The Southern Miss Golden Eagles finally put it all together in the final game of head coach Todd Monken’s first year. The Golden Eagles erupted with 28 points in the 3rd quarter against the UAB Blazers, for a final score of 62-27. The Golden Eagles ended the nation’s longest losing streak at 23 games.
The Eagles dominated in all facets of the game Saturday versus the Blazers, accumulating a total of 472 total yards; 370 coming through the air and 102 on the ground. The defense of Southern Miss allowed 431 total yards and 22 first downs. The major difference in the game was turnovers, the Golden Eagles forced five, while the Blazers’ defense forced only one.
Freshman signal caller Nick Mullens threw for a career-high 370 yards and accounted for six touchdowns. Mullens threw for five and ran in another. This performance was arguably Mullens’ breakout game and quite the tease heading into next season. The offense seemed to be clicking early as they were able to score on the opening drive. In the second quarter, kicker Corey Acosta kicked two field goals, one from 30 yards out and the other from 25 yards out. The Golden Eagles went into halftime down 21-13.
Following the break, the Golden Eagles appeared to have eaten their Wheaties during halftime as they scored 28 unanswered points. In the third quarter, the Blazers possessed the ball four times, with each result being favorable for the Eagles. Two fumbles, a missed field goal and a punt sums up the quarter for the Blazers. The Eagles would go on to score another 21 in the closing quarter to run the score up to 62 points.
The Southern Miss gave up the usual amount of yards, the only difference this time around was that they were able to force turnovers and get to the quarterback on several occasions, racking up five sacks in the game. The Eagles’ defense played on the Blazers’ side of the line of scrimmage as they were able to get 11 total tackle for losses.
The Golden Eagles’ staff will carry momentum from this victory into the recruiting season. The Golden Eagles have quite a few needs on both sides of the ball.
A pitch that could seal the deal for most recruits: the chance to play early and often. The Golden Eagles currently have 11 commits, 6 from Mississippi and 5 from Alabama. The staff looks to be going into areas they’re familiar with.
The Golden Eagles top commit to this point looks to be defensive end Jon Michael Edwards from Montgomery, Ala. The Golden Eagles also went into South Alabama’s backyard and got a commitment from pro-style quarterback Gunner Roach from Mobile, Ala. The staff has also taken care of the kids in their backyard, as they were able to get Picasso Nelson, a two-way player who has led his team to the state championship game.
The win versus UAB ends a 10-year losing streak to the Blazers. The Eagles have something to build off of as they prepare for the Mississippi State in the season opener; there’s a good chance the Bulldogs could overlook the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in the opener. This game will be one to look out for at the start of next season.