AL/USM game notes

Alabama will play its second of six games within the friendly confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday when hosting the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. Alabama is 2-1 on the young season following last week's 33-7 win over North Texas. Southern Miss is 3-0 after a 33-14 win over Memphis.

Kickoff will be at 6 p.m. (CDT). The game will be televised on espn2 with Dave Barnett (play-by-play), Bill Curry (analyst), Mike Golic (analyst) and Michele Tafoya (sidelines) handling the announcing duties. The game will also be aired on the 80-plus station Crimson Tide Sports Network with Eli Gold (play-by-play) and Kenny Stabler (color analyst) describing the action. Tom Roberts will once again work the sidelines for the network broadcasts.

The Head Coaches

Alabama head coach Dennis Franchione is in his second season with the Crimson Tide and need just four victories to join an elite college coaching group with 150 career wins. Currently, there are only six active coaches with 150 or more career wins and Franchione is three wins shy of that mark with 147. In his first season, Coach Fran led Alabama to a 7-5 record, including a win over Iowa State in the Mainstay Independence Bowl. He is 9-6 (.600) in his tenure with the Crimson Tide.

Overall, Franchione is in his 20th season as a head coach and has compiled a 147-71-2 (.673) lifetime ledger at Southwestern (Kansas) College, Pittsburg State, Southwest Texas State, New Mexico, TCU and Alabama. He is 1-0 in his career against Southern Miss.

Jeff Bower is in his 12th season at Southern Miss and has compiled a 76-52-1 (.593) record in his head coaching career. Bower, a 1975 graduate of Southern Miss, is 2-8 (.200) as a head coach against Alabama.

Southern Miss head coach Jeff Bower

The Series

Alabama leads the all-time series with Southern Miss, 30-6-2, including nine wins in the last 10 meetings, dating back to 1991.

The Crimson Tide posted a 28-15 win last year at Birmingham's Legion Field to clinch its third straight win and become eligible for its NCAA record 51st bowl bid.

Two years ago, Southern Miss posted a 21-0 win over Alabama on Sept. 16, 2000 at Legion Field, snapping UA's eight-game on-the-field winning streak in the series. It was the first-ever shutout by the Golden Eagles over the Crimson Tide in the series 38-game history.

The Alabama-Southern Miss series began in 1947 with the Tide claiming a 34-7 win at Legion Field. Alabama and Southern Miss are playing for the 11th consecutive years and the two have met every year since 1980 with the exception of 1984, 1988 and 1991.

Game Captains

Game captains for the Southern Miss game are Justin Smiley (guard) and Theo Sanders (W-Back) on offense and Jarret Johnson (tackle) on defense and Marc Miller (strong safety) on special teams.

Alabama/Southern Miss Notes

  • All 38 games in the Alabama-Southern Miss series have been played in the state of Alabama, but in four different cities. The Crimson Tide owns winning records against the Golden Eagles in Tuscaloosa (13-1-1), Birmingham (13-2-1) and Mobile (4-0), while the Golden Eagles hold a 2-1 series lead in Montgomery.
  • Last year's Alabama-Southern Miss game was originally scheduled for Sept. 15, but was postponed until Nov. 29 due to the terrorist attacks against New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11.
  • Southern Miss seeks its first 4-0 start since the 1981 season. The Golden Eagles opened the 1981 season with four straight wins then tied Alabama (13-13) at Legion Field in their fifth game of the season.
  • Alabama looks to open the season with a 3-1 record for the first time since 1999. The Crimson Tide was 2-2 last year and 1-3 in 2000 after four games.
  • Alabama's Dennis Franchione is 1-0 in his head coaching career against Southern Miss. Following the 2000 season, TCU accepted a bid to play Southern Miss in the GMAC Mobile (Ala.) Bowl at Ladd Stadium. The Golden Eagles scored two fourth quarter touchdowns, including the game-winner with eight seconds left in the game. Coach Fran did not coach the Horned Frogs in the bowl game after being named head coach at Alabama on Dec. 4, 2000. Current TCU head coach Gary Patterson served as the head coach for that game with assistance from many of the current UA assistant coaches.
  • USM's Jeff Bower is 4-19-1 as a player, assistant coach and head coach against Alabama. As head coach of USM, Bower has compiled a 2-8 (.200) record against UA, which includes a forfeit win due to NCAA sanctions in 1993 (Alabama won the game 40-0).
  • Bower's first game as a head coach at Southern Miss was a 37-21 loss to North Carolina State on Dec. 28, 1990 at the All-American Bowl at Birmingham's Legion Field.
  • The Alabama roster contains three players from the state of Mississippi, including redshirt freshman Mike McLaughlin (PK), sophomore Thurman Ward (WR) and junior Cornelius Wortham (SLB).
  • The Southern Miss roster lists 16 players from the state of Alabama, including Michael Boley (Athens), Anthony Harris (Demopolis), Pierre Hutchins (Tuscaloosa), Rayshun Jones (Tuscaloosa), Darris McKenzie (Dothan), Derrick Nix (Attalla), Terrell Paul (Troy), Levon Pears (Mobile), Myron Powe (Camden), Etric Pruitt (Theodore), Jonathan Simmons (Jasper), Mario Taylor (Grand Bay), Don Urquardt (Mobile), Andre White (Theodore), Zac White (Gardendale) and Bradley Worthington (Highland Home).
  • USM tailback Derrick Nix was named Conference USA's Offensive Player of the Week, following his performance last Saturday against Memphis. Nix ran 21 times for 196 yards and two TDs in the 33-14 win.
  • Nix is the first player to win back-to-back C-USA player of the week awards since Tulane's Patrick Ramsey in November, 2000.
  • Alabama notched its 600th all-time football victory with a 28-16 win over the Golden Eagles on Nov. 12, 1983 at Legion Field.
  • The Alabama series is the fourth-longest series in Southern Miss history. The Crimson Tide and Golden Eagles will meet for the 38th time this Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Golden Eagles have played only Memphis (50), Louisiana-Lafayette (47) and Louisiana Tech (42) more often.
  • Southern Miss is the Tide's most frequent non-conference opponent in history. The Crimson Tide has played Tulane 40 times, but the majority of those meetings took place while the Green Wave were members of the SEC.
  • Southern Miss' 21-0 shutout victory over Alabama in 2001 marked the first non-conference shutout against Alabama since Penn State's 9-0 homecoming win in 1990. Prior to that USM game, the last time Alabama had been shutout in a non-conference game at Legion Field was a 7-0 loss to Notre Dame on Nov. 14, 1980.
  • Led by multi-talented quarterback Reggie Collier, Southern Miss upset Alabama 38-29 on Nov. 13, 1982 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The loss snapped Alabama's NCAA record 57-game home winning streak. The game was also the last for legendary coach Paul Bryant at Bryant-Denny Stadium. College football's all-time winningest coach, Bryant announced his retirement following the 1982 season.
  • Former Alabama All-American Allison Pooley Hubert was head coach at Southern Miss (1931-36) and compiled a 26-24-5 (.518) ledger. Hubert quarterbacked the 1925 Alabama to a 2-19 win over California in the 1926 Rose Bowl and the national championship.

Last Year's Game: Alabama 28, USM 15

Legion Field, Birmingham

Alabama overcame three turnovers, but took advantage of three Southern Miss turnovers as the Crimson Tide defeated the Golden Eagles, 28-15, at a rain-soaked Legion Field. Ahmaad Galloway led the Crimson Tide with 126 rushing yards and two touchdowns and Andrew Zow accounted for 137 total yards and threw two TD passes in the win.

The first half saw each team surrender three turnovers, but not able to take advantage of the other team's mistakes as Alabama held a narrow 7-6 lead at halftime. The Crimson Tide managed only 73 total yards in the first half.

But in the second half, it was a different story. The Crimson Tide opened the half with an 11-play, 82-yard drive, capped by Galloway's 40-yard TD run. The extra point attempt was blocked and Rod Davis returned the ball for two points to make the score 13-8. On USM's next possession, the Eagles were forced to punt deep in their own end. But a bad snap forced the punter to push the ball out of the end zone and give UA the safety and a 15-8 lead.

On the ensuing possession, the Crimson Tide drove 45 yards, with Zow completing a 26-yard TD pass to Freddie Milons as UA built a 22-8 lead. Zow's TD pass was the 35th of his UA career, tying Mike Shula for first place on the all-time list.

Southern Miss cut the lead to 22-15 on the final play of the third quarter as Jeff Kelly hooked up with LeRoy Handy for the second time in the game, this time a five-yard TD pass on fourth-and-goal at the UA five-yard. Brent Hanna's extra point cut the UA lead to 22-15 heading into the final quarter.

Galloway's second touchdown of the game (11-yard run) gave Alabama a 28-15 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the game.

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