Adversity hits USM's Almond

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Nov. 18, 2003
HATTIESBURG Dustin Almond received terrible news following the University of Southern Mississippi's 28-14 win over Tulane last Saturday.
The sophomore quarterback was informed after the victory, that set up a showdown with the Conference USA championship on the line against TCU on Thursday, that his grandfather, Milton Almond of Bossier City, La., suffered a heart attack the morning of the contest against the Green Wave.
Almond skipped talking about his 231-yard performance, in which he connected on 11-of-16 attempts, to deal with issues far more important than football after the game.
But the signal caller, who has thrown for 830 yards and nine touchdowns since being named the team's starter on Oct. 25, will not be skipping the Eagles nationally televised game against the undefeated Horned Frogs.
USM will need the services of Almond to get past a TCU defensive squad that has held opponents to 358.5 yards and 18.9 points per game this season.
Since Almond took over the starting quarterback role, the Eagles have averaged 416.8 yards and 20 points per game, after only averaging 279.7 yards and 13.5 points in the their first six games.
The offense has also been bolstered by the running of Anthony Harris and Sherron Moore. Harris has rushed for 426 yards on 76 carries since moving to running back from fullback on Oct. 25, and Moore has chipped in 185 yards in that span.
USM will need that confidence when it lines up against TCU.
The Horned Frogs will come to M.M. Roberts Stadium ranked 10th in the country and looking to earn a spot in a lucrative BCS bowl game.
Plus with both teams undefeated in C-USA play entering the contest, the game will most likely decide which program will capture the conference title.
The Eagles and the Horned Frogs will enter the midweek match up that will be aired by ESPN at 6:30 p.m. in a slightly unfavorable condition.
Because of the national television exposure, the squads have a short week of practice leading up to the pivotal conference match up.
Bower said the situation isn't perfect, but his team will be ready for Horned Frogs when they come to Roberts Stadium.