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Football Returns to Practice Fields Tuesday to Ready for Southern Contest This Weekend

Sept. 5, 2017

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss football team returned to the practice fields Tuesday afternoon to continue with its preparation for this weekend’s opponent, Southern.

The Golden Eagles and Jaguars will play at 6 p.m., Saturday, at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

The squad looks to turn the page after a strong opening-game performance to Kentucky, despite falling 24-17 at home last Saturday.

While the Golden Eagles did turn the ball over three times against the Wildcats, there were many positives for the squad to take away from the contest.  

“When guys play hard and compete hard that’s all I can ask,” said Southern Miss coach Jay Hopson at his media conference Monday. “I can’t ask for anything more. We just had some tough circumstances. That’s football. Sometimes the ball bounces the wrong way but we just have to get better and that’s all we can do.”

Still, here are some of the positives the Golden Eagles took away from the game with UK.

For the sixth time over the last 14 games, the Golden Eagles limited their opponents to under 300 yards of total offense as the Wildcats managed 254 (78 rush, 176 pass). It was the first time under Jay Hopson that they lost when they held an opponent to under 100 yards rushing (4-1) and 300 yards total offense (5-1). They also outgained their opponent for the 13th time since the start of the 2016 campaign.

Senior running back Ito Smith was contained to 37 yards rushing on 16 carries, but caught a career-best nine passes for 78 yards and finished the day with 115 all-purpose yards. He has registered at least 100 all-purpose yards in his last 14 games and 19 of his last 20.

Redshirt freshman Quez Watkins tallied 103 yards on four catches to mark the best receiving debut by a Golden Eagle freshman since Tyre’oune Holmes has 12 catches for 96 yards against Texas State to start the 2013 campaign.

Senior Rod Crayton, who had one career TFL heading into the season, tallied five tackles including 1.5 TFLs against Kentucky.

Junior quarterback Kwadra Griggs came off the bench to throw for 222 yards on 15-of-26 passing and a pair of scores for the Golden Eagles, hitting former Greenwood High school teammate Korey Robertson on both TDs.

Saturday’s game will be the first-ever meeting between the Golden Eagles and Jaguars in football. Southern Miss holds a 5-0 all-time record over teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Season tickets and flex plans, as well as single game and group tickets for the 2017 Golden Eagle home season are available and can be purchased by going online at, by calling 1-800-844-TICK (8425) or by visiting the Pat Ferlise Ticket Office, weekdays, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.  Discounts are available for Southern Miss faculty and staff, senior citizens, military personnel, and recent Southern Miss graduates. 

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