The voice of and for USM students




Tulane rings Southern Miss’s Bell, 21-3

Jackson Kennedy

Southern Miss is 1-2 to start the year for the third straight season in the Will Hall era after a 21-3 loss to Tulane. The Golden Eagles were plagued with a sluggish day from the offensive and by critical misses to keep the game competitive.

“I’m disappointed in how we executed. They’ve got a really good football team and played really well. Coach Fritz does a great job and I’ve got a lot of respect for him. They’re really good on defense and you saw that last week versus a great offense [Ole Miss], but we’re better than what we played today, and we’ve got to execute better and make a few more plays when they are there,” Southern Miss head coach Will Hall said.

Execution was the word that rang true throughout the postgame press conference from Hall and a few of his players. It certainly felt like if Southern Miss had executed to its fullest ability, they had a chance to compete against Tulane.

However, there were several missed opportunities in the game that disqualified them from being at their best.

One of those crucial missed opportunities was early in the first quarter, on Southern Miss’s first drive. Tulane had gone down the field in seven plays and scored the game’s first touchdown when Tulane quarterback Kai Horton plowed forward for a one-yard rushing touchdown.

Southern Miss starting quarterback Billy Wiles was leading his team down the field to respond to Tulane’s touchdown drive when the first crucial miss happened. It was fourth and two from the Tulane 41. Hall elected to take the ball out of his quarterback’s hands and went to the wildcat with running back Frank Gore Jr. taking the snap. Gore ran the play and had a wide-open Justyn Reid on what would have been a walk-in touchdown, but Gore overthrew him, and Southern Miss turned the ball over on downs.

On the next drive, Andrew Stein missed a 48-yard field goal. That is 10 points off the board for Southern Miss, which would have undoubtedly made the game much different.

“It was big not getting any points,” Hall said.

After that missed field goal by Stein, the two defenses controlled the game for both sides. At halftime, the score was still 7-0 in favor of Tulane.

The Green Wave opened the second half similarly to how they started the game. A quick touchdown drive in just five plays in just over two minutes to make the score 14-0.

Wiles led his team down the field and made a pretty throw to Jakarius Caston on the way, which was USM’s biggest play. Southern Miss had the ball first and goal from the seven, and they were called for a very unconventional illegal formation that stalled any chance of scoring a touchdown there.

“Again, I think it’s lack of execution,” Hall said. “That penalty in the red zone was one of our good players, and he knows better than that. That’s what we are doing right now, and it’s on me as the head coach,”

Wiles echoed the same notion.

“We were moving the ball on our side of the field a good amount. We just didn’t finish. I’m going to keep saying it, but we had the stuff there. We were there, we just didn’t execute,” Wiles said.

The Green Wave took the ball after that illegal shift, drove it nine plays over 75 yards, and ended with a touchdown pass, which effectively would ice the game.

Wiles finished the day with 19-33 passing for 177 yards. Southern Miss’s rushing attack just accumulated 36 yards on 30 carries.

“We’re going to keep fighting. We’re a better football team than what we’ve shown. We’ve probably played the two best football teams that we’re going to play. We knew going into this season that week two and week three were going to be the two best teams we played, and we’ve got to learn from it and grow from it. I’ve got to coach better, and we got to get better moving quickly,” Hall said.

Southern Miss falls to 1-2 on the season and looks ahead to play Arkansas State next weekend in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to open the Sun Belt slate.

Leave a Comment
Donate to SM2

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Southern Mississipi. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to SM2

Comments (0)

All Southern Miss Student Media Center Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *