Each Monday I'll be writing a weekly opinion column on things I noticed from the past weekend’s slate of games or events. It may be high school, college, or professional sports, but I’ll give you some quick hits to think about.
Petal wins a thriller against Pearl
Fellow photographer and friend Mark Magee said it best Friday night, “if you chose to miss this game, you chose the wrong one.”
I chose the wrong one.
To be fair, I am covering Petal versus Oak Grove this week and that factored into my decision not to go this past week. Petal defeated Pearl 38-37 in overtime behind arguably the best game of DeCarlos Nicholson’s career, and a career-best 21 tackles for senior linebacker Ja’Korian Newsome.
Petal might have established themselves as one of the best teams in the state with their defeat of the Pirates. This is a team that in my opinion is built to go far. They play solid defense and look to establish the run game early. If Nicholson can continue to be efficient they should make a deep run. Oak Grove does stand in the way, though. I can’t wait for Friday night.
Southern Miss special teams play sure is special
Stop me if you have heard this one: Southern Miss had a great special teams play to grab momentum.
It seems week-in and week-out that the Golden Eagles make a play with their special teams unit that cripples their opponent. In the home-opener, Jaylond Adams took the opening kickoff to the house and Southern Miss never looked back. Against Troy, Adams once again shined by taking a 100-yard kickoff return home.
This past Saturday it was not Adams, but Jordan Mitchell blocking a UTEP punt that delivered a gut-punch to the Miners. Head coach Jay Hopson mentioned it in the post-game press conference.
“The punt block on special teams was certainly a big play, so I was pleased with our special teams play.”
Pleased might be an understatement. It should be no secret when Southern Miss plays well on special teams, they have a chance. Moving forward in conference play, they’ll need to keep it up. I feel confident they can.
The year of the backup quarterback
Yesterday eight different quarterbacks played in place of the season-opening starters for NFL teams. Mason Rudolph will play tonight for Pittsburgh to bring the total to nine, and the Jets who were on a bye week have used two backups since Sam Darnold has been sidelined. That number goes up if you count Jacoby Brissett who was nowhere near the starter until Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement a week before the regular season. Some backups have looked like they could be the future for their franchise, while others are simply stop-gap solutions till the starter returns.
As a friend said this morning when chatting about the issue, “isn’t it ironic that for every year they make a new rule protecting quarterbacks we seem to lose more of them to injury?”
He has a point. It seems that each year a new rule is made to protect the most exciting position in football. However, a third of the league’s finest are sidelined for the season or extended weeks.
I tend to enjoy the NFL more than college simply because there seems to be more parity because of the salary cap in place. It does make it harder to watch though when you have two backup quarterbacks playing that obviously are not the future of the franchise.
I say all that to say, NFL fans miss you Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and Ben Roethlisberger. Nick Foles, we love you too, but let us have some more of “Minshew Magic.”