USM's Thames won't push in-state games
By By William F. West / staff writer
June 25, 2002
Any football fanatics who want Ole Miss and Mississippi State to finally agree to renew gridiron rivalries with Southern Mississippi, may be disappointed for quite some time.
Recently hired University of Southern Mississippi President Shelby Thames reiterated his university's longstanding motto of the Golden Eagles being willing to play "anyone, anytime, anywhere."
But Thames made clear in an interview in Meridian on Monday that he will not force the issue in the halls of the administration buildings at the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University.
USM last played MSU in 1990 and Ole Miss in 1984.
An unofficial, but pro-USM Internet web site is quick to remind fans that the Golden Eagles held a 10-5 advantage over the Bulldogs in the last 15 meetings and that the Golden Eagles held a 5-2 advantage over the Rebels in the last seven meetings.
Two of the Golden Eagles' biggest victories were 30-14 over the third-ranked Rebels in 1970 in Oxford and 30-14 over the 15th-ranked Bulldogs in 1981 before a crowd of more than 64,000 at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson.
Mississippi State defeated USM the last two times the teams played, beating the Golden Eagles 13-10 in Starkville in 1990 and 26-23 in Hattiesburg in 1989.
USM defeated Ole Miss in their last two meetings, taking a 13-10 win in Jackson in 1984 and a 27-7 win in Oxford in 1983.
The schools have not played since Jeff Bower has been the head coach at Southern Mississippi.