Sunday morning musings: On USM’s rebound, Bama’s D
Sunday morning musings:
Southern Miss had played Rice two of the past three seasons. Combined score: Rice 85, USM 40. The two teams played again Saturday at historic Rice Stadium. Final score: USM 65, Rice 10.
The Golden Eagles who had won only four games in the three previous seasons, have now won seven this year with still two regular season games to play. Todd Monken should be on anyone’s Coach of the Year list and a shoe-in for that honor in Conference USA.
What Monken and his staff have achieved is remarkable. They have blended a core group of holdovers, who had known little but losing, with an influx of transfer talent, both from junior colleges and other D-I schools. Such an infusion can sometimes be dicey, as we have seen in Mississippi in the past. But it seems to have worked to near perfection at USM.
USM hosts Old Dominion Saturday before a season-ending showdown at likewise 7-3 Louisiana Tech. That one will be for the CUSA Western Division Championship, and there will be a bowl game to follow.
What do Leonard Fournette and Dak Prescott have in common? That’s right: Both are from Louisiana and both are remarkable athletes. And both have survived Alabama’s defense in consecutive weeks. Barely.
One week after pretty much wrecking Fournette’s Heisman Trophy hopes, the Tide defense sacked Prescott nine times in Bama’s dismantling of State Saturday. It is a testament to Prescott’s sturdiness and durability that he walked off the field after so many crushing blows.
The Tide’s combination of size, strength and ridiculous speed is something we normally watch on Sunday. You watch Alabama play defense and it just seems as if there are too many of them to block. LSU couldn’t do it, and neither could State. As the season goes on, Ole Miss’s upset of Alabama at Tuscaloosa seems all the more unbelievable. Just goes to show: Even the best team in the country, which Alabama is, cannot survive a five-turnover difference.
Alabama next plays Charleston Southern, 44-16 losers to Troy Saturday. The obvious question: Why? Bama could win the game playing 10 on both sides of the ball. Then, they face Auburn, at Auburn, and Florida in the SEC Championship game. Win those two and they enter the four-team playoff. The other three? I’m guessing Ohio State, Clemson and Notre Dame. But there’s lots of football to play.
Stat of the week: Auburn is now 2-8 in its last 10 SEC games. Ouch. Stat II of the week: USM had 682 yards of offense against Rice. That’s a school record for a program that has had Reggie Collier, Brett Fave and Austin Davis as quarterbacks. . . .
While USM was trouncing Rice, not far away in Houston, Alcorn State was pummeling Texas Southern 65-13. That’s Mississippi 130, Texas 23 if you’re keeping score. Here, in the Magnolia State, we do…
Alcorn, 6-3 and 5-2, needs one victory in its final two regular season games to clinch the SWAC East title and play Grambling in a rematch for the SWAC title. Grambling beat Alcorn 35-34 in overtime on Oct. 17.
Three of 10 candidates for the 2015 C Spire Conerly Trophy have been named: Prescott, Mississippi College’s Marcel Newson and Jackson State’s Javancy Jones. Schools have until Nov. 23 to make their nomination. For tickets to the Dec. 1 C Spire Trophy presentation banquet, click here.