Harris, Abraham propel Southern Miss to victory

Published 11:58 pm Saturday, October 12, 2019

HATTIESBURG (AP) — Unlike a year ago, when Southern Miss couldn’t seem to finish off a drive at North Texas, the Golden Eagles celebrated their 2019 homecoming by scoring and scoring and scoring.

Jack Abraham threw for 421 yards with three touchdowns, and his favorite target Quez Watkins, caught eight passes for 198 yards and a score as Southern Miss defeated North Texas 45-27 on Saturday night.

The win moved Southern Miss (4-2, 2-0 Conference USA) into a tie with Louisiana Tech for first place in Conference USA’s West Division. Those teams play next Saturday in Ruston, La.

“This is one of those weeks as a football coach where you’re proud of your entire football team,” Southern Miss coach Jay Hopson said. “It makes waking up in the morning on my birthday a much better experience. It’s the middle of the season so we’re not going to get too high off of winning the game. Even though it was a big game, we have plenty more big games coming up in the next stretch. Next week is no exception and we have to be ready to play.”

Former St. Aloysius star De’Michael Harris ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns to go with 79 yards receiving and another touchdown. The three touchdowns were a career high, as was his rushing yardage.

The Golden Eagles had 563 total yards.

“It was fun. We are not selfish at all so it really does not matter who has the ball. We feel like whoever touches the ball can make a play and take it for six,” Harris said.

After a wild first half in which the quarterbacks passed for more than 400 yards and Southern Miss led 28-20, the Golden Eagles (4-2, 2-0 Conference USA) scored another 17 points and held North Texas (2-4, 1-1) to 114 yards of offense in the second half.

Abraham and Watkins connected on a 72-yard non-scoring pass play late in the third quarter. After two penalties and a 1-yard rushing loss, the pair connected for a 14-yard touchdown for a 38-20 lead with 2:53 remaining in the third.

Harris added a 13-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to go with his first-quarter scores of a 60-yard run and a 59-yard pass from Abraham.

“His speed is certainly somethings that kills,” Hopson said of Harris. “I knew he had it in is blood because I knew his uncles. Like I told you last week, his Uncle Reggie was the terror of the little league in Vicksburg a long time ago. Southern Miss is in his blood. He’s a young man that is extremely talented. He can do a lot of things.”

Mean Green quarterback Mason Fine completed just 11 of 25 passes for 217 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception. All three touchdowns went to Jaelon Darden, who had five receptions for 87 yards.

Fine appeared to have hurt his left shoulder when he was sacked the previous series by USM end Terry Whittington. Three downs later, Fine was on the turf after being sacked by Whittington and linebacker Darius Kennedy before being helped up and guided to the sideline.

Jason Bean replaced Fine, and led North Texas to a late score, but threw for just 39 yards and a touchdown with an interception.

“When you play great quarterbacks and great receivers they are going to make some plays,” Hopson said. “That was the thing with North Texas. I thought we covered them really well tonight. I’ve watched (Mason Fine) do it for four years against everybody he plays.”