Golden Eagles look to soar to title again
By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Nov. 20, 2003
HATTIESBURG As great as it has been to receive personal accolades over the years for University of Southern Mississippi linebacker Rod Davis, the Gulfport native has not been shy about telling people what he truly desires.
That number will jump to one when the Golden Eagles (7-3, 6-0 Conference USA) clash with the undefeated TCU Horned Frogs (10-0, 7-0 C-USA) today at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
Though the two squads with perfect conference records will have one more game following the ESPN broadcasted contest, the midweek match up will guarantee the winner at least a share of the C-USA title.
The "it" Brooks is referring to is the C-USA title, which USM has not held since winning its third in four years in 1999, but TCU has not received a bigger "it" during its best run since 1938 respect.
The Horned Frogs, who are ranked 10th in the Associated Press poll entering the game, will be 2 1/2-point underdogs when they enter "The Rock" to take on the Eagles.
Despite being on the brink of crashing the BCS system, TCU is not favored against the Eagles, who have lost their only other meeting against a ranked opponent on Sept. 25 against then-No. 11 Nebraska.
But being an underdog is nothing new to the Horned Frogs.
USM head coach Jeff Bower certainly doesn't see TCU as an underdog entering the pivotal conference game.
The Horned Frogs have defeated the Eagles twice since TCU enter the C-USA two years ago. TCU handed USM a 14-12 loss at Roberts Stadium in 2001, and today's visitors pummeled Bower's squad 37-7 in last season's nationally televised game.
One of the main things USM will need to do to defeated TCU is crack the Horned Frogs' impressive run defense.
TCU has allowed a league low 92.8 yards on the ground, and it is ranked second in the league in scoring defense.
USM is no slouch in the defense department itself.
The Eagles lead the league in scoring defense and pass defense. They are also ranked fourth in total defense.
USM will have to be on its toes against TCU, which is averaging 205.8 yards on the ground and 222.7 passing yards a game this season.
But no matter how you crunch the numbers, Davis may have summed up today's game best.