Southern Miss celebrates win, focuses on improvement

In the grand scheme of Golden Eagles football one win does not amount to much, but when it's the first home victory since November 2011, it has to be special.

With 1:02 left in the game against in-state opponent Alcorn State and a 26-20 lead to protect, the Southern Miss defense forced it's fourth and most important turnover of the night.

"That's what you dream of," said junior defensive back Kalan Reed. "Everyone was ready, the fans, everyone had us pumped up, the bands, everything. We we're just ready to get out there and when [Jomez] made the catch, just happy we finally knew we won."

Head coach Todd Monken said, "their band started rocking and their fans started going and our sideline started going and our crowd got it going and it was awesome. It was fantastic to feel that. It felt like there's no way they're going to score."

Asked if he envisioned a game-clinching interception before coming to Southern Miss, former Bassfield signal caller Jomez Applewhite was blunt.

"Not really, because I thought I would be playing quarterback here," said Applewhite as the room laughed with him. "I guess it was a nice moment."

Quarterback Nick Mullens added, "It was a tremendous feeling. Even cooler walking off the field with fireworks."

"To spend time with your guys and finally winning with them, that's great."

Through the eyes of a head coach and a sign of what's expected from his program and himself, Monken said it's going to take more to win again.

"That might have been the poorest execution and poorest coaching job I've even been around starting with myself. The penalties, the false starts, the misalignments that stop us from scoring is silly and it's got my name written all over it."

"I'm fired up for the win and I try like heck to say the politically correct thing, but there's a lot of things we've got to clean up moving forward."

USM travels to Tuscaloosa to face the Alabama Crimson Tide, Saturday.