Costly mistakes fuel USM's loss to Alabama
By By Stan Caldwell / EMG sports writer
Sept. 22, 2002
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. The University of Southern Mississippi knew coming in to Saturday night's game against Alabama that there were a number of things they could not do.
The Golden Eagles needed to take care of the football, have a good night rushing the ball and prevent the Crimson Tide from running the ball successfully.
Unfortunately, USM didn't do any of those things and the result was a 20-7 loss before a sellout crowd of 83,818 at Bryant-Denny stadium.
The final statistics tell a pretty ugly story for USM, which dropped to 3-1 for the season. The Golden Eagles fumbled the ball seven times and lost 4 of them, had passed picked off, had 9 penalties and gave up a whopping 351 yards on the ground to the Crimson Tide.
The Eagles got an indication of how their was going to go on the first series of the game. On their first play from scrimmage, Derrick Nix was stuffed for a two yard loss, then lost a fumble on USM's next possession.
With Alabama focussing on Nix, USM needed QB Micky D'Angelo to step up but the redshirt sophomore showed his inexperience against the Tide. D'Ang completed just 8 of 27 passes for 110 yards and was sacked 3 times.
The Crimson Tide were particularly effective running the ball on first down. In the first half, Alabama average 8.2 yards a gain when it ran the ball on first down.
And, in fact, the defense did significantly better in the second half, twice giving offense the ball on Bama's side of the field in the third quarter.
Still, USM was in the game for much of the second half thanks to a gift touchdown that Crimson Tide QB Brodie Croyle served up for Boley.
Croyle was scrambling to his right on a third down play near midfield, when he tried a short pass that his Boley squarely in the chest. Boley gathered in the pass and dashed 53 yards for a touchdown that made it 14-7 with 27 seconds left in the third period.