SOUTHERN MISS FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW
Fresh off their shocking Conference-USA championship over archrival Houston and a strong showing in the Hawai'i Bowl, the University of Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss) has its sights set on bigger goals this season. For much of 2011, it looked like the University of Houston would run away with the C-USA championship, but the Golden Eagles stepped up when it mattered most. Head coach Larry Fedora's squad is looking to finally break through to capture a Bowl Championship Series bid and the roster is filled from top to bottom with players who have game-breaking potential.
On offense, the Golden Eagles have plenty of flexibility at the quarterback position, with Arsenio Favor running the option while Chris Campbell looks to compete for time in the traditional package. At running back, Larry Fedora loves going with a hot hand, so expect Reggie Hunt, Kendrick Hardy and Jeremy Hester to compete for playing time. The Golden Eagles have a real weapon in tight end Ryan Hanks, who leads a stellar receivers group. On the offensive line, Southern Miss will return its guard and center starters from 2011 while a new set of tackles will become acclimated to the offense.
Perhaps one of the most devastating aspects of the 2011 team was the Golden Eagles' defense, but thanks to the 3-4 alignment, the squad is likely to receive a boost from the return of nose tackle Khyri Thornton. Jamie Collins and Jerrion Johnson will also see plenty of time at linebacker while Alan Howze looks to take over the reins at middle linebacker. The Golden Eagles' secondary looks to be its biggest strength, with interceptions leader Deron Wilson and strong safety Jacorious Cotton leading the back end of the defense. Finally on special teams, Peter Boehme will continue his punting duties while Corey Acosta will handle field goals and kickoffs.
Heading into 2012, expectations are through the roof for Southern Miss, who fully expect to take the Conference-USA title once again. The team will have their work cut out for them with an opener against the University of Nebraska, as well as an early October showdown against Boise St. This is on top of an already-competitive C-USA schedule that contains marquis matchups against the University of Central Florida, Southern Methodist University and the University of East Carolina. In 2011, the Golden Eagles had their coming out party, but this year looks like the squad's time to take its place in the national rankings.
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI GOLDEN EAGLES INFORMATION:
Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Stadium: M.M. Roberts Stadium
Conference: Conference USA
Rivals: East Carolina Pirates, Tulane Green Waves
Mascot: Seymour d'Campus
Notable Alumni: Michael Boley, Brett Favre, Sammy Winder, Louis Lipps
Notable Bowl Games:
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles have the distinction of being one of only five schools to have 13 or more consecutive winning seasons. Since the founding of the Conference USA in 1996, one could argue that Southern Miss has been the most dominant football program in the conference. The Golden Eagles have played for 5 conference titles and won 4 of them. Outgoing coach Jeff Bower and his Golden Eagles team has been voted the coach and team of the decade in the C-USA. Additionally Southern Miss boasts a graduation rate among its athletes of more than 90%.
The Southern Mississippi Golden eagles play their home games at Roberts Stadium, aka "the Rock", in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Opened in 1932, the stadium holds 33,000 spectators. Roberts Stadium has seen some great Golden Eagles players over the years, including Hall of Fame kicker Ray Guy and legendary quarterback Brett Favre. A game in Hattiesburg is a treat for any college football fan. Buy Southern Miss tickets today nd watch the Golden Eagles continue their conference success!
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