USM earns Bowl bid

Published 1:55 am Thursday, December 2, 2010


Item Sports Editor

HATTIESBURG — In a couple of weeks, Southern Mississippi offensive lineman James Brady will be a part of his third straight bowl game.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

And this time, the former Picayune standout plans on getting in on the action.

On Tuesday, USM accepted an invitation to play in the third annual Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 21.

“It is a great area with great weather and we have the opportunity to play a quality opponent from the Big East,” Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora said. “We are thrilled about being able to play another game.”

The Golden Eagles will face an opponent from the Big East conference game at Tropicana Field, which is home to Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays. The game will be  broadcast by ESPN.

Speculation has USM facing one of a trio of Big East teams, including Louisville, South Florida or Connecticut.

The game will be the ninth consecutive bowl appearance for the Golden Eagles and 13th in the past 14 years.

Brady, a redshirt junior reserve offensive lineman, has seen action in seven of the last eight games for the Golden Eagles. He hasn’t played in the last two bowl games, which saw the Golden Eagles in the New Orleans Bowl for consecutive seasons.

The Eagles last appeared in a bowl game in Florida in 1981, when they played Missouri in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando.

Southern Miss has an 8-4 record and finished 5-3 in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles lost their three conference games by a combined eight points.

“Fans are going to see a tradition-rich Southern Miss program that can stack up the yards and light up the scoreboard,” bowl executive director Brett Dulaney said in a news release. “Coach Larry  Fedora and his staff have their team on a roll with at least 40 points in seven of their final eight games. Regardless of who the Golden Eagles face from the BIG EAST, the matchup promises to have fans on the edge of their seats.”

Behind standout quarterback Austin Davis, USM ranks 15th in the nation in total offense with 458 yards per game, and the Golden Eagles average 37.6 points. In addition to scoring at least 40 in seven of the final eight games, Southern Miss put at least 50 points on the board in each of its final two games.

Said Southern Miss Director of Athletics Richard Giannini: “Our Southern Miss football program is elated for the opportunity to play in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg. It is a tremendous destination for our fans and our football players are excited about playing a Big East opponent. We understand from other Conference USA teams that have played in this game that the bowl treats you tremendously and it is a  wonderful experience for the student-athletes and fans.”

Southern Miss has also had to deal with tragedy this season. Three players — linebackers Martez Smith and Tim Green, and defensive lineman Deddrick Jones — were shot in the parking lot of a Hattiesburg nightclub on Nov. 14. All three survived and are out of the hospital, but Smith is paralyzed from the waist down and Green and Jones are still recovering from their injuries