Southern Miss opens season with win over Alcorn State
The Southern Miss football team appeared to lose its top running back for a significant amount of time when sophomore Trivenskey Mosley went down with an injury early during Saturday’s 38-10 win over Alcorn State in Hattiesburg.
Mosley had to be helped off the field after suffering an injury to his right leg. He stood on crutches on the sideline at the end of the game.
USM head coach Jay Hopson has declined to comment on the extent of Mosley’s injury, but it appears unlikely that he’ll be ready to go for Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. contest at Mississippi State.
While Hopson and staff are confident they have other options to roll with if Mosley is out, they’ll have a difficult time replacing his versatility.
“The tough part with Mosley being out is he’s the most complete back,” USM offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner said. “Hopefully we’ll get him back sooner than later. We’ve just got to find that right mix. In third down situations, Mosley was the guy.”
Redshirt freshman Jordan Kempf is Mosley’s backup in the third-down role and he had three carries for 20 yards against Alcorn.
Redshirt sophomore Steven Anderson topped Monday’s depth chart at running back, but freshman Dee Baker and junior Kevin Perkins will also likely see time at MSU. Baker led USM in rushing Saturday with eight carries for 35 yards.
Perkins, a transfer from Northwest Mississippi Community College, and Baker are still getting a feel for football on the FBS level.
“You could see Saturday that (Baker) can be explosive,” Faulkner said. “He’s got to protect the ball for us. Right now, he’s a ball carrier for us. He’s got to be more than that. He’s got to learn his protections and he’ll have to catch the ball out of the backfield.”
Redshirt sophomore Darius Maberry would also be in the mix at running back, but he has battled injuries since hurting his knee at the end of the 2017 campaign.
“He hasn’t been healthy a lot,” Hopson said. “In fall camp, Darius would be out 3-4 days and then he’d be back. He can run, he can play. Hopefully, we’ll get him up going and healthy. I think he’s a capable back.”
Picking up honors
USM redshirt sophomore Jaylond Adams was named the Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week after returning the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown and taking a punt back 80 yards for a TD in the fourth quarter.
Adams put on an impressive display of speed on both runs, easily speeding past the Alcorn State coverage units.
Hopson was asked Monday if Adams is the fastest player on the team and he said he’d put the receiver in a group with three other players who deserve that label — Baker, redshirt junior receiver Quez Watkins and senior receiver De’Michael Harris.
“There’s about four guys I could line up on the line and Jaylond would be in that mix,” he said. “It’d be an interesting race to watch.”
Redshirt senior receiver Jordan Mitchell believes it’s between Adams and Watkins.
“I think you saw that Saturday. (Adams is) pretty dang fast,” he said. “He’s definitely up there. Him and Quez, they’re the top two by far.”
Respect the opponent
Southern Miss will face one of the best running backs it will see all season in Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill, a 5-foot-11, 215-pound junior from Columbus.
In MSU’s 38-28 win over Louisiana-Lafayette in New Orleans last week, Hill ran 27 times for 197 yards and a touchdown.
USM senior defensive tackle Demarrio Smith has been impressed by what he has seen out of Hill.
“He’s a real good running back,” Smith said. “I saw a video and he’s squatting what I’m squatting. That’s impressive right there. We have a teammate (Tahj Sykes) who played with him in high school and he always talks about how good of a player he is. He’s a game changer. He’s one of those players who can win a game for you.”
Smith’s max squat is 570 and Hill checked in at 600 this summer.