Baton Rouge, LA - A week removed from a 55-32 loss to UTSA in which Southern Miss found themselves down 21-0 in the first quarter, it was important for the Golden Eagles to get off to a quicker start against LSU Saturday night.
USM did just that with a game-opening 75-yd touchdown drive, milking more than eight minutes off of the clock. The Golden Eagles headed to the locker room at halftime tied at 10 with LSU.
But in the second half, similar big plays that hurt USM against UTSA led to 35 unanswered LSU points and a 45-10 loss.
"The first half was great because I think the guys understand what they can do," said Southern Miss head coach Jay Hopson. "The second half, when you make all those mistakes it doesn't matter who you play."
"Obviously the challenge of football is being at your best for 60 minutes," said Southern Miss senior quarterback Nick Mullens. "I think if we can continue to do that than we'll have a chance."
"We can be great," said Southern Miss junior wide receiver Allenzae Staggers. "Nobody can stop us. The only people that can stop us is ourselves."
That's exactly what's hindered these Golden Eagles the the last two weeks. This season, Southern Miss has given up 16 touchdown drives to its opponents that have gone for just three plays or less including five Saturday against LSU.
Hopson says limiting those big plays comes down to execution which is something USM will harp on during the bye week with just five games remaining.
"We have to execute," Hopson said. "And that's a word I use a lot but obviously it's just a word right now. We have to take it into action."
"Tough loss, LSU's a great team," said Southern Miss senior linebacker Elijah Parker. "This next week we just have to focus on execution again. This is a five-week playoff for us. It's going to be exciting."
"We're good enough to win these next five games but we're also bad enough to lose these next five games," Mullens said. "It's really just a matter of putting the hammer down, focusing on the details. It's time to step up. This season can be great or it could really go downhill."
Southern Miss returns to the field for its homecoming game against Marshall on October 29.