By Al Jones/The Sun Herald (MCT)
Austin Davis continues to make a name for himself on and off the football field at Southern Miss.
The Meridian native has moved up the ladder in many of the schools all-time passing categories with one season left.
The 6-foot-2, 200 pound junior threw for 2,898 yards and 18 touchdowns against six interceptions this season while helping the Golden Eagles (8-4) to a spot in Tuesday’s Beef O’Brady’s Bowl against Louisville (6-6).
Davis and his Southern Miss teammates arrived in St. Petersburg on Saturday to begin preparations.
“We are excited to be here,” Davis said. “It’s not where we wanted to be when the season started. Obviously, we wanted to win the conference (USA) championship but we didn’t. In football, you have to have a short memory and get ready to play each week.
“We have done the same thing with the season. We have put it behind us and we are excited to be playing Louisville. They are a Big East and we will be ready to go. As soon as we found out we were playing Louisville, we started getting ready.”
Davis has been solid this season. With 102 passing yards against the Cardinals, Davis will surpass the 3,000-yard plateau for the second time (3,128 yards in 2008).
No other Southern Miss quarterback has thrown for 3,000 yards in a single season. Davis is one touchdown (51) behind Brett Favre and Lee Roberts and needs 231 passing yards to become the schools all-time leader in both categories.
“I really can’t think about the stats,” Davis said. “My career stats will be higher because I have been able to start since I was a redshirt freshman three years ago. My stats will be higher than a guy who starts for two years. My goal is to win a championship.
“But I might tell my kids later about passing Brett Favre when it happens. Of course, Brett Favre didn’t run the spread offense and I did.”
Off the field, Davis has already received his business degree at Southern Miss and will begin work on a master’s degree next summer.
But there’s more to a man who’s considered the leader of the Golden Eagles staff. Following the bowl game, Davis will spend 14 days on a mission trip to China with the Baptist Student Union at Southern Miss.
“We leave on Dec. 27 and come back on Jan. 10,” Davis said. “It is going to be fun. We will be over there talking about our faith and that should be a neat experience.
“We will see things from a different angle and I think that will help me understand what the Lord is going to do with my life.
“I have never been out of the country. I know I will see a different lifestyle. But I think our principles here will match up with principles in China with our faith. I am looking forward to it.
“I am looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for me.”
The Golden Eagles are three-point underdogs against the Cardinals, their former C-USA rivals.
“We don’t look at things like that (point spread),” Davis said.