The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


Offensive failures highlight Southern Miss’s 17-13 loss to Old Dominion on Homecoming.

Jackson Kennedy


Southern Miss never scored an offensive touchdown in the 17-13 loss to Old Dominion on homecoming.

The Golden Eagles were inside the 10-yard line three separate times throughout the game. Southern Miss failed to put the ball in the endzone all three times. They settled for two field goals and, more importantly, got stuffed on fourth and two towards the end of the game, denying Southern Miss the chance to retake the lead.

Down 17-13, Southern Miss faced first-and-goal at the ODU 5-yard line with just over five minutes to play. Southern Miss quarterback threw incomplete on first down. Running back Frank Gore Jr. ran for three yards on second. Dreke Clark got stuffed on third, and Gore Jr was inches short on fourth down, which sealed the victory for Old Dominion.

“We just didn’t make the plays. It was a little bit of everything. We just didn’t make it happen,” Southern Miss head coach Will Hall said. “We were an inch short on the touchdown that his [Frank Gore Jr.] elbow went down as he was getting the ball in. The play before that Dreke [Clark] came in for him, I thought he was a little too deep and it took him too long to hit it,”

The goal line stand by Old Dominion sealed the game because Southern Miss had only one timeout left, and the Monarchs ran out the rest of the clock. It was a perfect picture of how the Golden Eagle offense never found it is life. It never got a momentum-changing play, and when the fans thought USM would seize momentum, ODU would stop them.

“We’re right there for three straight weeks in a one-score game in the fourth quarter and we’ve lost all three of them. That’s something we’ve got to get over the hum and fix. We thought we’d be over that going into this year, but obviously, we’re not,” Hall said.

The game started with both teams trading punts. On USM’s second drive of the game, Wiles took the team 13 plays across 71 yards to settle for an FG. This was the first trip inside the 10-yard line for Southern Miss, where they failed to put the ball in the endzone.

Wiles was tackled for a loss on a designed run on the first down from the six. On second down from the nine, Gore Jr was stuffed at the line of scrimmage. On third down from the four after an offsides penalty on ODU, Wiles threw incomplete to Caston, and USM had to settle for a field goal.

On ODU’s ensuing drive, Southern Miss forced a punt to which Ty Mims returned 82 yards for a TD to put Southern Miss up 10-0.

“It was short. I was thinking if I get it, oh well. I told coach I was going to be more aggressive on the ball because I hadn’t returned one the whole year,” Mims said

ODU responded on the next drive, completing their first pass for 78 yards to the USM 2.

Keshawn Wicks rushed for a two-yard touchdown to put the Monarchs back within scoring position at 10-7.

A few drives later, Mims returned his second punt return touchdown of the night. At least until it was waived off due to a “fair catch infraction.” On the replay, it clearly showed Mims’s hand above his shoulder to call a fair catch. It was a really tough break on a play that certainly had a game-changer all over it.

After that, both teams traded punts until halftime, where Southern Miss still led 10-7.

Southern Miss got the ball to start the second half and did nothing short of going three and out. After ODU went three and out, Wiles led the offense down the field on arguably the best drive of the night.

Unfortunately, it was the second drive that stalled inside the 10. Gore Jr gained one yard on first and goal from the ODU 10. On second down and goal from the nine, Wiles threw incomplete. One third and goal from the nine, Hall called for a jet sweep that was stuffed for a five-yard loss. This forced USM to settle for another Andrew Stein field goal, making the score 13-7.

“We just didn’t score-it’s as simple as that we never scored. We just didn’t take advantage of the opportunities offensively and score like we had done in the last two weeks. We came into this game extremely hot offensively trying to get our defense back going and our kicking game back going, and it flipped completely,” Hall said.

After a couple of three and out, ODU drove the ball late in the third quarter and kicked a field goal making the score 13-10.

In the early stages of the fourth quarter, ODU drove the ball three plays, 55-yard to take the lead 17-13 on Wick’s second touchdown of the night.

The Golden Eagles had one last opportunity, and it failed in the red zone again when Gore Jr was inches short.

When asked about the red zone deficiencies, Wiles did not have much of an answer.

“I don’t know, we just have to find a way to win,” Wiles said.

Tonight, USM failed at every opportunity to win, and they are now 1-5 to show for it. There will have to be a significant change for Southern Miss to salvage this season, which feels like a heavy longshot.

On a more positive side, Averie Habas started tonight for Southern Miss. Habas has journeyed back from an undisclosed heart problem to be back on the field.

Habas recorded two sacks in tonight’s game to add to his incredible story.

“Making a play for the team is always the goal. It was pretty special after not playing five games. I didn’t expect myself to play this game or even the rest of the year. To get that play and impact the game in a positive way to force a fourth down was good,” Habas said.

Habas and the Golden Eagles will look to turn the season around against South Alabama on October 17.

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