Golden Eagle defense looking to continue its rise Saturday night
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Southern Miss enters Saturday's blackout game against UAB with the No. 19 rush defense in the country, and last week's double-overtime road win over LA Tech saw the Golden Eagles limit Bulldog star quarterback J'Mar Smith to 11-for-28 passing. He had entered the night No. 5 nationally for passing amongst underclassmen.
Opponents are averaging just 116 yards per game on the ground against the Black and Gold, and UAB brings in a talented tandem of Spencer Brown (700 yards) and A.J. Erdely (242), who have combine for 15 touchdowns this year. It is the first time the longtime C-USA rivals have faced each other on the gridiron since 2014, before UAB cut and later reinstated its program.
Racheem Boothe, one of many Southern Miss playmakers out of Bassfield, has been a major contributor through the first half of the season. The redshirt-freshman is second on the squad with 34 tackles and is tied with Paxton Schrimsher for the team-lead of 5 1/2 TFL. His 2 1/2 sacks are also deadlocked atop the leaderboard with Schrimsher and redshirt-freshman Jacques Turner.
Through the passing game, only three teams have completed more than 50 percent of its passes against Southern Miss, including now 5-2 Kentucky, which finished 11-for-20. Over the last two games, the Golden Eagles have allowed just 21 first downs in comparison to its 50 on the offensive end.
This weekend, serving one of the only two remaining home games left on the 2017 slate, features several top-notch promotions, including Eaglepalooza, each day and night for fans of all ages. Tickets for the 6 p.m. game against UAB can be purchased by visiting SouthernMissTickets.com, calling 1-800-844-TICK, or visiting the Pat Ferlise Center during normal business hours.