Hattiesburg Southern Miss Golden Eagles
This week, we take a look at Kentucky's first opponent, the South Alabama Jaguars against the Mississippi Golden Eagles. The two schools are in the same town, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, just a few miles apart, making for a heated game.
Southern Miss holds a commanding 35-16 lead in the head-to-head series, but Louisiana Tech won the last meeting 45-30 at Ruston last October. Southern Mississippi has won just five games and leads the all-time series with South Alabama, all of which are played in Montgomery, Ala.
The Golden Eagles turned up in overtime, shooting a perfect 10-for-10 shot from the field and winning 14-6 in overtime. UT shot a season-low 36.2 percent from three-point range while the Golden Eagles edged the Miners 42-41 on the board. Southern Mississippi's last victory over South Alabama was in 2010 in New Orleans and Southern Miss's last victory was in 2011 in Hattiesburg.
The Golden Eagles have been hugely successful in limiting the running game under defensive coordinator Tim Billings in their 4-3 system. After facing some of the SEC's opponents, they face one of the toughest dates of 2019. Southern Mississippi faces Mississippi State, Alabama and Louisiana Tech, all of whom have lost in three of their last four games.
The last season that ended for Fedora saw the Golden Eagles oust sixth-place Houston, who went unbeaten in the Fiesta Bowl before falling to Tulane in the bowl and finishing the process of the early calendar year of 2020. The Roadrunners ran out of time to secure their first victory in school history with a 42-31 victory over UTSA in their final home game of the season. The SAU defense has not yet found a solution to one of the best seasons in the program's history.
Tulane is the only team in the FBS to have won at least six straight in the last two seasons. UTSA will face the Southern Conference champions in Hattiesburg on Saturday and has the chance to reach at least five wins for the first time in school history and the second time this season. With Tipoff set for 7: 30 p.m. Saturday, UTEP hasn't behaved well on the road this year when it took on Southern Miss, winning just one of its last three games at Mississippi, a 42-31 loss to the Golden Eagles at home last year. Southernmiss will play two road games against Texas A & M and Texas State after a home game against the Roadrunners the following weekend.
The regular season ends on Saturday when the Golden Eagles travel to Hattiesburg for the first time and face league rival UAB. It is the first game against an FBS opponent since 2020, since UAB opens the season with a game against FCS opponent Central Arkansas on Thursday night.
Known as the "Dixie Rivalry," Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech first played in 1935 and every season from 1946 to 1972. In April 1940, the newly renamed Mississippi Southern College (now Mississippi State University) voted to rename the team Confederates, but the name was changed to Southern states in 1941. Over the years, Southernmiss has had a long history of rivalry games against its Mississippi State rivals. The first game between the two schools, a 1-1 draw in 1924, followed then and every year since.
Where the Golden Eagles top up most in defense is in secondary school, and Southern Miss is the only school that offers scholarships for high school redshirt junior Ky'el Hemby, who emerged as the team's top tackler a season ago. Favre was the starter and team leader in Alabama's first game against Mississippi State in 2010, when Southernmiss beat the Crimson Tide 31-20. SouthernMiss's first-year head coach, Bill Clark, was recruited as a defensive defender, not as a quarterback, but he was a starter at quarterback.
Hopson, who is in his third season as head coach at Southern Miss, led the program to three bowl games and a 28-23 record. Bower led the Golden Eagles to the bowl game in 10 of his last 11 seasons and also led them to a 10-3 record in the Sun Belt Conference and a trip to the BCS National Championship Game. Fedora also led the Golden Eagles to an 8-5 record and two bowl appearances in four of the last five seasons. He leads the Golden Eagles for the second time in three years after a 7-6 record last season.
The Golden Eagles outclassed Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game for the first time in school history in 1953 and 1954, posting an 11-2 record and two bowl appearances in four seasons.
In Fedora's first game as head coach, the Golden Eagles set a school record for most points in a game with a 38-0 win over Mississippi Southern College. Stevenson was a goal machine who scored more than 1,000 yards on offense and 11 touchdowns. The football team won two College Division National Championships at Mississippi Southern College in 1958 and 1962, and won its first ever BCS National Championship Game in 1962.