MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2007 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Hewes, King, Morgan, Gollott, Robertson, Moffatt, Lee (47th), Albritton, Nunnelee, Cuevas, Dawkins, Walley, Burton, Butler, Carmichael, Clarke, Fillingane, Frazier, Gordon, Harden, Hyde-Smith, Jackson (11th), Jackson (32nd), Lee (35th), Walls

Senate Concurrent Resolution 577

(As Adopted by Senate and House)

A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION COMMENDING AND CONGRATULATING THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI "GOLDEN EAGLES" FOOTBALL TEAM AND HEAD COACH JEFF BOWER FOR WINNING THE 2007 GMAC BOWL IN MOBILE, ALABAMA, FOR THEIR OUTSTANDING 2006 REGULAR SEASON AND FOR THEIR CONSISTENT POST-SEASON RECORD.

WHEREAS, the USM Golden Eagles Football Team gave a good tutorial on how to make a halftime lead hold up in a 28-7 victory over the Ohio University Bobcats on Sunday, January 7, 2007, in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama; and

WHEREAS, with big plays, a marathon drive and a smothering defense, Southern Miss gave Ohio a tough lesson on a post-season play. After a scoreless first quarter, Southern Miss (9-5) scored 21 second quarter points then surged out of halftime with a season-long 17-play touchdown drive that effectively ended any come back threat; and

WHEREAS, Southern Miss is accustomed to post-season play, making its fifth consecutive bowl appearance and ninth in 10 years; and

WHEREAS, post game notes on the Golden Eagles GMAC victory are as follows:

With the GMAC victory, the Golden Eagles finished the 2006 season with a 9-5 record. It was the first nine-win season for the Golden Eagles since the 2003 campaign when they went to the Liberty Bowl, and fourth of Coach Jeff Bower's 16-year tenure;

Defeating Ohio University, Southern Miss is the only Conference USA to finish the season with a bowl victory;

This is the second time the Golden Eagles have played in the GMAC Bowl, defeating No. 13 Texas Christian University, 28-21 on December 20, 2000. Southern Miss is the only C-USA team to garner a victory in this bowl;

James Denley's score marked the 7th nonoffensive touchdown of the season and the 4th interception for a touchdown this season. The seven nonoffensive touchdowns this season is the most recorded under Coach Jeff Bower. The previous high was six, which was recorded in 2000 and 2003;

The Southern Miss Captains were No. 70 George Batiste, No. 35 Conrad Chanove, No. 55 Travis Cooley, No. 21 Jasper Faulk, No. 48 Jonathan Palmer and No. 6 Brandon Sumrall;

The Golden Eagles recorded their longest drive of the season (9:55) and the most plays in a drive (17 plays) throughout the season with their final touchdown, a 9-yard Damion Fletcher rush, with 5:05 left in the third quarter;

Senior Offensive Lineman George Batiste made his 49th consecutive career start and the offensive line was combined for 145 collective starting assignments;

The GMAC contest marked Coach Jeff Bower's 10th bowl game in his career at Southern Miss, including six bowl wins;

The game was the Golden Eagles' 17th bowl appearance in school history, including eight bowl victories;

Southern Miss has made five straight bowl appearances, making them one of 20 schools to accomplish that feat;

The Golden Eagles are one of 15 schools who have played in bowl games in nine of the last ten years;

With the GMAC game against Ohio University, the Golden Eagles recorded their first 14-game season in school history;

The contest also marked the first time Southern Miss has played in January since 1958. The Golden Eagles have played in January four times -- the 1953 Sun Bowl, the 1954 Sun Bowl, the 1957 Tangerine Bowl and the 1958 Tangerine Bowl;

Since 1958, the latest in the season the Golden Eagles have played is December 31 when they played in the Liberty Bowl in 1997, 1999 and 2003; and

WHEREAS, Southern Miss true Freshman Running Back Damion Fletcher and redshirt Freshman Linebacker Gerald McRath were named to the Scripps Freshman All-American Team as selected by the Football Writers of America. This marks the sixth year that Scripps and FWAA has named a Freshman All-American Team. McRath, a third-team All-Conference USA selection and All-Freshman team member as well as a first-team The Sporting News Freshman All-American, led the Golden Eagles in tackles with 104 tackles, including 59 solo stops, two sacks, 11 tackles for loss, one pass breakup and two forced fumbles. Fletcher, named a second-team Freshman All-American by The Sporting News, reivals.com and scout.com, was named to the All-Conference USA first team, the All-Conference USA Freshman team and was a finalist for the Conerly Trophy, signifying the best player in the State of Mississippi. He was named the GMAC Bowl Most Valuable Player after finishing with 20 carries for 58 yards and scored two touchdowns. He also had three catches for 28 yards; and

WHEREAS, it is with great pride that we recognize this group of student athletes whose consistent postseason play has brought honor to their university, their community and to the State of Mississippi:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend and congratulate the University of Southern Mississippi "Golden Eagles" Football Team and Head Coach Jeff Bower for winning the 2007 GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, for their outstanding 2006 Regular Season and for their consistent post-season record.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Coach Bower and USM President Shelby Thames and be forwarded to the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.