FORT WORTH, Texas (WDAM) _ The bumps and bruises have healed, the holidays have passed and the practices all but ended.
Time to play some football.
“It’s been a while,” University of Southern Mississippi defensive coordinator Tim Billings said. “We’ve done a lot of practicing and, it’s like anything, we’re itching to play a game.
“Now, will we be rusty? I don’t know. I guess we’ll see, but we haven’t played in what, about four weeks? We feel like we’re ready, because we’ve had plenty of time to prepare for them, but they have it the same way. You worry about being in game shape and just the speed of the game and national TV. You just never know how you’re going to come out.”
USM (7-5) will meet at one time, a long-time opponent, Tulane University (6-6) at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the 17th edition of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
The teams, which met annually from 1979 to 2006, have not played since 2010.
“I do know this: It’s a big rivalry game,” USM senior lineman Drake Dorbeck. “They’re close, local, an hour-and-a-half down the road. A lot of people probably know them, so it’ll be good to compete against them again.”
The Golden Eagles all but wrapped up preparations Thursday morning at Centennial High School in Burleson, Texas, a suburb a few miles south of Fort Worth.
USM is expected to have a short, non-contact “walk-through” at Carter Stadium Friday for its final game prep.
The clash between former Conference USA founders and foes then gets underway less than 24 hours later, putting a cap on the 1999 season while ringing in 2020.
“It’s huge, not only to start 2020 this way, but also finish the 2019 season in the right way” USM sophomore center Trace Clopton said. “We know we’re more capable as an offense than we’ve shown. We just wanna finish the year out right.”