Southern Miss bowls perfect 300 in 38-24 win in Lending Tree Bowl

They say records are made to be broken and Southern Miss running back Frank Gore Jr. would have to agree, breaking or tying six USM bowl records and then some en route to the program’s first bowl game win since 2016.

Southern Miss faced off against Rice in the Lending Tree Bowl at South Alabama’s Hancock Whitney Stadium. The Black and Gold faithful were more than happy to make the trip down Highway 98 on a cold Mobile night.

Golden Eagles seizing their golden opportunity, putting USM football back on the map with a 38-24 win over the Owls, just what this program needed in its first bowl game in three years.

If there was a single-game rushing record before this one, well, chances are Frank Gore Jr. probably broke it, 329 yards on the ground, the most in an NCAA Bowl Game ever and a new Southern Miss program record, their first bowl game win since 2016.

It’s been a long road back to the top and even though the Golden Eagles aren’t quite there yet, they are well on their way.

Offensive lineman Paul Gainer Jr. said, “Man, it means a lot. We worked so hard this whole season. All the ups and downs. Hey! Hey! All the ups and downs! This is what we worked hard for! This is a dream come true! This is what we worked hard for! We deserve it. And so, we want to say thank you, and we’re bringing another one back next year, too. Believe me.”

Linebacker T.Q. Newsome said, “Man, I’m honored. I’m blessed. This is an amazing opportunity. It’s great for our program, for the fans and we’re trending in the right direction. I’m so happy for this program.”

Head Coach Will Hall say, “Everybody that won that bowl game tonight either stayed in spite of probably some of the most – some of the hardest circumstances that’s ever been created in college football, or they signed and came here in spite of it. He’s really learned how to handle the responsibility of being Frank Gore, Jr., and he’s embraced that. And he’s really embraced the whole deal of to who much is given, much is required. These kids will tell you he brings it every day. He has an infectious smile. It’s almost like a Magic Johnson type smile, man. Like, he just lifts others up. He’s always intense and competitive, and I’m just really proud that he was able to have a performance like this on a national stage.”

Gore Jr. said, “I feel like I’m more proud of my teammates. We’ve been through a lot, and to be honest, who knew that we would be here? We fought the last week of the year to get to six wins so we could be here, and once we were here, I told myself, I can’t let them down. I had to win this for them.”

Linebacker Daylen Gill said, “It means a lot to me. I can say, this is my first championship I really won by me playing, like for real. I’m thankful, though. I’m thankful to be here, for real.”

Wide receiver Jason Brownlee said, “Number one. Number one, baby. Ain’t no better feeling than going out with a win, going out with a bowl game with my guys, and seeing my brothers succeed out there on that field.”

Southern Miss finishes the 2022 season with an overall record of 7-6.

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