Football Travels to Houston for C-USA Showdown at Rice
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss vies for bowl eligibility when they travel to Houston, Saturday, to face Conference USA West foe Rice at 2:30 p.m.
A Golden Eagles victory gives the program their third-straight year of bowl eligibility, while also looking for their third consecutive win over Rice.
Southern Miss vs. Rice: Postgame Notes
Southern Miss has won consecutive games in the Rice series for the first time and has a 3-4 record against the Owls.
Southern Miss (5-4 overall, 3-2 C-USA) trails in the series with Rice 4-3 which dates back to the 2007 season, but have won the last two games in the series by the score of 65-10 at Rice Stadium in 2015 and a 44-28 triumph at M.M. Roberts Stadium last season.
In last year’s meeting, Nick Mullens threw for a school-record 591 yards and hit current senior Allenzae Staggers for six catches and a school-record 292 yards, including touchdown catches of 75, 81 and 93 yards.
The Golden Eagles will have a new quarterback in this year’s C-USA West showdown, and second-year coach Jay Hopson said earlier in the week that the team would utilize junior Kwadra Griggs, who was hurt in the fourth game of the season.
Griggs, who has played sparingly over the last two games, has appeared in six games this season and thrown for 1,071 yards on 77-of-147 throws with eight touchdowns and two interceptions.
Senior running back Ito Smith still needs 132 rushing yards for 1,000 this season, but only nine yards shy on the ground of reaching 4,000 for his career. When that happens, Smith will become only the 10th player at the Football Bowl Subdivision level to collect 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in their respective careers. Two former collegians, Donnel Pumphrey of San Diego State and Elijah McGuire of Louisiana-Lafayette, eclipsed those milestones last season.
Senior defensive back Tarvarius Moore leads Southern Miss on the other side of the ball with a team-best 55 tackles and a squad-best tying two interceptions.
Rice (1-8, 1-4) holds its 98th homecoming when they meet the Golden Eagles, looking to snap a current seven-game losing streak.
Austin Walter leads the Owls in rushing with 286 yards, while Sam Glaesmann has thrown fo 500 yards in six games at quarterback for Rice on 32-of-72 attempts with three touchdowns and six interceptions. Aaron Cephus leads the Owls in receiving with 500 yards on 18 catches and five touchdown catches.
Emmanuel Ellerbee leads Rice on defense with 84 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss and a sack.
Following the Rice contest, the Golden Eagles return home for its final home game of the 2017 season when they entertain Charlotte in a 2 p.m., contest, Saturday, Nov. 18.