Southern Miss made a furious 4th quarter comeback against the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders on Saturday but ultimately lost the game 37-31. Let's take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of the game from a Southern Miss perspective.
The Good - The Southern Miss offense in general
Southern Miss' offense has struggled mightily since Larry Fedora's departure following the 2011 season. However, they showed some glimpses of brilliance yesterday. The Golden Eagles had 537 yards of total offense in the game, the most they've had in a game since November 2011 against Memphis (!). Nick Mullens threw for 426 yards and 3 touchdowns while completing 36 of 54 passes. Sophomore running back George Payne ran for 89 yards and a touchdown, his previous career high rushing total was 46 yards last year against Marshall. While it took them a little while to get going, the Southern Miss offense had a good game, all things considered.
The Bad - Silly mistakes and turnovers
Southern Miss lost the game yesterday, but it could have easily gone the other way had they avoided turnovers and mistakes. The Golden Eagles had a fumble in the redzone, a dropped touchdown, a missed extra point, and two missed 2 point conversion attempts. That's a lot of points left out on the field. These mistakes are easily fixable but they continue to happen in inoppurtune times for Southern Miss. If the Golden Eagles can eliminate these mistakes, they may find themselves winning more games.
The Ugly - The Southern Miss defense in general
While the Southern Miss offense had a solid day against the Blue Raiders, the defense was pretty much the exact opposite. The Golden Eagles allowed 583 yards total which included 332 yards passing from Middle Tennessee QB Austin Grammer. The Blue Raiders had 239 yards on the ground which included three different backs having 70+ yards. Middle Tennessee has a solid offense and has put up some big numbers against conference foes but if the Southern Miss defense had just played average, the Golden Eagles may have had a win.