HATTIESBURG, MS - "Whenever we play with passion, we play our best games," said Southern Miss junior defensive back Picasso Nelson Jr. "Last week we played with passion and this week we kind of had an easy-go attitude and the same thing happened at UTSA, we had that easy-go attitude. That's whenever bad things happen."
A week ago, Southern Miss gave up just 14 points in a 24-14 win over Marshall. This week, the Golden Eagles gave up over 300 yards on the ground to Charlotte in a disappointing 38-27 home loss.
"Sometimes you don't come out and play the way you want to play and I think that was one of these days," said Southern Miss head coach Jay Hopson. "Hopefully, we'll bounce back but that's the challenge we got."
"We have to stay consistent and we have to keep going forward," said Southern Miss junior wide receiver Isaiah Jones. "We have to be behind our defense and our defense has to be behind us."
Even with senior quarterback Nick Mullens going down out with a concussion, junior Parker Adamson and the USM the offense did what it could to come back from a 38-14 deficit.
Ultimately, missed tackles and giving up big plays including a 58-yard touchdown run were poison for the now 5-4 Golden Eagles.
"We can't allow it to happen," Hopson said. "We have to be solid and have to get them on the turf."
"If a team can drive 99 yards on us, it's our fault," Nelson Jr. said. "I'm not doing my job, people aren't doing their job. No matter who we play, it's not about them. It's about us."
USM no longer controls its own destiny in the C-USA West. The Golden Eagles will look to bounce back on the road against Old Dominion (6-3).
"We got to fight harder because we don't have that many left," Jones said. "And we have to find a way to turn it around and stay positive so we can get on a roll.
"Football's a team game," Hopson said. "Coaches, players, we're all in this together. We all win it, lose it together. And we all know we got to go to work."