HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WJTV) — Well as Al Pacino said in “Any Given Sunday”, ‘Football, is a game of inches. Those inches, they’re everywhere.’ And on Saturday night Southern Miss could not find those inches, as they fell to Western Kentucky 28-10.
“Today certainly wasn’t our day,” said Southern Miss head coach Jay Hopson after the loss. “You know? I mean I don’t think we got any breaks.”
You got that right.
It was a brutal day at the office for Southern Miss in all facets of the game. Turnovers? There were three of them, and they were all costly. The most significant one was when southern miss was driving to tie the game in the first half and QuezWatkins fumbled on the half yard line. The Hilltoppers scored on the next play. Hopson says it’s plays like that that can swing a game.
“That’s a 14-point swing,” Hopson said. “You know? It pretty much that was the score of the game until the sack which was at the very end of the game. But we drove down there a couple of times, but it felt like at times we had put a few drives together we just didn’t score.”
It wasn’t just the offense though.
Defensively, the Golden Eagles had been playing it’s best ball of the season coming into the game. But, the ‘nasty bunch’ were anything but on Saturday night, letting up big play after big play. Defensive back D.Q. Thomas says games like this can be frustrating.
“A lot of things happen in the game like you stated before, and just when we don’t execute on the little things that we normally always execute on, it’s just, it gets frustrating,” said Thomas. “We all really love this game and we all want to win of course. So, when we don’t do the little things we always practice, you know, it can get a little frustrating.”
On top of the loss, the injury bug has officially visited Hattiesburg.
Linebacker Racheem Boothe and quarterback Jack Abraham were both lost to injury on Saturday. Hopson says losing those guys is tough, but it’s next man up now.
“Usually in even baseball and basketball you don’t have a lot of season ending injuries,” said Hopson. “Football it’s just common place. You always know your football team is never the same at the beginning of the season as it is at the end of the season. So kind of like what DeMichael just said, you know, it’s the next man up. Injuries are injuries and we’ve just got to go to work.”
Despite a loss to Western Kentucky Saturday, Southern Miss is still alive in the Conference USA division standings, because LA Tech and UAB both lost on Saturday night.
Now, what needs to happen for Southern Miss to make the Conference USA Championship game?
Well first and foremost, they need to beat FAU next week and they need LA Tech and UAB to lose. Now if that doesn’t happen and all three teams end up winning, Southern Miss still ends up winning the West Division because they have the tie-breaker over UAB and they have the tie-breaker over LA Tech because UAB beat LA Tech.