HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The spring campaign came to a close for the Southern Miss football team on a balmy Saturday afternoon in M.M. Roberts Stadium, where the Gold squad jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead and held on for the 20-15 victory.
There were a couple of touchdowns in the air, including a 58-yard catch-and-run from Marcelo Rodriguez to Antawyn Fludd. Carter Hankins also entered the game in the second half and tossed a touchdown on his second attempt of the day, a 16-yarder to Quez Watkins on the heels of a 45-yard strike to Jaylond Adams.
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Adams, who had a highly-impressive 27.4 YPC average as a freshman last season, continued that on Saturday with two grabs for 73 yards. Fludd finished with three catches for 77 yards, and Watkins added five for 56 with the touchdown.
Keon Howard led the way through the air, completing 10 of his 15 passes for 124 yards. Jack Abraham was 10-for-16 for 103. On the ground, Steven Anderson showcased his power running abilities with six carries for 29 yards, recording a one-yard touchdown run as well. Tez Parks carried defenders with him on two fourth-quarter runs, ending with five carries for 29 yards. Howard ended with six attempts for a game-high 47 yards.
Defensively, LaMarque Davis had an interception while Allen Fails and Ty Williams each recorded fumbles. There were no kickoffs or punt coverages, but Parker Shaunfield connected on a 26- and 35-yard field goal.
Southern Miss is home for the first two weeks of the 2018 season when it hosts Jackson State (Sept. 1) and ULM (Sept. 8). Season tickets are available by visiting SouthernMissTickets.com, calling 1-800-844-TICK, or stopping by the Pat Ferlise Center during normal business hours.
Head coach Jay Hopson
On his overall thoughts of the day:
I think it was fun. It was a good game. I felt like there was a lot of competition. It looked like it could have been a runaway at first with the Gold team jumping out quick and the Black making a run later, but I thought for the most part we tackled well and played physical football. We also had some explosive plays from our wideouts and quarterbacks, so all in all I thought we had a good day today."
On the running backs:
"Steven Anderson ran hard and George Payne had some good runs. Tez Parks really did well in the fourth quarter. Steven can be a great football player here. He's physical and gets better every day. He's just learning the running back position and he is a natural athlete. The sky's the limit for Steven."
On newcomer wide receiver De'Michael Harris:
"De'Michael has had a great spring. The thing I like about him is that he come to work every day. It's always 100 percent effort and he has all the dimensions. He's fast and physical. He will be a great football player here."
On his biggest takeaway of the spring season:
"I felt we got most of everything in that we wanted to get in, schematically, and that's a plus. You just want to go into August with everything installed. I felt like we've created some good competition at some critical spots. It'll be fun to watch these guys go through it in August."
Sophomore defensive back Tyler Barnes
On how the Gold defense played:
“I thought we started off excited, high motored. We were flying around the first half, making plays and communicating real well, but in the second half we should’ve kept that same energy. As a unit though I felt like we did a good job communicating.”
On how the defense played this spring:
“Everyone was excited to get out here and get like a game experience, so everyone was flying around excited.”
On what he showed this spring and where he made the most progress:
“I feel like I made the most progress learning the playbook more, because I played a different position last year. Being louder too, being more vocal and talking to my other peers on the defense. Mainly just showing a safety attitude. We transferred from nickel and people don’t think people can do that that well, but I feel like I learned the playbook really well.
Senior running back Tez Parks
On what is was like out there at the end of the game:
“Black started coming back so everyone was like. ‘It’s time and we gotta go put this game away.’ Before I went out there Coach Dawson said, ‘Make a play. Don’t let them get the ball back. Let’s just score.’ So I’ve got a mentality to rundown hill and not let one man tackle me so I can try and win a ball game for my team and that’s what I went in and did.”
On being an all-purpose back:
“This year I like to go work on my routes and get out there with the receivers. I work on every position. The other day I was working on tight end. I still work on being a running back, but I go to offensive line and work with them. See what they need. I’m just trying to be everywhere this year so if the line doesn’t know a call on the field and the quarterback messes up, I’m right there for them. I’m like another coach on the field.”
Junior quarterback Keon Howard
On coming out today with a lot of energy:
“Coming into the spring game, us against our own, you gotta bring some energy to the sideline and on the field. Today was just a good day to come out here and make sure everyone has the same positive energy and make sure we push each other and build each other up going forward.”
On his performance today:
“I can always get better at something. My pocket presence, my check down, my read, I can always get better at something. I missed some reads today and didn’t do as much as I should do so I’ve got something to watch when we go back over the game and look at what I can improve on throughout the season.”
On what he has improved on the most this spring:
“A lot on my footwork, just the fundamental, my base. Understanding what I got to do. Understanding my timing and getting my down with the wide receivers, that’s something I’ve been working on all spring.”
Keon Howard: 10-15, 124 yards
Jack Abraham: 10-for-16, 103 yards, INT
Marcelo Rodriguez: 3-for-4, 69 yards, TD
Carter Hankins: 3-for-3, 71 yards, TD
Keon Howard: 6-47
T'Rod Daniels: 6-39, TD (2 yards out)
Tez Parks: 5-29
George Payne: 9-20
Steven Anderson: 6-29 yards, TD (1 yard out)
De'Michael Harris: 2-12
Quez Watkins: 2-12
Antawyn Fludd: 3-77, TD (58 yards from Marcelo)
Jaylond Adams: 2-73
Quez Watkins: 5-56, TD (16 yards from Hankins)
Jay'Shawn Washington: 6-49
De'Michael Harris: 3-37
Tez Parks: 3-35
George Payne: 1-27
Barrett Barham: 3-17
Trevor Terry: 1-11
De'Saveon Patrick: 1-(-2)
Steven Anderson: 1-(-3)
Shaunfield: FG from 26 and 35, miss from 37
LaMarque Davis interception of Abraham
Allen Fails fumble recovery
Ty Williams fumble recovery