Southern Miss out for revenge against Cougars

Rohith Nandagiri

Staff Writer

After beating the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi 372 days ago to clinch the Conference USA title and spoil USM's attempt at a bowl bid, UH will be playing for nothing more than pride this Saturday.

This year, the Cougars (3-6 overall, 2-2 in C-USA) will be out to play the spoiler role when they travel to Hattiesburg, Miss. to take on the Golden Eagles (6-3, 4-0).

The implications of the game have changed since last year, but Houston head coach Kim Helton said his team will be out to prove that last year was no fluke.

"Motivationally, it will be the most motivated game we will play since I've been here. Anybody who isn't motivated won't get on the plane."

The Golden Eagles are ready for the game for three reasons. They can clinch at least a tie for a C-USA crown, clinch a Liberty Bowl bid and celebrate against the team that beat them kept them out of a bowl last year.

Southern Miss head coach Jeff Bower said his team constantly recalls last year's game. "The players and coaching staff vividly remember last season, and it has served to motivate them."

The Golden Eagles' year-long motto has been "seize the season." This attitude, along with the increased level of talent, has allowed Southern Miss to lose only three games, to Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee - all on the road.

Bower also said that this year's team has been his most aggressive and motivated team. "This is the most determined team I have been around. They are playing good football. However, in order to get to that next level, we must cut out the mistakes and play more disciplined."

Houston, on the other hand, has lost two games in a row and last week lost a one-point decision to East Carolina. The Cougars' youth in the secondary has been exposed, and opponents are picking apart the defense.

East Carolina's Dan Gonzalez passed his way through the Cougar defense to the tune of 337 yards, four touchdowns and C-USA Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Offensively, the Cougars are moving the ball and scoring. Ketric Sanford, while not 100 percent, is back to the top of C-USA in all-purpose yards with 148.3 yards a game. He is also second in the conference in rushing yards per game with 77. However, he is ranked after Harold Shaw of Southern Miss, who has 87 yards per game.

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