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#1 2017-09-03 12:11:28

99beers
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From: Uranus
Registered: 2017-08-25
Posts: 352

Progress report: Kwadra Griggs, Southern Miss defense stand out, turno

Progress report: Kwadra Griggs, Southern Miss defense stand out, turnovers still problematic

http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/stor … 629733001/

Jason Munz, Hattiesburg American Published 11:31 a.m. CT Sept. 3, 2017

Football.

Actual football. Finally.

Southern Miss and its fan base waited with their collective breath fully baited for just shy of nine long months. But Saturday, football was back.

And now, it’s evaluation time.

The Golden Eagles’ bid to add one more tiny chink in the armor of the almighty SEC failed, as Kentucky walked out of M.M. Roberts Stadium 24-17 winners. It likely served as some measure of revenge for the Wildcats, who were beaten by the same team 44-35 one year ago.


Here are the honor roll-worthy performances, as well as those that need to spend a little more time in study hall.

A — Kwadra Griggs. The redshirt junior made his Southern Miss debut in relief of starter Keon Howard. It’s easy to compare his performance (15-of-26 for 222 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions) to Howard’s (7-of-14 for 87 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions) and think, “Gee, if only Griggs had played the whole game, maybe the outcome would have been different. Darn you, coaching staff!” Well, yeah, maybe. But, maybe not. Either way, what Griggs showed when he was on the field Saturday was a strong ability to lead and manage the offense. He proved whatever is wrong with the middle finger on his throwing hand didn’t prevent him from making more plays than not. Griggs displayed a stable, calming presence in the second half. Even under duress, he showed the ability to improvise and distribute the ball with notable effectiveness.

A — Korey Robertson/Quez Watkins. Kentucky took Allenzae Staggers, the Golden Eagles’ leading receiver last season, completely out of the picture. That opened the door for Robertson and Watkins, both of whom made the most of their opportunities. We’ll start with Robertson, who was targeted nine times and made seven catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Great numbers. But even more impressive in this reporter’s eyes is the fact that Robertson appears to be the most complete receiver on Southern Miss’ roster. Against Kentucky, he showed fine speed, route-running ability, strong hands and elite run-after-the-catch talent. Both touchdowns came as the result of equal parts play call, ball delivery and Robertson’s skill after the catch. Watkins, too, made a strong impression. In the redshirt freshman’s first game as a Golden Eagle, he made four catches for 103 yards. The two most impressive receptions were of the 50-50 variety. In the second quarter, he came down with a 47-yard catch at the Kentucky 5-yard line despite Chris Westry’s pass interference. Later in the game, Watkins beat Westry again on a 50-50 ball, this one for a gain of 30.


B — Defense. Southern Miss held Kentucky to 254 yards of total offense. Five of the Wildcats’ 14 drives resulted in three-and-outs. Kentucky’s sophomore running back Benny Snell, who rushed for 1,091 yards (5.9 per carry) and 13 touchdowns as a freshman in 2016, was essentially a non-factor (67 yards on 20 carries, no touchdowns). Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson put up pedestrian numbers (176 yards – 59 of which came on one play - and a touchdown). Most impressive individual performances include leading tackler Tarvarius Moore, who finished with eight, Racheem Boothe (seven stops) and Rod Crayton, who recorded five tackles including 1 ½ for loss. Crayton came into his senior season with one career TFL.


C — Offensive line. One of the primary concerns coming into the season was how the team’s retooled front five would fare. There was some good, some bad. The group held its own versus Kentucky’s defense in pass protection. Neither Howard nor Griggs were running for their lives all day. The Golden Eagles gave up two sacks, a respectable number given the number of newcomers to the line. Starting left tackle Drake Dorbeck left the game with an injury in the first quarter and true freshman Paul Gainer stepped up and put in quality work in Dorbeck’s absence. The biggest issue came in the run game. Southern Miss netted just 55 yards on the ground as the offensive line struggled to create space for Ito Smith and company throughout much of the game.

D — Turnovers. Howard, Griggs and Ito Smith each accounted for one lost fumble. Ball security always has been and always will be a point of emphasis for every football team. But Southern Miss put forth great effort and energy during the offseason to reverse 2016’s ugly turnover trend. Last season, the Golden Eagles lost 16 fumbles in 13 games. So having three balls on the turf recovered by the opposition in the first game is a significant eyesore. Making matters worse, Kentucky returned one fumble for a touchdown Saturday and turned a second one into 7 points.


D — Penalties. Southern Miss finished with eight flags for 69 yards. It seemed early on the Golden Eagles had also worked on discipline, since it wasn’t whistled for its first infraction until the second quarter. But a number of penalties against Southern Miss Saturday were cause for significant concern. After it cut the Wildcats’ lead to 7-3, Cornell Armstrong was flagged for a face mask on the ensuing kickoff. That gave Kentucky the ball at the Southern Miss 37-yard line. Three plays later, the visitors were celebrating in the end zone with a 14-3 lead. A 15-yard unsportmanlike conduct penalty on Draper Riley and a defensive holding call against Kelsey Douglas on third-and-11 late in the fourth quarter didn’t lead to points for Kentucky but it shaved time off the clock, which could have benefitted the Golden Eagles on the ensuing possession.

Last edited by 99beers (2017-09-03 12:13:20)


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Georgia Tech SwagFag can eat zombie feces...loser. #PoundSand

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#2 2017-09-03 12:35:49

AndreWhere
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From: Dunwoody, GA
Registered: 2017-08-24
Posts: 437
Website

Re: Progress report: Kwadra Griggs, Southern Miss defense stand out, turno

The nucleus of a good team is there. Yesterday was just such a depressing spectacle that it's hard to drum up any enthusiasm for the rest of the season. We may not clear 20,000 people next week.

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