USM working 3rd quarterback into starting lineup
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Three weeks ago, Jake Lange was the guy on the University of Southern Mississippi sideline sporting the backward baseball cap.
Saturday night, Lange will be firmly fastening his Golden Eagles’ football helmet as he leads the first-string offense onto the field at M.M. Roberts Stadium to face the visiting University of Texas-El Paso.
USM (1-4, 0-1 in Conference USA) meet the Miners (4-1, 1-0) at 6 p.m. The game can be streamed through ESPN3 and also can be heard through on affiliate of the Southern Miss Sports Network from Learfield.
Lange will be making his first career start as the third quarterback to start a game for the Golden Eagles this season.
“Not a lot of options,” Hall said.
Trey Lowe III opened the season as the starting quarterback, but was lifted after the first half of the second game of the season “with a lower extremity” injury.
In came true freshman Ty Keyes of Taylorsville, who started the next three games before exiting early in last week’s 24-19 loss at Rice University, another victim of the “lower extremity” injury.
USM coach Will Hall said he expected Keyes to be out an extended period and could be a possible redshirt candidate depending on the time of his return and the state of USM’s season.
“Nobody’s feeling sorry for us,” Hall said. “I’m not feeling sorry for us. We’ve got to find a way to get it done.”
So, for at least the short term, the offense will rest in the hands of the walk-on from Jackson Preparatory.
Lange came off the bench against the Owls to complete 23-of-37 passes for 304 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions.
Hall praised Lange’s poise and performance after being thrown into a tough and unexpected situation last week.
“He had a few mistakes that we can clean up,” Hall said. “Having a week of practice with gearing the offense (toward Lange) ... which will allow him to, hopefully, have more success.
“We’re on our (third starting) quarterback on game six. It is what it is. We’ve got to find a way to take what we’ve got and win. I love these kids. I love the way they’re working. We’re not going to make excuses, we’re just going to keep building every day, brick by brick, relationship by relationship.”
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