned up and we’ll move forward.”
“We had some opportunities there in the first half, and if we had scored touchdowns over field goals, the score was different at halftime,” Faulkner said. “It’s something we have to do a good job of this week and throughout the rest of the season: more scoring touchdowns, not as much relying on field goals.”
Junior linebacker Swayze Bozeman has taken on a leadership role in the Nasty Bunch. The Copiah-Lincoln Community College transfer had a career high of eight tackles, with four of them solo tackles as well as a fumble recovery.
“He and Racheem [Boothe] have really kind of started to stand out,” Defensive Coordinator Tim Billings said. “He understands what we are doing, and I was really excited about the way he played [against LA Tech]. He has gotten better every week, and that’s what you want from a guy coming in.”
The Golden Eagles special teams salvaged the score with freshman kicker Andrew Stein completing all three field goal attempts, including a career-long 46-yard field goal.
De’Michael Harris had one touchdown after a 100-yard kickoff return at the start of the game but was hit hard in the second quarter. Harris did not return dressed out, leaving a void on the field. With Trivenskey Mosley’s injury in the second play of the season, Faulkner moved Harris from wide receiver to his previous position of running back to compensate. Now that Mosely and Harris are absent, Faulkner must once again adjust accordingly.
“Mosley is a guy that we hope to get up and running. It’s going to happen at some point, just hopefully this week,” Faulkner said. “[I] feel good about Kevin Perkins. He’s been solid. He comes to work every day. He is good in pass protection. He’s just got to get used to carrying the load.”
Southern Miss will travel to Houston, Texas, to face the Rice Owls on Oct. 26.
“We understand we’re playing a good football team,” Hopson said. “They just took the team we got beat by to overtime. Trust me, Rice has our complete and total respect.”