Nov. 13, 2008
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -
Southern Miss returns home for its final home game of the season Saturday against Conference USA rival, and East Division leader, East Carolina, in the school's annual "Black Out" Game. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
Fans are requested to wear black to the final game of the 2008 season. The "Black Out" T-shirts and merchandise are available in local retail outlets throughout Hattiesburg and will be available in the stadium while supplies last. The price will vary from retailer to retailer, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting a philanthropy chosen by the Southern Miss Student Government Association.
The game can be heard on the Southern Miss ISP Sports Network with the "Voice of the Golden Eagles" John Cox handling the play-by-play, while Vic Purvis handles the analysis and Jason Baker adds his perspective from the sideline.
The Golden Eagles look to bring their momentum and winning mentality back, which includes two-straight victories, to Hattiesburg and keep their postseason bowl hopes alive against a tenacious ECU team.
This game will also be the final home game for 21 seniors on the Golden Eagle squad.
Last season, the Eagles defeated East Carolina in Greenville, N.C., 28-21. Junior running back Damion Fletcher rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown in that game while quarterback Jeremy Young rushed for two scores and threw for another.
The Pirates, which rose to as high as No. 14 in the Associated Press poll earlier this season, will be riding a three-game winning streak into Hattiesburg after winning their last two games in overtime by a total of six points.
They will be tasked with attacking a Southern Miss defense that has come alive over the past two games. The Eagles have held their last two opponents to an average of 10 total points and 215 yards of total offense, while recording eight turnovers.
The Pirates are currently 79th in the nation in total offense. Their rushing offense is No. 82 nationally, while the passing offense is No. 62.
Much like the Golden Eagles' previous opponent, UCF, East Carolina excels on defense, and they lead C-USA in most major categories. They lead the conference in scoring defense, total defense, and pass defense. They rank third in rushing defense within the conference.
The Eagles will need sophomore running back V.J. Floyd and redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Davis to continue their excellent performances on the ground, as both Damion Fletcher and junior running back Tory Harrison are still questionable for Saturday's match up.
As has been the norm most of the season, Davis will continue to look for his two favorite targets, senior tight end Shawn Nelson and freshman sensation wide receiver DeAndre Brown. Nelson is having a stellar senior campaign with 48 catches for 498 yards, and Brown still leads all freshmen in the nation in touchdowns (11) and yards per game (93.3).
On defense, junior linebacker Gerald McRath continues to lead all of C-USA in
tackles with 110, averaging 11 per game. He is tied for No. 5 nationally.
In recent weeks, junior college transfer Andre Watson and junior Eddie Hicks have been troubling opposing quarterbacks. Both have recorded an interception in each of the Golden Eagles' previous two games. They will look to continue this streak against the Pirates.
Tickets are still available for purchase at the Ferlise Athletic Ticket Center on the Southern Miss campus from 8-5 p.m., Monday-Friday or by calling 1-800-844-TICK (8425), as well as online at SouthernMiss.com. The Ferlise Ticket Center also will be open Saturday from 8 a.m. - 10:30 p.m., with tickets available at the stadium ticket offices beginning at 11 p.m.
Fans can also purchase a special 4 tickets for $40 good for East Upper Deck seats.
Individuals who have football tickets also can go to the Reed Green Coliseum after the ECU contest and redeem a free ticket for the men's basketball season-opening game against Loyola (New Orleans). Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.