Series History Notebook: Louisville & Southern Miss

Saturday night’s matchup in Hattiesburg will be the 30th meeting all-time between Louisville and Southern Mississippi with the Golden Eagles holding an 18-10-1 advantage. The rivalry between the Cardinals and USM dates back to 1949 and ranks as the fourth most-played series in Louisville’s previous 93 seasons of football. The two programs spent 10 years as league rivals from 1996 to 2005 in Conference USA.

In their most recent meeting, quarterback Justin Burke threw a pair touchdown passes and Jeremy Wright scored on a 95-yard kickoff return to help the Cardinals beat their former Conference USA rival 31-28 in the 2010 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl. Burke tossed scoring passes of 11 yards to Cameron Graham and 10 yards to Josh Chichester while Louisville erased a 14-point first-half deficit, then produced a go-ahead 36-yard field goal from Chris Philpott in the fourth quarter.

  • The Cardinals trail 11-3-0 all-time against the Golden Eagles in Hattiesburg.

  • Louisville has won five straight in the series, including the final three matchups as Conference USA foes.

  • During their 10 seasons as league rivals, Louisville and Southern Miss combined to win seven Conference USA titles.

  • Saturday’s game will be the Cardinals’ first visit to M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg since earning a 20-17 win over USM in 2002.

Notable Louisville-Southern Miss Results

  • U of L 25, USM 23 (10/10/2009 – Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium): Ryan Payne kicked a 32-yard field goal with 30 seconds to play to give Louisville a 25-23 win over Southern Mississippi. Scott Long had a career day for the Cardinals with 146 yards receiving on five catches, plus a touchdown. The Cardinals trailed 16-7 at halftime but scored touchdowns, including a 2-point conversion, on their first two possessions of the second half to go ahead 22-16. USM took back the lead 23-22 after a 13-yard touchdown run by Tory Harrison prior to Payne’s game-winning kick.

  • U of L 20, USM 17 – 2OT (11/14/2002 – M.M. Roberts Stadium): Dave Ragone’s passing set up Nate Smith’s go-ahead 27-yard field goal in the second overtime as the Cardinals defeated Southern Miss for the third straight year 20-17. Kurt Jones missed four field-goal attempts for the Golden Eagles, including a 32-yarder in the second overtime that would have forced another period. Ragone was 19-of-37 for 200 yards with two touchdowns.

  • U of L 24, USM 14 (10/16/2001 – Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium): Nathan Smith kicked three field goals and the Cardinals scored 16 points off three Southern Mississippi turnovers in a 24-14 victory. The Eagles were allowing only 10 points per game, while the Cardinals were giving up 16. However, it was Louisville who made more defensive plays when it counted to earn the win in a season that culminated with the program’s second straight Conference USA title and a Liberty Bowl victory over BYU.

  • U of L 49, USM 28 (11/4/2000 – M.M. Roberts Stadium): After five straight losses to Southern Mississippi, Louisville wanted revenge. They got it on that Saturday, stunning the No. 13 Golden Eagles 49-28 in a homecoming game and swiping the Conference USA lead. Dave Ragone completed 25 of 42 passes for 293 yards with two touchdown throws and two touchdown runs against a Southern Mississippi defense that had been ranked second nationally in points allowed per game at 9.8. Louisville followed the USM victory by winning the program’s first ever Conference USA title two weeks later.

  • USM 30, U of L 27 (11/20/1999 – Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium): In a game featuring two of Conference USA’s best quarterbacks (Chris Redman and Jeff Kelly), it was a punter’s arm that decided No. 20 Southern Mississippi’s league-clinching win over Louisville. Facing a 4th-and-5, Jamie Purser dropped back to kick, but instead threw to Shawn Mills for a 26-yard gain to the Louisville 11. A few moments later, Brant Hanna kicked a 27-yard field goal with 1:07 left to give the Golden Eagles a 30-27 victory and clinch USM’s second trip to the Liberty Bowl in three years.

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