Clipping the Eagles’ wings


The Appalachian Online

Cory Spiers

The Matchup
The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles and the App State Mountaineers meet for the first time since 1937 Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
App State is coming off of a bye week after throttling Campbell 66-0 for its first win of the season. The win over Campbell came after an opening week loss at Michigan by a score of 52-14.
The Golden Eagles were grounded by the Alabama Crimson Tide 52-12 on the road in their last game. They were also crushed by Mississippi State 49-0 in their season opener, but notched their lone victory of the season in a 26-20 affair at home against Alcorn State in the second week of the season.

How App State can win
If junior quarterback Kameron Bryant can take advantage of the explosive play of junior wide receiver Simms McElfresh, it could open up the running game for the dynamic power of App State’s running back tandem in sophomore Marcus Cox and redshirt freshman Terrence Upshaw.
Cox and Upshaw combined for 155 yards and three touchdowns against the Fighting Camels. If that one-two punch can be effective against Southern Mississippi, it will make things very hard on the home team’s defense.
The App State defense held Campbell to under 100 yards of offense for the game and forced four turnovers. Pressuring the Southern Miss. starting quarterback, sophomore Nick Mullens, will be important for the Mountaineers.
It will be important to watch McElfresh, which will be a tough order for Southern Miss. McElfresh leads App State with three touchdown grabs on the season.
The offense will need a solid running game to set up McElfresh and Bryant with chances to connect more for scores.

How Southern Mississippi can win
Mullens will have to control the game for the Golden Eagles if they are to win.
That means it is important for the home team to sustain long drives to attempt to wear the App State defense down.
The Golden Eagles have struggled to move the ball and score points this season, as shown by their 12.7 points per game average.
App State averages nearly 100 yards of offense more than the Golden Eagles, so generating pressure on Bryant will be important for the Golden Eagles.
Bryant’s lone interception against Campbell came when he was pressured and tossed the ball into the hands of a Fighting Camels defensive lineman.
Creating havoc in the backfield to rattle Bryant and create pressure on the excellent lineup of App State running backs should be a point of emphasis for the Golden Eagles.
The Southern Miss. offense should hope for a revival. While their points per game average is low, they have been held to 12 total points in games against tough SEC schools in Mississippi State and Alabama.

The bottom line
App State’s second road game of the season is a bit more manageable than their first in Michigan.
Southern Miss. went an abysmal 2-13 last season and after starting this season 1-2, expect the Golden Eagles to put up quite a fight at home to try to even their record.

Story: Cory Spiers, Sports Editor