Southern Miss played a competitive first half against the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday. Miami took a slim 10-7 lead into halftime. While it was Southern Miss’ run game that kept them in it against Liberty last week and has been their saving grace in the last year or so, that wasn’t the case in the first half of this game. Southern Miss would finish with a net of 33 rushing yards in this game and 207 passing yards.
After Miami opened the scoring with a field goal at the end of the first quarter, Southern Miss took the lead on the ensuing possession with a six play, 75-yard drive for a touchdown. Quarterback Zach Wilcke hit Jason Brownlee for a 32-yard touchdown.
Brownlee had several catches in this game that made for great highlights. It would not be surprising if those plays come up again when discussing Brownlee’s draft stock. Brownlee would finish with five catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.
The rest of the first half drives ended in punts for both teams, save for an interception by Southern Miss’ Malik Shorts.
In the second half, Miami came out swinging as they forced a Southern Miss punt and followed it up with a 13-play, 77-yard drive for a touchdown. Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke followed that up just a few minutes later with his first touchdown pass of the day to make it 24-7.
Miami would add two more field-goals in the second half while capitalizing on a lost fumble by Wilcke.
A key to victory for Miami was their commitment to the run game and winning the time-of-possession battle in the second half. The Hurricanes finished with 36:55 in possession compared to Southern Miss’ 23 minutes. Miami also finished with 278 yards on the ground, their most against an FBS opponent since September 10, 2020 when they put up 337 rushing yards against UAB.
For Southern Miss, it’s notable that they may have found their QB1 after an injury to Ty Keyes last week and how Will Hall considered reverting back to the Super Back system earlier this week. Despite a few miscues and heavy pressure from Miami’s front seven1, Wilcke would finish with 16 completions on 27 attempts, 207 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Wilcke was also USM’s leading rusher with 29 yards.
Southern Miss continues their season at home on September 17 against Northwestern State. Miami heads to #6 Texas A&M that same day.