take look at USM
By By Stan Caldwell / EMG Sports Writer
Sept. 8, 2002
HATTIESBURG Football fans don't normally give much thought to bowl games this early in the season, but the men who run those games are already thinking hard about them.
Representatives from two bowl groups were in attendance at M.M. Roberts Stadium Saturday to watch Southern Mississippi's 23-20 victory over Illinois, and while the season is still young, they are already in midseason form.
Lazenby was back at his alma mater scouting for the two bowl games his group operates, the Capitol One Bowl (formerly the Citrus Bowl) and the Tangerine Bowl. Both games are scheduled for Orlando, Fla.
The Tangerine Bowl will be held Dec. 23 and matches an Atlantic Coast Conference team against a Big 12 team. The New Year's Day Capitol One Bowl pits a Big Ten team against a Southeastern Conference team. Lazenby said his group will scout a total of 480 games this season.
Also in attendance was Frank Modarelli, executive director of the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and he came specifically to see USM. The Dec. 18 game matches a Conference USA team against a team from either the Mid-American Conference or the Western Athletic Conference.
This will be the fourth year for the game, and the past two have been thrillers. USM upset Texas Christian 28-21 in 2000, scoring the winning touchdown on the final play of the game, and last year's game was won by Marshall over East Carolina 64-61 in double-overtime.
Last season, in a disappointing 6-5 campaign, USM was hurt on several occasions by breakdowns on special teams. It looked like history might repeat itself when Illinois' Eugene Wilson returned Mark Haulman's first punt 70 yards for a touchdown.
It was the first punt return for a touchdown against the Golden Eagles since Freddie Milons of Alabama carried a punt 65 yards for a score in 1999.
But the Golden Eagles righted things and outplayed the Illini in that phase of the game the rest of the way. On three ensuing returns, Wilson averaged just 7 yards, and Haulman was able to avoid returns altogether on his other six punts.
For the game, Haulman averaged 44.1 yards on 10 punts, putting two down inside the Illinois 20-yard-line, including one that was downed at the 1-yard-line that set up a safety.
USM cornerback Greg Brooks also blocked an Illinois field goal attempt late in the third quarter, and that led to the go-ahead touchdown.
for weird play
Nominee for weird play of the year goes to the double-fumble play that resulted in Illinois' second touchdown of the game.
USM quarterback Micky D'Angelo was hit just as he was attempting to pass and the ball was jarred loose. Illini safety Taman Jordan picked up the ball and ran 25 yards, then appeared to spike the ball then kicked it a good 30 yards down the field.
Players from both teams seemed to think the ball was dead, all except Illinois cornerback Mike Hall, who picked the ball up at the USM 30 and ran into the end zone.
disappointing to USM
Saturday's attendance, coming one week after USM set a new stadium record against Jackson State, was a disappointing 22,183.
However, the remnants of Tropical Storm Eduardo played a big role in keeping the crowd down. A steady rain began right before kickoff and it rained throughout the game. Also, the storm caused some flooding in many areas of the Gulf Coast, keeping many Coast fans at home.
It was a tale of two halves for Illinois quarterbacks. Dustin Ward started the game and played the entire first half, then Jon Beutjer came out for the third quarter and played the entire second half.
Neither was particularly effective. Ward completed 5 of 10 passes for 87 yards, while Beutjer was 8-of-23 for 76 yards. Each one had a pass picked off; Ward was sacked three times and Beutjer was sacked once.
Derrick Nix's 201-yard rushing performance Saturday was only the sixth 200-yard game in USM history. Nix owns the third-highest total, with 219 yards against Nevada in 1998.
The USM single-game rushing record is 304 yards by Sam DeJarnette against Florida State in 1982.