HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Southern Miss will open the 2017 football season this Saturday afternoon when the Kentucky Wildcats of the SEC travel to Hattiesburg.
The big game will bring thousands of people into town, and the traditional Eagle Walk parade will begin at 1 p.m. in front of the M.M. Roberts Stadium.
For tailgaters, the ground may still be be wet from the latest round of storms recently, but school officials are still expecting a good crowd.
"For us to get an SEC opponent coming into the Pine Belt, it's a great opportunity for our fanbase to really show that we have that Southern tailgating and atmosphere on a gameday," said Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Operations, Stephen Pugh. "It should be a lot of excitement and you can really start to feel it pickup around town and here on campus as well."
Last season, Southern Miss defeated Kentucky in the teams' season opener in Lexington.
"I think a lot of excitement, it's just that football is back and it's really an exciting time," Hughs said. "The new team coming in obviously has a new quarterback and some young talented players coming in looking to make a mark. I think they are building a lot of excitement around that."
The Southern Miss campus is not the only place expected to be packed with people as local businesses and restaurants prepare for the influx of customers. Mugshots general manager Phil Breland discussed his expectations for Saturday.
"A packed house waiting out the door hopefully," Breland said. "We have got a couple of extra things going on, we have a coaches show on the radio tomorrow morning. And we expect a big crowd from the time we open the doors."
The game starts at 3:00 p.m. at The Rock and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.