It has been an emotional week for Southern Miss.
After the biggest win of the season, three Golden Eagles were shot at a nightclub. It has been a difficult week for everybody on the Southern Miss campus, but the team responded with its best offensive performance of the season and a 59-41 win.
"It just shows what they have inside of them, what they have in their chest and what they are made of," Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora said. "Positive people do not necessarily mean that bad things are not going to happen to you, but positive people are not going to let the bad things hold them back. That is what this team is."
Senior linebacker Martez Smith was one of the players shot. He is paralyzed from the waist down. He came to the game in a wheelchair, and participated in the senior night ceremonies.
Said Fedora: "This was a big deal for him to get back out there in front of our fans. He is a tough kid and he will make it. I guarantee it, he will be fine. He will have plenty of support from this team and this university. He was a senior and this was senior night so it was obviously a big deal, a very big deal."
Southern Miss established a fund to help the wounded players-Smith, Tim Green and Deddrick Jones-to help with expenses not covered by insurance.
Teammates wore the players' jerseys during the game to honor them. Cordarro Law wore Jones' jersey.
"I thought hard about it, wearing the jersey," Law said. "I finally decided that I was going to wear it. I talked to D.J. about it and he was all for it. He just told me to wear it and play my best."
• Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis has been nominated for the inaugural Burlsworth Trophy, which will be given to the best player who started his career as a walk-on. Davis accounted for six touchdowns Saturday and has been a team leader at Southern Miss for most of his career.
• Golden Eagles kicker Daniel Hrapmann broke two school records and tied another, continuing his stellar season. Hrapmann has the single-season scoring record, with 115 points. He also has a record 46 extra points this season. With one more field goal, he will own that record, too.
• Southern Miss set a school record with 642 yards of offense. The Golden Eagles also recorded a season-high 59 points and ran for a season-high 349 yards, with two players- Kendrick Hardy and Davis-going over 100 yards.
Game Ball Goes To: QB Austin Davis - Davis spearheaded the most explosive offensive day in school history. He completed 24 of 31 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for four more touchdowns and 111 yards. It was only the second 100-yard rushing game of his career.
Keep An Eye On: DE Coradrro Law - Two of the players shot were Law's roommates. He certainly has an emotional inspiration for the future games. Southern Miss will need another big game from Law this week against Tulsa, one of the best offenses in the country.
Quote To Note: "First of all, we set out to honor our three wounded brothers, and I believe the team did that today in all three phases. I am very proud of the way they played. They played hard the entire game. It has been a long, hard week for all of us, and to finish it off this way, it tells you what these guys are made of and what they have inside of them, that core, that fiber that runs through the middle of all them." - Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Looking Good: In three of their last five games, the Golden Eagles went over 500 yards of total offense. Most of those yards have come in the running game, as they did Saturday. Southern Miss has averaged more than 200 yards per game rushing during that time.
Still Needs Work: Southern Miss' pass defense had played well this season, but Houston carved them to pieces Saturday. Southern Miss allowed the Cougars 467 yards and only had two sacks on 47 pass attempts.
Roster Report: Running back Desmond Johnson missed his second straight game with a knee injury,