Southern Miss held its annual spring game on Saturday with the white team defeating the black team by a score of 22-14. The main storylines entering the game included the QB battle between Nick Mullens and transfer Tyler Matthews and how the running game would fare without George Payne (who is currently hurt and did not play).
Not surprisingly, most of the yards on offense came through the air. Nick Mullens led the black team with 224 yards passing, completing 17 of his 29 passes. He also threw two touchdowns and two interceptions. On the white team, Tyler Matthews (TCU transfer) completed 18 of 35 passes for 326 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw one interception. While Matthews had the better game on paper, it should be noted that the receivers on the white team (Matthews' team) had more experience and talent compared to those on Mullens' black team. As a whole, both quarterbacks had solid games and the competition for the starting job will be interesting as September approaches.
Elsewhere on offense, Tez Parks did a solid job running the football with 70 yards on 18 carries. Another Golden Eagle halfback, Ito Smith, played at wide receiver in the game rather than his usual position at running back. In the receiving corps, several players on the white team had impressive showings. Casey Martin caught 6 passes for 82 yards, DJ Thompson caught 5 passes for 130 yards, and Michael Thomas caught 5 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown. Jarrell Aaron and Kyle Sloter from the black team caught 75 yard and 76 yard touchdowns, respectively.
The Southern Miss defense played solidly and had several players make key contributions in the game. Dylan Bradley (white team) and Xavier Thigpen (black team) each had two sacks. Picasso Nelson had an interception for the black team, and DeShadrick Truly and Devonta Foster picked off passes for the white team.
Overall, the Southern Miss Spring Game provided some positives but still left some questions unanswered. Who wins the QB battle, how will the offensive line fare, and the overall speed of the defense are still things that Southern Miss fans are unsure of as the first game is a few months away.