The Southern Miss football team found its first FBS win of the season on Saturday, defeating conference opponent Louisiana-Monroe 24-7 in Hattiesburg.
The Golden Eagles’ new-look offense produced for the second week in a row with 444 total yards while the defense had its best game of the season, holding the Warhawks to 260 yards and one score.
Jumping on the scoreboard quickly, Southern Miss scored 17 points in the opening nine minutes. After a three-and-out on the first possession of the game, linebacker Hayes Maples intercepted Louisiana-Monroe’s first passing attempt to give the Golden Eagles good field position.
Quarterback Billy Wiles then tossed a lateral pass to running back Chandler Parsons who threw a 38-yard bomb to Latreal Jones for a touchdown. The trick play was followed by a Warhawk drive that ended in a missed field goal.
One play after the special team mishap, Wiles tossed an 80-yard touchdown to Jakarius Caston for a 14-0 lead. The pass was the longest of the Clemson transfer’s career.
More of the same continued as Louisiana-Monroe threw another interception, this time to safety Zay Franks. The pick led to a 31-yard-field goal from Andrew Stein to make it a 17-0 game with a little over three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
“It was a great team win as I am so proud of our guys,” Southern Miss head coach Will Hall said. “I’ve been going to the locker room every year since I was five years old, and I’ve never seen a team go through as many things they couldn’t control as this team has. They never quit. They just kept growing.”
The real story of the night was Golden Eagle running back Frank Gore, Jr. Coming off a 247-yard performance at Appalachian State, the junior did not miss a beat with 167 yards on 26 touches. The triple-digit performance from Gore lifted him above Derrick Nix and Ben Garry for the third-most career rushing yards in program history with 3,703.
Even after Louisiana-Monroe (2-7, 0-6 Sun Belt) cut the lead to two possessions in the third quarter with a 68-yard touchdown, Southern Miss’ defense held firm. Gore capped off the game in a super-back formation where he dove in from one yard out for his seventh rushing touchdown of the season.
The Golden Eagles (2-7, 1-5) will be back in action on Thursday night against Louisiana (5-4, 2-3) on the road. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. CT.
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