HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – The University of Southern Mississippi went under the lights at M.M. Roberts Stadium Saturday during a “give-and-take” scrimmage that saw the offense and defense swap the spotlight for second consecutive week.
"I was really pleased," USM football coach Jay Hopson said. "There was a lot of give-and-take. The offense moved the ball well in the middle of the field. The defense was stingy in the red zone.”
Indeed. Only three touchdowns were recorded Saturday: junior quarterback Jack Abraham’s 22-yard pass to junior receiver Quez Watkins; junior running back Kevin Perkins’ 2-yard run and a 20-yard interception return by senior defensive back Taj Jones off a pass by sophomore Tate Whatley.
“I saw some guys make some plays, like (junior) Steven Anderson running the ball and (freshman running back) Dee Baker showing some things, too. Our receivers played well," Hopson said “Defensively, we tackled pretty well. You’re always happy with that. It was a good day, and I thought we got a lot accomplished in our last scrimmage. We will try to get better every week.”
Abraham completed 15-of-20 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. Whatley was 12-of-22 for 83 yards with an interception.
Perkins ran for 44 yards on nine carries, while Baker added 40 yards on six carries and Anderson picking up 40 yards on seven carries.
Sophomore receiver Jaylond Adams led USM receivers with five catches, finishing with 26 yards. Junior receiver Tim Jones had four catches for 51 yards and freshman receiver Brad Dennis hauled in four catches for 31 yards.
Watkins had two grabs for 35 yards and a touchdown.
USM’s defense came up with six sacks for a second consecutive scrimmage. Junior linebacker Swayze Bozeman had two sacks, while senior end Terry Whittington, sophomore defensive tackle Tahj Sykes, junior defensive lineman Eriq Kitchen and Jones registered a sack apiece.
Junior defensive lineman Jacques Turner, junior linebacker Nick Dawson and junior defensive back WyDale Flott each had a tackle for loss, senior defensive end Torrance Brown caused a fumble and recovered it and freshman linebacker Freddie Hartz broke up two passes.
USM connected on all three of its field-goal attempts, with sophomore Ryan Schemtob hitting from 22 yards and 43 yards and freshman Andrew Stein making his lone try from 26 yards.
USM will kick off the 2019 season Alcorn State University visits at 6 p.m. on Aug. 31 at Roberts Stadium.