The performance of star receiver DeAndre Brown was disappointing in the opening week of the season-an eagerly anticipated national TV game against South Carolina. Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora said Brown's performance wasn't even average. Fedora and the Golden Eagles expected more.
They got it in the 34-7 home opener against Prairie View A&M.
Brown was involved in the game early this time, gaining 100 receiving yards and a touchdown on five catches. He also was credited with a big block on a running play.
"I do not know how he graded out or anything yet," Fedora said. "But I thought he handled everything well tonight. He would have been the first one to tell you he did not play well last week, so I think he feels a little bit better about himself right now."
Expect Brown to perform at the usual level for the rest of the year.
"I'm playing with a chip on my shoulder the rest of the season," Brown told local media. "There were a lot of bad things said this week and I just have to show everybody what I can do."
The running game of Southern Miss showed what it can do, too. The Golden Eagles ran for 253 yards.
Most of those came from highly touted redshirt freshman Kendrick Hardy. He had 20 carries for 86 yards, playing because some of Southern Miss' other backs were dinged up.
"He is going to be a very good back for us," Fedora said.
"He has a lot to learn but he is still young. He is going to be fine. He ran hard (Saturday). He is going to see some things when he watches the film and he is going to be mad at himself. He is mad at himself right now because he knows he could have done better."
• Southern Miss made a big improvement in the red zone. In the opener, the Golden Eagles made six trips and got only two field goals. This week, Southern Miss scored on all six chances in the red zone.
• According to the Hattiesburg American, college football's first female official worked her first game in her home state of Mississippi on Saturday. Sarah Thomas was a line judge in the game.
• The Golden Eagles are consistent when it comes to forcing turnovers in the Larry Fedora era. They have forced at least one in 26 of the 28 games he has coached. Nineteen times, Fedora's teams have forced at least two.
Game Ball Goes To: WR DeAndre Brown-Five catches, 100 yards and a touchdown. Not a big surprise considering the talented and motivated wideout was going against an FCS team. The best part for Southern Miss about his performance was that the fire seems to be back after a disappointing showing against South Carolina.
Keep An Eye On: K Daniel Hrapmann-Kicking was an issue for Southern Miss last season. Through the first two games, he is perfect on extra points and field goals. He hasn't attempted one longer than 36 yards but is setting a solid foundation in case the Golden Eagles need a clutch kick later in the season.
Quote To Note: "I am proud of the way the guys came out with an attitude and played hard, especially from the beginning of the game. We probably slacked off in the second half but other than that I thought we played a good game."-Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Looking Good: The running game certainly gained some confidence this week. After the new stable of backs and linemen mustered only 67 yards in Week 1's loss to South Carolina, they plowed through FCS member Prairie View A&M. Southern Miss ran for 253 yards with six different rushers.
Still Needs Work: The common theme of both games from Southern Miss is some inconsistent effort. Last week, frustration seemed to be the problem. There wasn't much of that this week, but the Golden Eagles were held scoreless in the second half and seemed sluggish. Said coach Larry Fedora: "There is no doubt we lost our edge in the second half; you could see that. We started putting some other players in the game to get them some reps and we were all out of sync in a lot things."