EL PASO, TX (WDAM) _ Granted, there was the familiar, mid-game offensive lull and that last-second touchdown pass that erased the first shutout in 18 games.
But, no matter these mere quibbles. Saturday afternoon at the Sun Bowl, the University of Southern Mississippi turned in, arguably, its most complete game of the 2018 football season in a 39-7 thrashing of the University of Texas-El Paso.
The Golden Eagles (6-5, 5-3 Conference USA) won consecutive games for the first time all season in taking the regular-season finale from the Miners (1-11, 1-7). USM will now wait and see whether six victories will be good enough to earn a postseason bowl bid for a fourth consecutive season.
USM has won at least six games in each of Coach Jay Hopson’s first three seasons at the helm, and Saturday’s win featured some of the more intriguing numbers of the year on both sides of the football, including:
- The Golden Eagles rushed for a season-high 252 yards, with freshman Trivenskey Mosley turning in the second, 100-yard game of his career with 107 yards and his first career touchdown on 14 carries
- Redshirt freshman Steven Anderson turned in a career day, rushing for 92 yards on 19 carries and scored his sixth touchdown of the season and fourth in USM’s last three games
- Freshman quarterback Tate Whatley netted a career-high 46 yards on six carries and scored his third TD of the season
- USM, which committed no turnovers in a game for the first time this season, came up with four takeaway and turned them into 23 points. The four takeaways, including three interceptions, matched single-game, season highs
- Sophomore Ky’el Hemby had two interceptions, giving him a team-high six, and sophomore Rachuan Mitchell’s third interception of the season went 41 yards for USM’s first touchdown of the game
- Interesting, but not sure it means a ton: Mitchell’s pick-six was USM’s longest scoring play of the day
- The Golden Eagles held the Miners to 187 yard total offense, the third opponent limited to less than 200 yards total offense. USM’s defense has allowed more than 355 yards total offense just once in 11 games
- UTEP rushed for 73 yards, marking the fourth consecutive game and sixth time this season USM has held an opponent to less than 100 yards rushing
- Sophomore Briggs Bourgeios made the first field goals of his career, both 39 yarders, in place of injured senior Parker Shaunfield
USM sophomore quarterback Jack Abraham went 14-of-20 for 92 yards, including a 16-yard jet screen flip for a touchdown to DeMichael Harris. Whatley hit his lone passing attempt for 31 yards, but the 126 passing yards were a season low for the Golden Eagles.
USM came within seven seconds of a second consecutive shutout of UTEP, but Brandon Jones found Erik Brown for a 41-yard touchdown pass. Still, the Golden Eagles collected its fourth consecutive victory over the Miners.