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November 13, 2012INSIDE SLANT
As this difficult year has progressed, and the losses piled up for Southern Miss, some fans started to wonder if this year's group was the worst in Golden Eagles history.
With the loss to SMU, they didn't leave any doubt.
Southern Miss lost its 10th consecutive game this season, becoming the first team in the history of the Golden Eagles tradition-rich program to suffer double-figure losses. The 1976 team started 0-9.
Southern Miss coach Ellis Johnson is trying to keep the program focussed on the future.
"Right now, we're trying to build some young kids for the future and try and get some of these older kids a win or two before they go out the door," Johnson said,
Especially painful this week was that the Golden Eagles simply couldn't do anything offensively.
"We were absolutely crushed up front on offense," Johnson said. "We probably 60 yards running the football, and that's been something where we'd been fairly effective."
- The home fans will say goodbye to the 2012 team when Southern Miss faces UTEP this week. It might be the best chance the Golden Eagles have to win this season because it's at home. Both Southern Miss' final two opponents have just two wins. UTEP's wins came against teams with a combined three victories this season.
- Southern Miss' quarterback carousel has been a significant problem this year. Injuries and ineffective play led to four Golden Eagles quarterbacks starting games this year. Against SMU, four quarterbacks played. That's the fourth time this season Southern Miss has had to play that many QBs in a game. Chris Campbell played for the first time in seven week but left the field with neck and shoulder injuries.
- It's difficult, and probably not accurate, to compare teams that haven't played each other this season, but in one way Southern Miss is the worst team in the nation. The Golden Eagles are the only remaining team in the country that has yet to win a game. There are eight one-win teams and Southern Miss almost certainly should be able to beat a couple of those teams.
Keep An Eye On: QB Chris Campbell suffered a scary injury against SMU, but he could be back next week because he didn't suffer any structural damage on the hit. Quarterback Arsenio Favor should be back from suspension, so there could be uncertainty as to which quarterback will start next week.
Looking Good: Southern Miss has shown an ability to block kicks this year. Jerrion Johnson blocked a field-goal attempt in the fourth quarter, the fourth blocked kick of the season for the Golden Eagles. They have made some big plays on special teams this year, but the offense and defense have floundered.
Still Needs Work: As bad as this season has been, the Southern Miss rushing game was respectable. Coming into the SMU game, the Golden Eagles rushed for an average of nearly 175 yards per game. But Southern Miss "was absolutely crushed on offense up front" against SMU, coach Ellis Johnson said. The Golden Eagles mustered a season-low 51 yards.
Quote To Note: "Obviously, we didn't play very well." - Southern Miss coach Ellis Johnson
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
- DB Jacorious Cotton, who hadn't played since early October because of an ankle injury, came back and broke up a pass on a key play.
- DE Jamie Collins forced his fourth fumble of the season, the third straight year that a Southern Miss player has had that total.
- P Peter Boehme tied a career high with eight punts against SMU, including a career-high 64 yarder. He also had a 54-yard boot in the game.
- QB Chris Campbell left the game with neck and shoulder injuries after being hit on a blitz. Before the SMU game, he hadn't played in nearly two months because of a neck injury.
- QB Arsenio Favor did not play because he was suspended for violating a team rule