GMAC Bowl has local flavor

Published 12:41 am Sunday, January 7, 2007

When Southern Mississippi meets Ohio University in the GMAC Bowl Sunday night, the game will have a definite Pearl River County connection.

Three former Pearl River Community College standouts will take the field when the Golden Eagles and Bobcats meet at 7 p.m., at historic Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

The game will be a reunion of sorts for former Wildcat players Josh Barnes and Levance Richmond, who play for USM with Ohio’s Ervin Jackson.

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Barnes, a wide reciever, and Richmond, a defensive back, both have exceled at times for the Golden Eagles over the last two seasons since arriving in Hattiesburg.

Jackson is a former Hanock High Hawk standout who played with Barnes and Richmond on the 2004 PRCC team that won the National Junior College Championship. He is a reserve defensive back for the Bobcats.

Both Richmond and Jackson are redshirt juniors who sat out last season, the first at their respective schools, before returning to action this season.

The 5-11, 200 pound Richmond has played in 11 games, starting nine and recorded three interceptions and recovered two fumbles in addition to making 50 tackles. He returned one of the fumbles for 50 yards and a touchdown against Tulane.

The 6-foot, 196-pound Jackson has seen action in six games, all in a reserve role, and made nine tackles and broken up several passes. He has also seen action on the special teams for the Bobcats.

Jackson was redshirted last season after injuring his knee in preseason drills.

Unlike Richmond and Jackson, Barnes will be playing in his final college game Sunday. The 5-10, 190 pound senior has played in all 25 games for USM since arriving on campus over the past two seasons. This year he has 19 cathes for 208 yards and one score, averaging 11 yards per catch.

The game marks the first bowl game for Ohio in 38 years, while USM has played in the postseason in nine of the last 10 seasons.