HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – University of Southern Mississippi football coach Jay Hopson never is going to concede that one game on the Golden Eagles’ schedule is more critical than another.
“We’re going to count these poker chips up at the end of the day when Thanksgiving hits,” Hopson said. “It’s the biggest game because it’s the next game, and in football if you address it any other way, I think you’re in serious trouble.
“You’ve just got to move onto the next game. With our schedule we know every game is going to be a tough opponent.”
Including Saturday’s fracas with Troy University. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium in USM’s first football trip to Troy, Ala.
The game marks the second of a three-game road stretch for the Golden Eagles, with the Trojans sandwiched between Southeastern Conference contests with Mississippi State University and the University of Alabama.
It’s the longest road stretch since 2013, when the Golden Eagles played at the University of Nebraska, University of Arkansas and Boise State University in consecutive games.
USM (1-1) evened its record last weekend when it fell 38-15 to the Bulldogs in Starkville. Troy (1-0) has played just once, rolling up more than 500 yards total offense in a 43-14 trouncing of Campbell University.
“They’ve played one game and they played well,” Hopson said. “They’ve got a large share of their football team back from last year. We know we’re playing another good football team, and that will be the tale-of-the-tape for us every week.
“But they’re doing a great job. They’re talented at all the skill positions, good up front on both sides of the ball. We know we’ve got a tough opponent.”
USM is averaging 366.5 yards total offense game, including 263.5 passing.
Junior quarterback Jack Abraham has thrown for 527 yards in USM’s first two games, with senior Jordan Mitchell leading the receiving corps with 13 catches for 227 yards.
Junior running back Kevin Perkins, who spent a few months at Troy before between the 2017 and 2018 seasons, has risen through the running back ranks and will make his first start as a Golden Eagle. He leads USM’s ground game with 60 yards.
A pair of defensive backs, senior DQ Thomas and junior Ky’el Hemby, lead USM’s defense with 15 tackles each.