The streak continues. The Southern Miss football team has now lost 15 consecutive games; currently the longest streak in the FBS. The Arkansas Razorbacks defeated the Golden Eagles 24-3 in Fayetteville. Allan Bridgford threw 33 times for a total of 133 yards. Along with those 133 yards, Bridgford threw two interceptions.
Despite the score, the Golden Eagles showed improvement in some areas of the game. Southern Miss only committed two turnovers through four quarters. The offense also rushed for over 100 yards in the game. Although the offense improved in some areas, they also took steps back in the passing game. Only 133 yards on 17 completions and no touchdowns isn’t the performance they were looking for.
The Razorbacks tested the defense’s will as they rushed 56 times for 258 yards. Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema looks to change the culture of football at Arkansas by implementing the same system he was successful with at Wisconsin.
Southern Miss fans are looking for answers. The Golden Eagles appear to have forgotten the recipe to victory. Inconsistency continues to plagues the Golden Eagles. 15 games ago it all started after halftime at Nebraska. Last season, heading into halftime in Lincoln, the Golden Eagles were down 28-17. With the game still in reach, on the opening drive of the 3rd quarter Southern Miss turned the ball over and the snowball effect began.
Last season the Golden Eagles were outscored 454-236, and they’ve been outscored 102-31 this season. Being outscored throughout the season is not a recipe for victory. The Golden Eagles turned the ball over 28 times last season, so far this season the offense has 11 turnovers through three games. Skill players are not protecting the ball. The defense has been behind the eight ball in every game this season. Southern Miss has played from behind in every game this season. The defense has had to defend a short field due to turnovers many times this season.
The blame falls on the offense. The offense’s lack of scoring hurts the team as a whole. Field goals alone rarely win games. In the Golden Eagles’ most recent conference title and winning season, there was consistent quarterback play. A replacement for four-year starter Austin Davis has yet to come for the Golden Eagles. Bridgford has not been the quarterback that Coach Todd Monken believed he would be getting.
Bridgford’s experience has not translated to the playing field. Much of the reason could be he only had fall camp to learn the playbook, while the other quarterbacks like Ricky Lloyd and Cole Weeks had the spring and summer to learn the playbook.
The running back position looks to be getting in their groove. Jalen Richard led the team in rushing with 94 yards, a season high. The team rushed for over a 100 yards for the first time this season as well. A good rushing game equals ball control and time of possession. I believe if you win the time of possession battle and control the tempo of the game with ball control. If you can play keep away, you can win the game and help your defense stay off the field.
The Golden Eagles look to get on track against Boise State as they to Boise for the last of their three consecutive away games.
Allan Bridgford attempts a pass. Photo by: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports