The annual Black and Gold spring game showcased some new talent for the Golden Eagles as the Black squad beat the Gold squad 45-25 Saturday afternoon, April 19.
The starters were split among both teams, putting 11 on the Black squad and 11 on the Gold squad. The day started with a pregame one-on-one Oklahoma drill that got the intensity going.
The Gold team dominated in the Oklahoma drill, winning 4-1. When the players took the field for the actual spring game, starting quarterback Nick Mullens wasted no time getting the Black team on the board.
The Black team got the ball back after freshman Picasso Nelson picked off Cole Weeks to open the game. On the ensuing play, Mullens threw a perfect pass to where only his receiver, Marquise Ricard, could get it for a touchdown. Ricard finished with five catches for 74 yards and the touchdown and showed he could be a deep threat and Mullen’s go-to guy.
“I really thought, throughout the spring, that we improved on theSthings that mattered,” said Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken. “I thought our guys were flying around. There was more energy. It was productive for what we were trying to get accomplished.”
Mullens showed improve-ment and maturity as he completed 12 of his 19 passes for 133 yards and one score. Mullens flashed some running ability as well as he scampered for 17 yards on three carries with a touchdown.
Sophomore quarterback Matt Bergeron, who sat out last year after transferring from Lamar University, impressed many as well leading the Black team’s second offense. He was 6-6 for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Jalen Richard led the way on the ground with 12 carries for 139 and a touchdown. Richard also showcased his nice hands pulling in three catches for 33 yards and a touchdown.
Cole Weeks started under center for the Gold team and split time with Parker Adamson. Both quarterbacks dropped backed 25 times with 13 completions. Weeks threw for 206 yards, to lead all quarterbacks, and two touchdowns. Adamson had 83 yards and a score.
George Payne toted the rock for the Gold team, finishing with 49 yards on 12 carries. Jarell Aaron had a nice game with seven catches 80 yards and a touchdown.
While there were a lot of points put on the board, it was not all because of the offense. DeBarriaus Miller and Ja’Boree Poole each had pick sixes for the Black squad. Poole added two sacks on the afternoon as well. The Black team defense had a total of eight sacks which is a promising sign for a defense that struggled to make game-changing plays last season.
The Golden Eagles flashed a lot of promise in the game as spring camp closed on Saturday. They will hope to carry some of that promise into the regular season in the fall.