5 Thoughts - 2008 New Orleans Bowl
Troy RB DuJuan Harris
Troy RB DuJuan Harris
Posted Dec 22, 2008

Southern Miss beats Troy 30-27 in OT ... 5 Thoughts on the 2008 New Orleans Bowl

5 Thoughts ... 2008 R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Southern Miss 30 ... Troy 27 OT

GAME REVIEW: Southern Miss blocks kick to win 
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2008 New Orleans Bowl Player Profiles, Histories, & More

1) Is it possible to have a worse start and a better ending than Southern Miss came up with in the win over Troy ... and for the season as a whole? The Golden Eagles needed a timeout on the first play, got nailed with a false start penalty and got a bad option pitch batted down and returned for a score from Troy's Jorrick Calvin. In the fourth quarter and overtime, the Golden Eagles made up for the early mistakes by coming through with the clutch plays they needed to make. The middle part of the game wasn't bad, either. The Golden Eagles stayed calm, cool, and collected despite losing star WR DeAndre Brown to a horrific injury, despite having problems getting the Troy offense off thee field at times, and, of course, despite the lousy start. For a hot team that turned a major corner late in the season, this was a special win for USM that should make for a fun off-season. Next year, the team isn't going to struggle as much over the first half of the year and it won't have to rally. But after this game, it knows it can.   - Pete Fiutak

2) Give Larry Fedora a little more time and he’ll get the Southern Miss offense where Tulsa, Houston, and Rice are in Conference USA. He’s got one of the best offensive minds around and has already shown an ability to improve the overall talent level in Hattiesburg. Considering he inherited players recruited to play in a completely different system and went with a freshman quarterback, Fedora did real well to get the Eagles over .500. After beating Troy in overtime, Southern Miss takes a five-game winning streak into the offseason, which is just the kind of momentum it’ll need to be the class of the East Division next fall. -
Richard Cirminiello      

3) Although the New Orleans Bowl was as entertaining as it gets for a December 21st bowl, it wasn’t the same after Southern Miss WR DeAndre Brown suffered a gruesome leg injury early on. He was the best reason to tune out the Giants and Panthers on NBC, a 6-6 true freshman gazelle with limitless upside. And there he was, writhing on the turf with a nasty fracture that looks like it’ll keep him away from the field well beyond spring practice. You root for a quick recovery for all of the obvious reasons and a few that are self-serving, like he’s so much fun to watch in action. You can just see the greatness on the horizon for certain players. Brown is one of them. Here’s hoping he’s in uniform when the Eagles open up the 2009 season.   - Richard Cirminiello 
4) Former coach Jeff Bower, who won and won and won, had no business being pushed out of the Golden Eagle program. With that said, the past should have nothing to do with the way current USM boss Larry Fedora is assessed or appreciated. Very simply, the new head honcho in Hattiesburg has gotten his players to buy into his methods. Many 2-6 teams would have folded; not this one. Tonight's improbable bowl victory--which was in doubt until the stunning blocked field goal in overtime--was truly a microcosm of Fedora's first season as an FBS head coach. Faith, perseverance and patience were definitely rewarded in the Louisiana Superdome. - Matthew Zemek

5) Don't ever... ever... ever... run backwards when the first down marker is within your sights. Maybe Troy receiver Michael Terry will finally learn that lesson after a third down play in the fourth quarter in USM territory. Terry didn't get the first down, and in no man's land on the Golden Eagle 39, Troy went for it on 4th and one, got stuffed, and Austin Davis went to work completing four passes on the way to the score to pull USM within three. If any other young players (or veteran coaches) were watching this game, they just found the ultimate teachable moment for pass catchers. Terry's lack of common sense paved the way for Southern Miss's ballsy late-game comeback and overtime win. - Matthew Zemek

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