Top Five First Century Plays Chosen at 100 Years Gala
Nov. 2, 2012
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss Department of Athletics announced Friday night its top five games from the school's first century of playing football at its 100 Years Gala. The picks were chosen via a fan vote on SouthernMiss.com.
The top five games in reverse order included:
5. September 20, 1986: Southern Miss 28, Mississippi State 24 - "The Drive" | Video
A 98-yard drive that left Southern Miss fans euphoric and Mississippi State fans drained highlighted another thrilling Golden Eagle-Bulldog game at Jackson's Veterans Memorial Stadium on Sept. 20, 1986. Down 24-21 with the ball on the Southern Miss 2-yard line with just over four minutes to remaining, Eagle offensive tackle Pat Ferrell looked at his teammates in the huddle and announced, "If there's anybody here who doesn't think we're gonna win this game, just leave. Get out of here. We don't need you, because we are fixin' to score." The Eagles responded with a 15-play scoring drive, capped by tailback Shelton Gandy's four-yard run with just 29 seconds to go, winning 28-24. Offensive coordinator Keith Daniels said that the game winning drive "brought me to tears. That's what it did. You feel so much for the players. I tell you, it took some downright courage and character to do what they did out there today." The Eagle offense rushed for 386 yards, while the Nasty Bunch defense limited the Bulldogs to 148 yards on the ground. A 28-24 win over in-state rival Mississippi State and "The Drive" will always be remembered as one of the Greatest Games in Southern Miss Football.
4. November 20, 2003: Southern Miss 40, TCU 28 - Upset at the Rock! | Video
The Golden Eagles hosted TCU at The Rock on Thursday night, Nov. 20, 2003. TCU was 7-0 in Conference USA and ranked No.9 in the Associated Press poll. In front of a crowd of 30,141 and a national ESPN audience, the Horned Frogs outgained the Eagles 429-278, but Southern Miss prevailed where it mattered, taking a 40-28 victory that clinched at least a share of the conference title for the Eagles. With TCU up 3-0, it proved to be their only lead as Southern Miss quarterback Dustin Almond quickly completed a 50-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Daron Lawrence for a 7-3 advantage. Another TCU field goal cut the margin to 7-6 before Southern Miss reeled off 21-straight points to take a 31-6 edge late in the third quarter. TCU rallied to cut the lead to 31-28 with 6:55 remaining, but the Golden Eagles gave themselves a little breathing room with Darren McCaleb's second field goal of the game and sealed the victory after cornerback Greg Brooks forced a TCU fumble and Rod Davis recovered on the 11-yard line. Anthony Harris punched it into the end zone three plays later to give the Eagles their fifth-straight win and improve their season mark to 8-3. The Eagles nailed down the C-USA championship the next week with a win at East Carolina, but the 40-28 victory over TCU on Nov. 20, 2003, will always be remembered as one of the Greatest Games in Southern Miss Football.
3. December 4, 2011: Southern Miss 49, Houston 28 - Win C-USA Championship | Video
No. 24 Southern Miss met No. 7 Houston in the Conference USA championship at Houston's Robertson Stadium on Dec. 3, 2011, in a matchup of two of the most potent offensive teams in the country. The Golden Eagles, behind four touchdown passes from quarterback Austin Davis, a tenacious defensive attack and stellar play by the special teams, took a 49-28 victory to claim the Conference USA title - the fifth in school history. Southern Miss wide receiver Tracy Lampley, who was named the game's Most Valuable Player, caught two touchdown passes and Southern Miss became the first team to hold Houston, averaging more than 50 points per game, below 35 points. Leading 21-14 at halftime the Eagles produced perhaps the biggest play of the game early in third quarter when Furious Bradley blocked a Cougar punt, then scooped up the loose ball and returned it 11 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-14 and the Eagles never looked back. A touchdown run by Desmond Johnson and a 61-yard touchdown pass from Davis to Lampley which gave the Eagles a 42-21 lead as they went on to win the championship. "Everybody thought Houston was going to walk away with this thing and so our guys obviously took exception to that," said Coach Larry Fedora. "They had something to prove. They were going to play with a chip on their shoulders. They wanted everybody to know that Southern Miss is really a good football team." A 49-20 win over Houston for the Conference USA championship on Dec. 3, 2011, produced one of the Greatest Games in Southern Miss Football.
2. October 17, 1970: Southern Miss 30, Ole Miss 14 - Upset No. 4 Ole Miss | Video
Southern Miss traveled to Oxford on Oct. 17, 1970, to face No. 4 Ole Miss and quarterback Archie Manning, a Heisman trophy candidate. The Rebels were prohibitive favorites and started the game true to form with a 7-0 lead. Southern tied the game on a 44-yard touchdown run by fullback Bill Foley, but the Rebels regained the lead on a touchdown pass from Manning to tailback Randy Reed. Driving early in the second quarter, the Southerners had the ball fourth and two at the Rebel 11-yard line. Turning down the chance for a short field goal, coach P.W. Underwood called for a reverse by reserve tailback Willie Heidelburg, who raced around right end to tie the game. Ray Guy's 47-yard field goal gave the Southerners a 17-14 lead at halftime. Early in the second half, Southern again drove to the Rebel 11-yard line, and Underwood again called for a Heidelberg reverse. The result was the same. And Southern held a 23-14 lead after Guy missed the extra point. A few minutes later Gerry Saggus returned a Rebel punt 60 yards for a touchdown, giving Southern a 30-14 lead with 5:45 left in the third quarter and that would be the final score and Southern had one of the biggest upsets of the young college football season and produced one of the Greatest Games in Southern Miss Football.
1. Nov. 13, 1982: Southern Miss 38, Alabama 29 - Ended Alabama's 57-game home winning streak | Video
Southern Miss would travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to meet No. 17 Alabama on Nov. 13, 1982; in a game they dubbed "The Bama Bowl." After exploding for three first-quarter touchdowns, the Eagles held a 28-14 advantage at halftime. The Crimson Tide rallied in the second half, but the Eagle defense and the special teams came up with several big plays to preserve a 38-29 upset, snapping the Crimson Tide's 57-game home winning streak at Bryant-Denny Stadium, which dated back to Oct. 12, 1963. Coach Jim Carmody became the first rookie head coach to defeat the legendary head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. "This is the greatest victory in Southern Miss history," declared Carmody. "There was a great deal of character on that field today," said Bryant. "They are for real, no doubt about it. This was no fluke."