USM hoping to open C-USA play the right way

University of Southern Mississippi head coach Will Hall will take his Golden Eagles into Rice...
University of Southern Mississippi head coach Will Hall will take his Golden Eagles into Rice Stadium Saturday evening to take on the Owls in the C-USA opener fro both schools.
Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 4:04 PM CDT
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HOUSTON, Texas (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi will head into college football’s so-called “second season” when it takes the field Saturday evening against Rice University at Rice Stadium.

Both teams not only will be opening Conference USA play, each will be entering the 5:30 p.m. kickoff with similar resumes, and, quite likely, similar game plans, ones focused on running the football on offense and stopping the run on defense.

“They play extremely hard, one of the hardest-playing teams I’ve every coached against,” USM coach Will Hall said earlier this week. “They get get after you on defense. They’re hard-hitters, They really come after you to try and stop the run.

“Offensively, they’re extremely physical. They play a lot of tight ends and come at you. They’re built kind of like Stanford (University) was back in the Harbaugh days, and like they still do now. That’s where Coach Bloomgren was at.”

Both teams are 1-3, with each team’s lone win coming against a member of the Football Championship Series, more specifically, the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

USM shut out Grambling State University 37-0 on Sept. 11, while the Owls pulled off a 48-23 victory against visiting Texas Southern University last week.

Rice running back Jordan Myers set career highs with rushing yards (160 yards), rushing touchdowns (four) and carries (26 carries).

Quarterback Jake Constantine completed 18-of-23 for 271 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the game to Cedric Patterson III. Constantine also threw an interception.

All told, the Owls piled up 620 yards total offense against Texas Southern

Bloomgren said the Owls know the Golden Eagles will be hunting Constantine.

“They get after the quarterback,” Bloomgren said, “and they’ve got a really good rush defense.”

The Owls bent some defensively last week, allowing 451 yards total offense to the Tigers.

“Defensively, we made a lot of adjustments during the game, Bloomgren said. “I felt like (TSU) made a lot of plays. We were really close on a lot of things but kind of a step behind on getting those things done.

“I don’t think it’s anything we can’t get fixed this week and that’s what we’re working towards.”

USM’s offense was stymied for a second consecutive week, limited to 213 yards total offense in a 63-14 loss at top-ranked University of Alabama last weekend.

But Hall said USM salvaged some positives from Bryant-Denny Stadium.

“We remain positive in our confident hope,” Hall said. “We’ve got so much hope still left in the season. We’ve got so much hope for this program and where we’re heading.

“Just knowing that we’ve got hope ,and we’re building and pushing toward something and we’ve got s detailed plan to get there.

The game will be carried by ESPN3.

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