The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


Billy Wiles Throws Three Touchdowns, Leads Southern Miss to 40-14 Victory Over Alcorn State

Jackson Kennedy

Southern Miss finally saw what it was like having a solid starting quarterback at the ropes for a full game under the Hall era. Starting Southern Miss quarterback Billy Wiles threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns leading the Golden Eagles past Alcorn State 40-14.

“I thought he [Wiles] was sharp. I thought he made a lot of good plays. I thought our o-line played awesome versus a really good defense,” Southern Miss head coach Will Hall said.

Alcorn State opened with the ball, and on the second play from scrimmage, Braves quarterback Tyler Macon got intercepted by Jay Stanley on what was a circus catch. That interception really set the tone for the rest of the game, which is what the defense was trying to do in the beginning.

“I’m glad we set the tone tonight pretty early on. I just wanted to be that spark and I think I did it from the beginning.” Stanley said.

Stanley’s interception set up USM with a short field starting on their own 47-yard line. Wiles led his team out on the field and led them right down the field in three plays. The first play was a short completion to Brandon Hayes, then Frank Gore Jr took the ball for an 18-yard carry followed by Wiles finding Jakarius Caston for a touchdown from 16 yards out. It was a drive that Hall dubbed as “fun” noting that they did those three plays with four different personnel groups.

With the score 7-0 almost instantly, the Braves went three and out on the ensuing drive punting it back to Southern Miss. Wiles got the ball at his own 37 and drove it right down the field on a seven play, 63-yard drive. The drive was capped off by two-yard touchdown run by Gore Jr to make the score 14-0.



After yet another Stanley interception, Andrew Stein made the score 17-0 in the first when he knocked in the first of a career high three field goals on the next Southern Miss drive. Stanley’s play throughout the game was evident why he is a captain of the defense and the presence he has in the secondary.

“He was all over the place. He told me this, which shows you how far he has come as a football player. On third down when the quarterback scrambled through the middle, Jay Stanley tackled him. The old Jay Stanley would have tried to kill him, and he wouldn’t have tackled him. He came to balance, he had great approach to tackling – near foot, near shoulder – and he just got him down. On my headset when he made that play, I said that’s a money-making play for him. That’s what he has to do, and he knows that. He’s worked so hard all off season. To take the next step, you have to change just a little bit and he has. I am so proud of him. Now the picks are him, that’s what he does.” Hall said.

After Alcorn State got on the board with a 75-yard touchdown run by Macon, Southern Miss came right back down the field led by Wiles on a 14-play seven-and-a-half-minute drive. Wiles threw his second touchdown pass to Gore Jr to make the score 24-7.

“There are always things that can get better, and I expect to find things that I can get better at when I go back and watch the film, but the main thing for me is I just wanted to go have fun and let loose out there, and I feel like I got that done.” Wiles said.

Southern Miss led 27-7 at halftime and was in complete control of the game up to that point. They led 246-107 in yardage, and those numbers really skew the difference because of the one 75-yard touchdown run by Macon.

In the second half, Wiles continued to shine. Threw another touchdown pass, this time to Tyquan Henderson and did throw an interception as well.

“Man, 21-of-28 and three touchdowns. He had two bad plays and knows what they are. They gave us some hard looks and did some things early on that they had not shown ever. He handled it in function. The seam throws were on time and the first touchdown was a corner blitz. He pulls it off dive and throws the screen, [Jakarius] Caston catches it and makes a guy miss and scores. There’s been a lot of times here in the past where that stuffs us for a one-yard loss, instead it’s a 20-yard gain for a touchdown. He played really well and was in command. I was pleased with how he ran the ball and it’s something he can build off of.” Hall said.

All in all, there were bright moments and some moments to work on, but it was very evident that Hall’s program has taken a turn tonight.

“Yeah, we’re just a more complete football team and you felt it. We didn’t play perfect. That’s a good football team that has a chance to win their conference. I got a lot of respect for Fred McNair and Cedric Thomas. They have a good-looking team and look like a Sun Belt team. Their starters look like Sun Belt players. I thought our defensive line dominated the game and we came out executing early on the offensive side. In the red zone, we had some penalties that prevented us from getting it in a little more. We’ve got some things to clean up, but we’re 1-0 against a team that I think will win their conference.” Hall said.

Other quick notes:

  1. Caston led the team in receiving yards with 104, a career day for him.

“During the game it didn’t feel like I had many yards or catches, I’m just locked in playing the game. I didn’t even know I had 100-yards; I am just locked in catching the ball and running.” Caston said

  1. Stein’s three field goals were a career-high for him.

“I’m so proud of that kid,” Hall said. “Andrew Stein plays here in 2019 and plays really well. Then he gets beat out and stays, and he plays 2020 as a backup. He plays ’21 as a backup and ’22 as a backup.

  1. The 44 passing yards allowed is the fewest since Savanah State in 2016.

“I don’t think they were tested quite like they are going to see because our defensive line was able to get so much pressure quickly.” Hall said.

  1. Southern Miss lost TE Cole Cavallo in warmups, but expect him back

“We lost Cole Cavallo in pregame warmups. Which hurts because he took all the ones…he’s going to be back, we didn’t lose him for the year, he’s just got a little muscle pull.” Hall said.

Southern Miss travels to Tallahassee, Florida, next week to take on No. 8 Florida State.

Follow @dima_mixon for all things Southern Miss athletics.

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