HATTIESBURG — Despite riding a three-game losing streak, Southern Miss still has a lot to play for.
Entering the second half of the season, a thin line separates a bad season and a winning campaign.
The Golden Eagles (3-3, 1-1 Conference-USA) look to rebound Saturday against Memphis (2-4, 1-2 C-USA) at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
With little room for error, Southern Miss still has a chance to claim an East Division title. Four teams enter play this weekend with one conference loss.
East Carolina, Marshall and UAB support identical 2-1 C-USA records followed by Southern Miss.
“We have everything to play for,” Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora said “Our goal of winning the East Division are still sitting in front of us. Everyone has a loss right now.
“In the situation where we have a funk going on the last three games, everyone we play are winnable and we have to prepare to do that.”
Another loss this weekend, however, would give Southern Miss two conference losses. The Golden Eagles still have critical games left against Tulsa and road battles at Houston, Marshall and East Carolina.
“We have to put the last three games behind us,” Fedora said. “We have no choice because every game is more important that the last game when you are in this situation.
“We have backed ourselves up against the wall. It’s time we come out fighting.”
During the first three games of the season, Southern Miss knocked off Alcorn State, Central Florida and Virginia by outscoring them 110-53 and rushed for over 200 yards twice. In losses at Kansas, UAB and Louisville, the Golden Eagles were outscored 90-to-68.
“Go back to the Kansas game and it was a break down here or there,” Fedora said. “I think the UAB game was more mental than anything. The game with Louisville was a break down on a couple of plays.”
Running back Damion Fletcher of Biloxi leads the team with 457 rushing yards. Senior Tory Harrison has 312 yards.
Fedora wants the Golden Eagles to play with more passion.
“We should have a chip on our shoulder, regardless of who we play,” he said. “We’ve had three games now where we have come up short. Whether it’s Memphis of not, it’s our next football game and we need to back in the win column. We are not giving up.”
Al Jones/The Sun Herald (MCT)