The APSU Governors football team was easily defeated on Saturday, Sept. 12 (52-6) by the Southern Miss. Golden Eagles in Hattiesburg, Miss. in their second game of the season.
During the first quarter, the Govs struggled to move the ball.
A trio of 3-and-outs set the Govs back early and forced an already tired defense on the field.
A blocked punt by the Golden Eagles set up Southern Miss. deep in Govs’ territory. Inside the Govs’ 10 yard line, Nick Mullens took a read option and danced his way into the end zone to put the Golden Eagles up 7-0.
The Govs tried to make a game of it, rallying back with a four-play, 87-yard drive of their own.
With a pair of Southern Miss. penalties, the Govs found themselves almost in Golden Eagle territory.
On the fourth and final play of the drive, Govs quarterback Trey Taylor pump-faked and froze a committed Golden Eagles defense, finding an open Rashaan Coleman for a 44-yard touchdown, the one and only score for the Govs on Saturday afternoon.
Over the next three quarters of play, the Golden Eagles dropped 45 unanswered points on a depleted Govs defense.
The Golden Eagles mounted a counter-attack and Ito Smith barreled his way to a 75-yard touchdown score, finishing the contest with 135 rushing yards and 203 all purpose yards, including a 49-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.
The Govs struggled offensively the rest of the game, mounting just 189 total offensive yards.
Conversely, Southern Miss. blistered their way to 514 total yards.
Despite a herculean effort last week, the Govs defense gave up three touchdown passes to Southern Miss.
Junior cornerback Roderick Owens played well for the Govs with four tackles, two deflected passes and an interception, limiting the Southern Miss. quarterback to 22-40 on pass attempts.
However, this proved fruitless as 275 passing yards were more than enough to pick apart the Govs’ defense.
The Govs’ provided a pick-six for the Golden Eagle defense when Kalan Reed picked off Taylor late in the third quarter.
He returned it 76 yards for a Southern Miss touchdown.
Taylor finished the game 11/18 with a 61 percent passing rate.
“I think initially we came out and played pretty well on both sides and were very assignment-sound,” said APSU Head Coach Kirby Cannon, according to letsogopeay.com. “After that, they got us in some match-ups that weren’t real good on either side of the ball. We made some big mistakes, let a punt get blocked, and once it starts heading down hill, it heads downhill pretty fast.”
The Govs are on the road next week where they see what the SEC is like and face the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Game time is at 3:00 p.m. at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tenn.