USM hits the road to Texas for C-USA battle

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Nov. 7, 2003
HATTIESBURG The University of Southern Mississippi football team will leave the nest for the first time since Oct. 11 this weekend.
The Eagles (5-3, 4-0 Conference USA) travel to Texas as they begin the stretch run of the season against four consecutive conference opponents to close the season.
USM suits up against the Houston Cougars (5-3, 2-2 C-USA) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Robertson Stadium.
USM has had only moderate success on the road this year, posting a 2-2 record away from M.M. Roberts Stadium. Both of the Eagles road wins this year have come against C-USA opponents, defeating the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Cincinnati.
The Cougars have posted a 2-2 mark at home, and they are turning heads with a high-powered offense that has averaged 31.9 points per game.
The Eagles have had a recent surge in their offensive production in the last two games, after struggling to move down the field at the start of the season.
USM tallied 337 yards against South Florida on Oct. 25, and the team notched a season-high 550 yards against Louisiana-Lafayette last week.
Sophomore quarterback Dustin Almond has passed for 362 yards as the team's starter the last two games, and sophomore Anthony Harris has amassed 232 yards on the ground since taking over the starting running back role two weeks ago.
The Cougars have a strong quarterback-running back combo of their own to throw against the Eagles.
Freshman signal caller Kevin Kolb has thrown for 1,920 yards with 17 touchdowns this season.
But don't think Houston keeps the ball in the air throughout a game.
The Cougars are averaging 436.6 yards per game this season, and the offense has amassed 1,945 passing yards and 1,548 rushing yards this year.
Houston also uses a variety of formations throughout a game to keep defenders on their toes.
While the Cougars offense is producing big numbers, the teams defense has been less than stellar.
Houston is giving up an average of 34.4 points and 411.9 yards per game.
USM will look to add players to the list that have made big plays against Houston when the two teams meet Saturday.