Football Opens C-USA Play Saturday versus North Texas
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss football team opens its 22nd Conference USA football season Saturday when they entertain North Texas in a 6 p.m., contest at Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
The Golden Eagles (2-1) return to action against the Mean Green after enjoying their lone off weekend last Saturday. Under second-year head coach Jay Hopson, Southern Miss enters the game with a two-game winning streak.
Southern Miss plays a North Texas squad that holds a 2-2 overall record and defeated UAB, 46-43, in Denton last weekend on a field goal in the final 10 seconds of their C-USA opener.
Under defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro, the Golden Eagles rank in the Top 10 national in the following categories: No. 2 in 3rd down conversions defense (.146/6-for-41), No. 2 in defensive first downs (34), No. 3 in team passing efficiency defense (84.99), No. 4 in passing yards allowed (122.0 pg), No. 5 in red zone defense (.600), No. 6 in total defense (241.3 ypg), No. 7 in passes intercepted (1) and No. 8 in defensive TDs (2).
That unit will have its work cut out for it as the Mean Green enter the league with a 503.5 total offensive yards per game, which ranks No. 16 in the country.
The Golden Eagle offense has enjoyed success of its own, having posted 458.3 yards per game behind redshirt junior Kwadra Griggs, who is set to make his third-straight start. Griggs has thrown for 681 yards and seven touchdowns, including four scoring tosses to former Greenwood High School teammate Korey Robertson.
Senior running back Ito Smith looks to register his second consecutive 100-plus rushing game after tallying a career-best 219 yards two weeks again at ULM while winning his first career C-USA Offensive Player of the Week honor. Smith ranks No. 4 on the school’s career rushing chart with 3,456 yards and looks to possibly move up that list against the Mean Green.
The Golden Eagles will hold a reunion for its 1997 team that finished 9-3, captured the league’s championship and defeated Pittsburgh 41-7 in the Liberty Bowl that season. In addition, the 2017 class of the M-Club Hall of Fame will be recognized during the contest. The game also will be Band Day and the Pride of Mississippi will join its visiting band members in the East grandstand during the game. This will be the only time the band will be sitting outside its normal spot in the south end zone.
Tickets are available for the game by going online at SouthernMissTickets.com, by calling 1-800-844-TICK (8425) or by visiting the Pat Ferlise Ticket Office between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The Ferlise Center will also be open Saturday from 11 a.m., until 2:30 p.m., before moving over to the M.M. Roberts Stadium Ticket Office on the southwest corner of the stadium.