Southern Miss Football: Golden Season For the Golden Eagles?

(Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports)

Southern Miss Golden Eagles football is coming off a 6-5 season where they were not chosen to play in a bowl game. This season, the Golden Eagles are looking to avenge that. With a manageable schedule, this is certainly possible for the 2019 Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles.

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles football kicks off Saturday, August 31st with an in state matchup at home vs the Alcorn State Braves of the FCS. This will be their only home game until week five. Weeks two, three, and four feature two SEC matchups at Mississippi State and Alabama with a trip to Troy in between. Week five will feature the Golden Eagles hosting the UTEP Miners and week six will be one of their two BYE weeks.

From there, the Golden Eagles get their first taste of tough Conference USA action when they host North Texas week seven. The Mean Green are considered the favorites to win the CUSA West in 2019, so this will be a tough matchup for Southern Miss. Trips to Louisiana Tech and Rice are followed by another BYE week. The Golden Eagles will closeout the regular season by hosting UAB, traveling to UT-San Antonio, hosting Western Kentucky, and traveling to Florida Atlantic.

The schedule is certainly manageable. Troy, North Texas, and Louisiana Tech should be the Golden Eagles toughest non-SEC opponents. If the Golden Eagles can work through the schedule, there’s no reason as to why 9-3 or even 10-2 cannot be achieved. This is certainly the goal, as Southern Miss is seeking to win their first Conference USA title since 2011.

Southern Miss ranks fairly high in returning production, returning over 70% of a defense that was top 5 in College Football last season. However, offense is another story. Southern Miss returns over 90% of an offense that was only 99th in the nation last season. Hoping to increase offensive production, the Golden Eagles hired Buster Faulkner from Arkansas State.

Ranking 5th in the CUSA in recruiting was good feeling for USM this off-season, along with the hiring of a new offensive coordinator. Southern Miss also hired a new offensive line coach, Ryan Stanchek. The Golden Eagles are hoping for similar production from Quarterback Jack Abraham, who completed 73% of his passes in 2018 for a total of 2,347 and 15 touchdowns.

Head Coach Jay Hopson is also hoping that his mostly inexperienced group from last season can come back this season and produce at a higher level, both on the field and in the locker room. It will be tough, the CUSA West tends to be one of the best divisions in the Group of Five conferences. Southern Miss though has a lot of returning and more experienced talent and a manageable schedule once they get past Alabama in week four. However this season turns out, you will be hearing one thing from the fans in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Southern Miss, to the top!

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