Boise State will wrap up their non-conference schedule this Saturday when they head to Hattiesburg, Mississsippi to take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. The Broncos are coming off an impressive 38-3 win at Bronco Stadium against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs while the Golden Eagles are reeling from two straight home losses (Marshall and UTEP). Most fans, like me, know little about Southern Miss outside of Brett Favre. Needless to say, there is a lot to be learned about this week's foe (don't worry, Kellen Moore already knows their defense intimately)...so let's explore through the magic of factoids and childish jokes. For the mutual benefit of the Golden Eagle faithful, I will let you get to know us a little bit too...so take notes.
Ten things Bronco fans might not know about Southern Miss
10. Southern Miss' first mascot was the Tiger, but they were also called the "Normalites" since the University of Southern Mississippi was originally called Mississippi Normal College. Three things to look out for in a cave: Stalagtites, Stalagmites and Normalites (they bite).
9. The current Southern Miss mascot's name is Seymour d'Campus. He was preceded by Seymour d'Freshmanquadresidencehalls.
8. Singer/Songwriter Jimmy Buffett is a USM alum. Some say his lost shaker of salt is in the Student Union lost and found.
7. The Golden Eagles play their home football games at M.M. Roberts stadium (capacity 36,000) which is nicknamed "the Rock". Sadly, the Rock, who played football at Miami...never got to play at the Rock.
6. Southern Miss has been playing football since 1912 and have an all-time winning percentage of 58%. They have been nationally ranked 3 times in their history and have won 10 conference championships along with national championships in 1958 and 1962. Their coach during their national championship years? A hall of famer named "pie"
5. USM's early Student Handbooks (and current alumni publication) were known as The Drawl. Southern stereotypes be damned!
4. Some claim that Hattiesburg, Mississippi is the birthplace of rock and roll since 1936 recordings in Hattiesburg by Blind Roosevelt Graves and his Mississippi Jook Band "featured fully formed rock & roll guitar riffs and a stomping rock & roll beat". The "rock band" consisted of a guitar, piano, tamborine and kazoo—that must've been some crazy moshpit.
3. 7 Southern Miss alums currently play in the NFL, most notably Brett Favre of the New York Jets. Least notably? Chris White, who plays Center for the Houston Texans.
2. Southern Miss runningback Damion Fletcher won the Conerly trophy in 2007. The Conerly trophy is "awarded to the best college football player in the state of Mississippi"—Wow...with criteria like that how could he lose?
1. Southern Miss is a combined 5-0 against the Mobile (AL) Shipbuilders, the Parris Island (SC) Marines, the Seashore (MS) Campground, and the Hattiesburg (MS) Boy Scouts. Rumor has it that they played a band of hobos sometime in the 1920s as well, but no records were kept.
Ten things Southern Miss fans might not know about Boise State
10. Boise State has an all-time win percentage hovering right around 70%. They have won 13 conference titles and 2 national championships (JC and 1-AA) and are the only non-BCS team to have been ranked in either national poll, at least at some point, over the last 7 seasons. The entire 2006 squad was encased in carbonite and are housed in Boise State's Allen Noble Hall of Fame.
9. Boise State's famous Blue turf was first installed in 1986. This was the biggest thing to happen in 1986, until Police Academy 3 came out.
8. To this date, the only number that the Broncos have retired is #12. It was worn by quarterback Jim McMillan, an NFL draftee and record holder for most touchdowns in a single game (6, against Montana in 1974). I wasn't alive when McMillan was assaulting Big Sky defenses, but I imagine he had a mustache.
7. Annually, Boise State generates $330 million in economic impact on the state in jobs, earnings and sales. Oh...and lots of useless Boise State merchandise.
6. Boise State University started out as Boise Junior College in 1932. Prior to becoming BJC, it was a school for girls called St. Margaret's. No "school for girls" jokes will be tolerated.
5. The Bronco mascot was chosen during BJC’s first year because students wanted something that reflected Boise’s western location, and because so many wild horses roamed the nearby Owyhee Canyonlands. Horses are known to stomp eagles to death on the range...particularly those of the golden variety...I think.
4. Boise State star runningback Ian Johnson (pay no attention to this year's stats) once ran a small business knitting beanies for anyone who wanted them. The NCAA shut down his semi-lucrative business after an ESPN story about his "hobby" hit the airwaves.
3. Lyle Smith, whom Boise State's field is named after coached the Broncos football team for 20 years and compiled a record of 156-26-8 (82%). Smith won a national championship in 1958 (a good year all around, apparently) and went undefeated 5 times. Take that, "Pie"!
2. It is illegal to fish with a beaver in Boise, Idaho. Thankfully, it is also illegal to point out obvious childish innuendo.
1. Boise State's Freshman phenom, Kellen Moore, is currently 6th in the nation in pass efficiency and 1st in the nation in awesomeness. You can't make that stuff up, folks.