Oct. 11, 2010
More people were on Southern Miss campus this past homecoming weekend than at any point in Southern Miss football history. Perfect weather and fan excitement combined for yet another great home game atmosphere.
A big thank you goes to the 32,334 fans who were `loud and proud' at the Rock to watch the thriller against Conference USA foe East Carolina. The tailgating experience also continues to grow, and estimates are that another 10,000 or more were in tailgating areas across campus in addition to the stadium attendance.
The game turned out to be a heartbreaker, and many are trying to analyze the loss. It's always difficult to overcome being without 11 starters, who either missed all or part of the game due to injuries or other circumstances. This is part of the game for any program, of course, but this may be the most Eagle injuries I have seen at any one time since I became athletic director in 1999.
Major kudos to Southern Miss kicker Danny Hrapman, who is now, rated the No. 1 field goal kicker in the nation. The redshirt junior has split the uprights for 16 consecutive field goals dating back to last season. This includes his season long of 51 yards against Marshall, along with two 49-yarders vs. East Carolina.
We were thrilled to welcome home Saturday a number of former Eagle players, including Southern Miss great Hanford Dixon, who was inducted as the seventh member of the Legends Club. In fact, we had more former football players back on campus this past weekend than at any one time in program history.
The loss was certainly disappointing for fans and players (including former players) alike, but former Golden Eagle Preston Hansford, who played in the mid-80's, summed it up this way in an email to us today: "We all love this university, and we felt the love coming back at us this weekend. Even though we came up a tad short in a big conference game, I believe this program is headed in the right direction."
With the second half of the season still ahead of us, we know players and coaches are determined to rebound from the loss. Four of our last six games will be on the road, but we hope to see many of our fans supporting the Eagles at away games, starting with Memphis this coming Saturday. See you there!