Last Saturday marked the start of the Todd Monken era for Southern Miss football as the Eagles took on the Texas State Bobcats. The Bobcats scored a late touchdown in the last three minutes of the game to go ahead of the Golden Eagles 22-15. The seven point loss made it 13 straight losses for the Golden Eagles.
The Golden Eagles’ offense struggled early and often as they turned the ball over on each of their first two possessions. The first fumble led to the first Bobcat score of the game. The Golden Eagles would go on to lose four fumbles in the game.
Neither team looked to be firing on all cylinders in the first half. The Golden Eagles had 117 yards of total offense in the first half. The Bobcats only produced 100 yards of total offense through the first two quarters.
Senior Allan Bridgford solidified Monken’s decision to start him over Cole Weeks by throwing for 377 yards, with a large chunk of his passing yards coming in the second half.
Bridgford looked shaky to start but showed senior leadership with his composure late in the game. Bridgford showed good accuracy on the deep ball as he connected with senior Rickey Bradley on two occasions.
Bridgford went 28 for 53 for 377 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Golden Eagle offensive line struggled, giving up 3 sacks and producing only 24 rushing yards on 24 attempts.
Senior Kendrick Hardy was the Golden Eagles leading rusher with 27 yards. Freshman Tyre’oune Holmes led the team in receptions with 12, while Bradley led the team in yards with 193. The bulk of Bradley’s yardage came on two deep passes, one for 59 yards and the other for 65 yards.
Holmes’ 12 receptions is tied for second most in a single game in school history. Bradley’s 193 receiving yards ranks him fourth for most receiving yards in a single game in school history.
The Golden Eagles defense nicknamed the “Nasty Bunch” looked to be in midseason form by only allowing the Bobcats 1.8 yards per carry on 41 attempts. The defense also had 9.5 tackles for loss and forced a safety in the third quarter.
The “Nasty Bunch” only allowed the Bobcats’ offense to gain 207 total yards.
Monken was very pleased with the play of the defense.
“They played great. They really did. They really dominated the game. If you look at one facet of the game, our defense dominated it.” Monken said. “Obviously, at the end, giving up that big third down, we had a chance to finish and of course we didn’t.”
As the season goes on Golden Eagle fans hope the offensive and defensive rankings correlate to wins. The Golden Eagles offense is ranked 13th in the nation in total passing yards. The Golden Eagles defense 207 yards allowed is ranked 9th in the nation.
The Golden Eagles will be traveling to Lincoln, Neb. to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Cornhuskers are coming off a close 37-34 win versus the Wyoming Cowboys. Nebraska is ranked 18th in the nation.
In last year’s match up the Cornhuskers defeated the Golden Eagles 49-20. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.