By John L. Pitts | NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Everything came together for the Mississippi Hound Dogs last Friday night, as the team pounded the visiting Rome (Ga.) Rampage 53-6 at BancorpSouth Arena for their first victory.
“It all just seemed to click,” head coach Eric Bingham said Wednesday, as he took a break from watching video of this week’s opponent, the Florida Tarpons. “This group of guys seems to be meshing very well.”
The Hound Dogs (1-3) will try to build on last week’s success with another home game tonight. Kickoff against the Tarpons (2-0) is set for 7:30 p.m.
This has been a less hectic week for the Hound Dogs, as Bingham was promoted on March 19 after coach Martino Theus was fired. Bingham and the Dogs quickly regrouped, however, to deliver the new franchise its first victory.
‘A complete game’
“They went out and played hard, played a complete game and got the job done,” Bingham said. “It was really good for them to see their hard work pay off with a victory.
“I’ve been in football all my life, from age 8 and I’m 34 now. I can adjust to anything, but I do have to say this week has been a little easier.”
Beating Rome avenged the Hound Dogs’ season-opening loss. Tonight’s game offers another chance for revenge.
Florida beat the visiting Hound Dogs 58-35 on March 8, in a game which the Tarpons led only 22-20 at halftime. “We were pretty much in that game, had chances to take control, but it just got away from us,” Bingham said.
It could be an entertaining shootout, as Florida quarterback Brian Harris – who played at Mississippi College – has thrown 12 touchdowns in two starts and Mississippi’s Jami Boland, an indoor football rookie from Nettleton, is coming off a seven-TD game against Rome.
“Boland has really improved from the first game and he can only get better,” Bingham said.
The Hound Dogs, who drew a paying crowd of about 1,500 last week, will continue this homestand with games against Lakeland next Saturday and Eastern Kentucky on April 21. After that, the team will have two more home games in May.
TARPONS’ SINGLETON VERY TALL TARGET
The Mississippi Hound Dogs’ defense will have a tall task tonight in dealing with Florida wide receiver Carlos Singleton.
You might remember the 6-foot-7 Singleton from his time at the University of Memphis, where he made 39 catches for 507 yards and three touchdowns as a senior.
An undrafted free agent who did not stick with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010, he’s the leading receiver this season for the Tarpons, with 15 catches in two games for 255 yards and three TDs.
In the first meetings of these teams, on March 9 in Florida, Singleton caught nine passes for 181 yards and a touchdown.