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Remembering Memorable Southern Miss Homecoming Games

Oct. 17, 2012

Homecoming games are always special and bring back many fond memories to the players, coaches and fans. Southern Miss has officially celebrated football 75 times prior to this season and has won 56 of those contests. The Golden Eagles have won 10 of its last 11 homecoming games and scored at least 28 points in 13 of the last 15, while scoring at least 40 points nine times during that stretch.

This weekend will be the first time that the Golden Eagles have ever faced Marshall for its homecoming game. In 1974, homecoming was not celebrated at a football game, since what is now M.M. Roberts Stadium was being renovated, and instead was celebrated during a Golden Eagle basketball game against Lamar in early December.

Everybody has a favorite or memorable homecoming matchup that they have watched; here are just a few of the games I think were the most memorable Homecoming games.

State Teachers College 12, Spring Hill College 0
October 29, 1932 - The first organized and recognized homecoming was also the team's home opener and marked the debut of the new stadium, which was dubbed Faulkner Field in honor of the project director, who had donated materials and equipment and recruited unemployed laborers to do the construction. The stadium was built at no cost to the college and was dedicated by Mississippi First Lady Alma Graham Conner, the 78th student to enroll in the college and a member of the first graduating class in 1914, as part of Hattiesburg's Golden Jubilee Day celebration. After the ceremony, which was amplified and broadcast throughout the stadium, a crowd of 4,000 saw the Teachers defeat Spring Hill 12-0 on a second quarter touchdown by halfback Hunter Denson and a fourth quarter touchdown by back Clay (Goofus) Boyd. During halftime, the Teacher band, dressed in white uniforms, put on a great show and spelled out MSTC, much to the delight of the crowd, and the students staged a snake dance on the field.

Mississippi Southern College 55, McMurray College 32
October 8, 1949 - The game against McMurray College was played in front of a capacity crowd at Faulkner Field with the Southerners winning 55-32. The game was preceded by a large homecoming parade that included Governor Fielding Wright and what the Hattiesburg American described as "more than 40 attractive floats and festooned cars... bands and {a} general air of festivity [that] drew what may have been a record-breaking parade crowd. The route from Forrest Street down Main to Walnut Street was lined six deep, and spectators jammed windows of every office building." Tailback Bubba Phillips rushed only five times but gained 60 yards and threw a touchdown pass, and halfback Frank Spruiell rushed seven times for 68 yards and returned a kickoff 78 yards. But although Coach Pie Vann was pleased with his offense, he and his coaching staff were worried about the MSC defense. McMurray halfback Brad Rowland, a little All-America candidate, rushed 19 times for 197 yards and the Indians had rolled up more than 400 yards of total offense.

Mississippi Southern College 20, Florida State 0
November 16, 1957 - Southern beat Florida State 20-0, paying the Seminoles back for their 1956 victory over the otherwise undefeated Southerners. The defense recorded another shutout and allowed only 85 yards rushing and 50 yards passing. Quarterback Bobby Lance thrilled the crowd with a 57-yard jaunt in the second quarter after the defense had stopped FSU on the one-yard line. Bo Dickinson scored late in the second quarter to give Southern a comfortable lead, to which quarterback George Sekul added to later in the game. After winning this game, Southern once again accepted a bid to the Tangerine Bowl.

Southern Miss 76, Cal State Fullerton
November 22, 1975 - The Golden Eagles homecoming game was held in Biloxi, Miss., where they faced Cal State-Fullerton. Southern scored on its first eight possessions and on 10 of its first 11 on the way to a lopsided 70-0 win for the most points scored since a 76-0 Homecoming defeat of Northwestern (La.) State in 1951. Southern Miss rolled up 468 yards on the ground, including 111 by tailback Ben "Go-Go" Garry and 115 by Chuck "Fancy" Clancy, and scored nine touchdowns. The USM defense held Cal-State Fullerton to -11 yards rushing and 67 total yards.

Southern Miss 52, Texas-Arlington 9
October 3, 1981 - The Golden Eagles rolled up a then school-record 630 yards of total offense in a 52-9 rout of Texas-Arlington. Quarterback Reggie Collier turned in one of the greatest individual performances in school history, rushing for 186 yards including touchdown runs of 80 and 84 yards, and throwing for an additional 112 yards, including a 62-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Don Horn. The Nasty Bunch defense limited the Mavericks to 229 yards.

Southern Miss 48, Louisville 0
October 23, 1982 - The Golden Eagles rolled up 500 yards of total offense, including 424 on the ground, on the way to a 48-0 whitewashing of the Louisville Cardinals. The defense held Louisville to 174 yards while forcing nine turnovers, including two interceptions each by linebacker Greg Haeusler and cornerback Eddie Ray Walker. "They should have brought the cold weather and the rain if they expected to beat us," said quarterback Reggie Collier. "And even if they had brought bad weather they wouldn't have beaten us." Added nose guard Jerald Baylis, "This was our chance to pay them back for what they did to us last year. They messed up what might have been a perfect season."

Southern Miss 34, Memphis State 27
October 29, 1988 - -Southern Miss came through in the clutch with a 34-27 win over Memphis to earn the host role in the Independence Bowl. After Memphis State had scored twice to take a 27-26 lead late in the game, quarterback Brett Favre drove the Eagles down the field in the game's final minutes, throwing a 45-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eugene Rowell, who juggled the ball before pulling it in. Favre broke his own school record with 341 yards through the air, and the Eagle offense rolled up 498 yards. "We knew what a victory meant today," coach Curley Hallman said. "We closed the deal. We signed the check and cashed it."

Southern Miss 34,Tulane 13
October 25, 1997 - The talk leading up to USM's game with Tulane at The Rock concerned the matchup of Tulane's league-leading offense against the Southern Miss' defense, which was also the best in Conference USA. After building a 13-7 halftime lead, the Golden Eagles took control offensively with their rushing game, while the Eagle defense held Tulane quarterback Shaun King to a subpar day both rushing and passing and forced him to throw three interceptions, two of them to cornerback Patrick Surtain.

Southern Miss 48. Louisiana-Lafayette 3
November 1, 2003 - Southern Miss turned in another strong performance in a 48-3 homecoming victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, amassing 264 yards rushing and 286 yards through the air and scoring six touchdowns. Quarterback Dustin Almond threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, finishing with 187 yards on 11-of-15 attempts. Wide receiver Marvin Young caught four of those passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns, while tailback Anthony Harris tallied a career high 130 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.

Southern Miss 70, UAB 14
November 1, 2008 - Austin Davis ran for five touchdowns and threw for another to lead Southern Miss in a romp over UAB, 70-14. Davis completed six-of-seven passes for 141 yards, while rushing 10 times for 81 yards. Tailback Tory Harrison had 137 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries for the Eagles, who posted 463 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground as a team. The Eagles added 147 yards passing for a total of 610 total yards. The Eagles scored their most points since beating Cal State-Fullerton 76-0 in 1975.

Have a great time at the Homecoming game on Saturday against the Marshall Thundering Herd. Who knows, maybe we will have another thrilling game that will go down as one of the most memorable Homecoming contests ever.

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