HATTIESBURG — Southern Miss celebrates the opening of its 103rd football season this Saturday when they entertain Alcorn State in a 6 p.m., contest at Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
Under its original name as Mississippi Normal College, the school defeated the Hattiesburg Boy Scouts in the first-ever varsity game in 1912.
Since that October day, the Golden Eagle program has gone on to enjoy great success. While not having fielded teams in 1917-18 during the war to end all wars and then again from 1943-45 for the second world war, Southern Miss enjoys 71 winning seasons, been to 25 bowl games and won two small college national championships, coming in 1958 and 1962.
The anticipation of another resume building season for the program continues to build as Jay Hopson, the school’s 21st head coach, embarks on his fourth season. Under Hopson, the Golden Eagles have experienced three winning seasons and a pair of bowl games.
Hopson holds a 2-1 record during opening games which includes a 44-35 victory at Kentucky in his initial game in 2016, giving the school its first SEC victory for the Golden Eagles since 2000. After dropping a tough decision to Kentucky at home the following year, Southern Miss defeated Jackson State 55-7 last season.
Overall, Southern Miss has posted a 65-36 record in season openers dating back to that Hattiesburg Boy Scouts victory. The Golden Eagles opened the 1916 season against Poplarville High School on Oct. 7, but no score was reported for that day.
In home contests when the season opens in Hattiesburg, Southern Miss holds a 43-8 overall mark. This will be the fourth time in the last five seasons that the program has opened at home.