HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - After suffering a two-game skid and their worst loss of the season to North Texas, Southern Miss Head Coach Jay Hopson challenged his team to finish drives. Returning back home - in front of fans and alumni on homecoming - it seemed like USM were trying to finish the game in the first half, scoring 20 of their 27 points to beat UTSA by 10.
“We showed really good flashes out there, " Coach Hopson said. "We’re on a journey each week, you know to be better. There’s times where I look out there and I see an excellent football team. We sometimes sputter, stop ourselves a little bit, but I felt like - for the most part - it was a really good team win.”
UTSA call themselves the roadrunners, but it was Southern Miss who ran all over the field Saturday, racking up a season-high 218 yards on the ground thanks to a few shifts on the offensive line.
“My offensive line, they just dialed in at practice and they came out and executed, " freshman running back Trivenskey Mosley said. "So all the credit goes to them.”
“I thought they moved well, I thought we ran block well, " Coach Hopson said. "We created some competition up front in our offensive line and those guys responded.”
The defense cleaned up their tackling struggles from last week, only allowing UTSA 174 yards of total offense.
“I preach to you every week man, we’ve got to rattle those quarterbacks up man," senior linebacker Sherrod Ruff said. "That’s one thing we preach man, pressuring a lot. That’s one thing we did, we got a couple sacks tonight, but we just put pressure on the quarterback. Make him uncomfortable and that’s the only thing we preached during the week.”
The Golden Eagles fast start began with a 29-yard reception by Biloxi, MS product Tim Jones, who had himself a day with a career-high 107 receiving yards.
“Since I’ve been here, he’s always been one of the more trustworthy guys on this team and on the receiving core," said starting junior quarterback Jack Abraham. "I know he’s going to be in the right spot at the right time and that’s important.”
USM is now ranked third in the Conference USA west division and control their own destiny, but they don’t want to get too ahead of themselves - sticking to their mantra of improving each week.
“We want to be better next week, you know that’s kind of our journey," said Coach Hopson. "We’ve started off and our whole deal each week, we want to be a better football team.”