HATTIESBURG – Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora wasn’t totally pleased or satisfied with a 34-7 home win against defending SWAC champion Prairie View on Saturday.
But Fedora did say the Golden Eagles improved in all three phases of the game after a season-opening loss at South Carolina.
During his weekly press conference, Fedora pointed to a blocked punt by Deron Williams that led to three points as well as 464 total yards on offense and 211 yards allowed by the defense.
“From game one to game two, we improved in all three phases,” Fedora said. “We are far from where we want to be, but we made improvement, We wanted a big play on special teams and we got the blocked punt by Deron Williams.
“We still have a long way to go… All of our focus in the next morning started on Kansas. But we saw some good things happened in the first half and they played with a chip on the shoulder. They played the way we needed to play in the first half.”
Kendrick Hardy rushed for 86 yards on 20 carries and V. J. Floyd added 59 yards on nine carries.
Southern Miss utilized four tailbacks, including Desmond Johnson, who scored on runs of 9 and 4 yards, and Jeremy Hester.
“We will need all these guys this season,” Fedora said.
Fedora, a week after signaling DeAndre Brown out for his poor play in the South Carolina loss, praised the Ocean Springs native.
Brown, a junior wide receiver, had five receptions for 100 yards, including a six-yard touchdown pass from Austin Davis in the second quarter.
“I thought he responded well,””Fedora said. “I expected him to. He played hard and he made plays. He was blocking and getting after people. He was playing the game the way be can play.”
Southern Miss returns to action with a rare Friday game against Kansas at M. M. Roberts Stadium. The televised game on ESPN kicks off at 7 p.m.
The Jayhawks, who beat Southern Miss 35-28 last year in Lawrence, Kansas, are 1-1 this season after a 6-3 loss to North Dakota State and a surprising 28-25 home win against Georgia Tech.
“We did not finish the game last year,” Fedora said. “We turned it (ball) over in red zone, like at the 10. We did not finish the fourth quarter when we had a chance to win the game.”
Al Jones/The Sun Herald (MCT)