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franklin county times

USM to face high powered offense in TCU

By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
Dec. 18, 2000
MOBILE, Ala. When the Southern Miss Golden Eagles and the 13th-ranked Texas Christian Horned Frogs square off Wednesday night in the Mobile, Alabama Bowl it will showcase a pair of teams that can score points.
Sunday's bowl itinerary saw a meeting of offensive coordinators, and fittingly the summit was held on the battleship U.S.S. Alabama.
USM offensive coordinator Chris Klenakis' troops will be charged with matching the high-powered scoring machine that has produced a 2,000 plus yard rusher in TCU running back LaDanian Tomlinson and a quarterback in Casey Printers, who has only lost three of his 21 starts at the school.
The latter portion of the assessment may be the area that carries the most weight for USM.
Toward the end of the regular season, the Golden Eagles (7-4) struggled with key injuries to skill people. But USM looks to get back some of their losses with the return of players such as wide receiver Leroy Handy and running back Dawayne Woods.
These Eagles, as well as Tomlinson, are poised to do their parts to help their respective squads light up the scoreboard.
Klenakis was also quick to point out that a talented team like TCU (10-1) wouldn't leave his squad much room for error.
USM quarterback Jeff Kelly, who was plagued this season by nine interceptions, agreed with his offensive coordinator in an earlier weekend press junket.
Funny that Kelly would characterize the Horned Frogs in that particular manner.
TCU football records a stat they like to refer to as explosives or a running play of 14 or more yards. One team offensive goal is to collect at least eight of those in each game.
The Frogs did so in nearly all of their games, en route to an impressive 37 points per game average. USM, meanwhile averages 26 points per outing, and 323.8 yards a game. TCU behind Tomlinson, pumps out 421.1 each night, including a fourth-best 276 yards a game on the ground. Other national marks for TCU include fifth in passing efficiency, 23rd in total offense and 11th in scoring offense.
The two squads will wrap up the bowl week with practices and luncheons today and tomorrow before the Wednesday night kickoff.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. Email him at rdark@themeridianstar.com.