Top 11 Highlights of the 2011 Football Season
Jan. 27, 2012
Top Moments Central Page
The 2011 Southern Miss football season was a season for the record books including the most wins in school history, a Conference USA championship, and ending with a Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl victory.
SouthernMiss.com will be showcasing the top 11 highlights of the 2011 football season over the next four weeks with the #1 highlight being released on Wednesday, February 1st, national signing day.
Southern Miss was in need of a victory in its bowl game out in Hawai'i for several reasons.
The three main reasons were to cap off a Conference USA championship season with a victory, to get to a win total that the school had never ascended to before and to snap a two-game bowl losing streak.
It was the 22nd overall appearance for the Golden Eagles in a postseason bowl game as well as the 10th consecutive season and 14th time in the last 15 years that they have earned a postseason trip.
Although they faced a 7-5 Nevada squad that finished third in the Western Athletic Conference, the Wolf Pack proved to be a tough foe behind a strong running game of Lampford Mark on offense and All-American defensive lineman Mark Roy.
The Golden Eagles, like they had twice before during the season which included the C-USA Championship game, blocked a punt early in the second quarter to take the early advantage. Senior Tim Green batted down a Wolf Pack punt deep in that team's own end, somersaulting over the Nevada protection line on the play. The ball scooted across the end zone and Tray Becton-Martin picked it up to give the Eagles the early lead.
Nevada answered with two touchdowns later in the quarter before the Golden Eagles rallied with 10 point in the final 1:21 of the opening half to take a 17-14 lead into the lockerroom. Senior place kicker Danny Hrapmann kicked a 48-yard field goal to close the gap and then the Golden Eagles went ahead on a 2-yard scoring strike from Austin Davis to a diving Tracey Lampley in the back of the end zone.
Nevada tied the game in the third quarter with a field goal of his own, but it was Austin Davis who engineered the Golden Eagles with their longest drive in the fourth quarter to manufacture the victory for Southern Miss.
The Golden Eagles capped a seven-play, 68-yard drive with 5:48 remaining in the contest on a four-yard throw from Davis to Kelvin Bolden which proved to be the game winner.
The Southern Miss defense, which came up big all season, did not disappoint on the Wolf Pack's next series, as they held them to a fourth-down and short at midfield and the Golden Eagles were able to run down the clock to hold on to the win.
Although it was not the finest game for the Golden Eagles during their incredible run, it was good enough to capture their 12th win over the campaign and put an exclamation point on the accomplishments of this edition of Southern Miss football.