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News Nuggets, 09.25.03

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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Hattiesburg greets Husker Nation with open cash registers


09.24.03: Relaunch of Pirates' jayvee football program a winner... .. USM's Davis online today for ESPN Chat Show... .. Frogs coach suspended following arrest ... .. Another parking infraction keeps FSU quarterback in hot water... .. More...
09.23.03: College football weekend: The good, the bad and the ugly... .. C-USA executives meet face-to-face instead of by phone... .. Fox-ESPN rights conflict nixes TCU-Arizona TV... .. Horned Frogs cruise upward in weekly rankings... .. AP and USA Today/ESPN Polls... .. More...
09.22.03: College football weekend: The good, the bad and the ugly... .. C-USA executives meet face-to-face instead of by phone... .. Fox-ESPN rights conflict nixes TCU-Arizona TV... .. Horned Frogs cruise upward in weekly rankings... .. AP and USA Today/ESPN Polls... .. More...
09.21.03: USM sells cut-rate tickets for matchup with Huskers... .. TCU names football field for Texas oil baron... .. Athlon picks 49ers No. 2 in C-USA hoops behind Cincinnati... .. More...
09.20.03: Conference call raises questions about league's future... .. Gunn understudy takes center stage for Horned Frogs... .. Rejuvenated Duke aspires to keep streaking... .. College football Saturday TV capsules... .. More...
09.19.03: Hokie masses defy Isabel to watch Tech blow down Aggies... .. Concussion sidelines USM's D'Angelo for month... .. B.C. coach asks students to cool it when Canes come to town... .. More...
09.18.03: QB's status still uncertain as Cornhuskers loom for Southern Miss... .. Good deeds net big honor for Tulane's Moore... .. Blazers-'Cocks battle set for delayed telecast... .. More...
09.17.03: Surgery on Blazers assistant coach turns up malignancy... .. Bearcats basketball player cleared of charges... .. D'Angelo's status unknown for Huskers visit... .. More...
09.16.03: USM turns self in for basketball infractions... .. Green Wave's game at Texas selected for national telecast... .. Famed Blazers assistant coach has surgery... .. Tulane grabs two-thirds of league's awards... .. More...
09.15.03: College football weekend: The good, the bad and the ugly... .. Frogs hop higher in polls despite idle weekend... .. AP and USA Today/ESPN Polls... .. More...

HATTIESBURG — About 4,000 temporary seats have been added to M.M. Roberts Stadium. The hotels in Hattiesburg are booked solid. And the restaurants expect to do brisk business. Husker Nation — or at least a small chunk of it — is coming to the Deep South.

No. 15 Nebraska meets Southern Mississippi on Thursday night in the most anticipated game ever at Roberts Stadium, known as ``The Rock'' to locals. School officials expect a record crowd of over 36,000, that will include at least 3,500 Husker fans.

For some Nebraska alumni living in the South, the Hattiesburg appearance is a rare opportunity to see their team live. But for many, it will be a long road trip. Lincoln is about 1,000 miles from Hattiesburg. Mark Goodman, director of the center for community and economic development for Southern Miss, said there are no vacancies at Hattiesburg hotels for Thursday.

``The fans that are coming in from so far away, they have to spend the night and they have to eat out, so that will have an economic impact on Hattiesburg,'' he said. Goodman estimated the game could earn Hattiesburg businesses about $2 million.

Former Southern Miss athletic director Bill McLellan brokered the three-game series with former Nebraska AD Bill Byrne. The deal gave the Cornhuskers two home games and the Golden Eagles one. The first meeting was in 1999 in Lincoln and the Golden Eagles are set to make a return trip next season.

When the deal was first set, many were skeptical that Nebraska would ever play at Southern Miss. The suspicion was Nebraska with its $49 million athletic budget would offer top dollar to Southern Miss, which has an athletic budget of $12 million, to move the game to Lincoln.

Southern Miss athletic director Richard Giannini said he had an offer to move the game to Kansas City for between $1 million and $1.5 million dollars. Nebraska also said it would be willing to swing a similar deal to play the game in Lincoln. Giannini said he, university president Shelby Thames and Golden Eagles coach Jeff Bower decided the quick buck wasn't worth what Southern Miss would gain in the long run by hosting Big Red.

``We felt that it was important for our season ticket holders, for our students, for our faculty and staff and for the Hattiesburg business community that we play the game in Hattiesburg,'' Giannini said. Giannini estimated Southern Miss will make about $700,000 on Thursday's game.

The Golden Eagles are one of nine Division I-A teams to post nine straight winning seasons and they consistently step out of Conference USA to play traditional powers like Nebraska, Penn State, Alabama and Texas A&M. But rarely do those teams come to Hattiesburg. Southern Miss rarely sells out its 32,000-plus seat stadium.

``You don't get that opportunity very much,'' Giannini said. ``The last five, six years our (fan) base has been growing and growing. It just wouldn't be fair to them to take the game from underneath them.''

Tickets running out for USM-Nebraska battle

HATTIESBURG — The Southern Miss Ticket Office announced today that fewer than 250 tickets remain for Thursday night's clash with Nebraska. Kickoff at The Rock is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. All remaining tickets are priced at $40 and are primarily single seats or returns from the visiting team received on Wednesday.

All student and student guest tickets were distributed today after extending the pickup period for eight days.

"I'd like to thank our students for their outstanding support," Director of Athletics Richard Giannini said. "We know this large turnout will play an instrumental role in helping us establish the home field advantage."

The Ferlise Center ticket office will be open on Thursday from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. The stadium ticket office will open at 2:30 p.m., and will be open throughout the game. Phone orders can be placed through the ticket office on Thursday until Noon. Tickets also can be purchased online at, at regional Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Millenium Music in Hattiesburg) or by calling Ticketmaster at (601) 268-8948.

'Horns vs. Wave equals infantry vs. air force

Texas hopes its ground game is mightier than Tulane's air attack. The 14th-ranked Longhorns (3-1) will look to continue their dominance on the ground when they take on the high-flying Green Wave (3-1) on Saturday in Austin. Cedric Benson scored three touchdowns and backup Selvin Young had two more in a 41-point first half as Texas rolled up 322 yards on 53 carries in a 48-7 win over Rice last week.

``I was pleased with our rushing game,'' coach Mack Brown said. ``That's what we want to get to. We have to do different things to win. If we can run we want to. Obviously, it was a big part of our game.''

Texas' defense will be tested by Tulane's potent passing game. The Green Wave are the eighth-best passing team in the country, averaging 383 yards per game. Quarterback J.P. Losman ranks among the nation's top 15 in every offensive category. The senior second-year starter accounts for 22.5 points per game, is second in total offense with 353 yards per game, is sixth in pass completions with 27.3 per game and is 14th in pass efficiency with a 155.7 rating.

``Losman is one of the top quarterbacks in the country coming out of high school and a lot of people are talking about him being a number one NFL prospect,'' Brown said. ``He'll be excited about coming here and playing against Texas. They also have some great receivers that are very similar to ours.''

That's high praise from Brown, considering his team features one of the top receivers in the country in Roy Williams. Williams caught five passes for 69 yards in Saturday's win and became the school's career leader in receiving yards. He gave up a chance to turn pro after last season to return for one last chance at winning the Big 12 and national title.

The Green Wave broke a three-game losing streak to Army last Saturday with a 50-33 victory. Losman threw for 350 yards and five touchdowns and the defense came up with eight turnovers, including five interceptions.

However, Tulane coach Chris Scelfo knows Army is not Texas. ``Our players, I know, will look forward to going to Austin and playing them,'' Scelfo said. ``I think we're going in there with some momentum, confidence, and we just gotta make sure we can hold up and be competitive from start to finish.''

Texas has won 16 of the 18 meetings between the schools in a series that dates back to 1894. The Longhorns won 49-0 last year in the Louisiana Superdome.

Isabel leaves impact on William & Mary football schedule

WILLIAMSBURG — William & Mary canceled this weekend's home opener against Maine on Tuesday, saying it had continuing concerns about the safety of its campus in the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel and was disinclined to find an alternative site.

William & Mary (1-2, 0-1 Atlantic 10) said it was unable to reschedule the game for later in the season because the Tribe and the Black Bears (2-2, 1-1) both finish the regular season on Nov. 22, the week before the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs begin.

Maine athletic director Patrick Nero said he was sympathetic and understanding to the situation at William & Mary as it relates to the storm, but disappointed that the school chose not to accept any of a number of alternatives to get the game played.

The options, Nero said, included alternate dates, an alternate site in Virginia that was available and even having Maine pay all costs for the Tribe to travel to Orono to play the game Saturday with the proceeds going to a fund for hurricane relief.

"William & Mary has declined all of these offers," he said in a release.

William & Mary athletic director Terry Driscoll told the Daily Press of Newport News that school officials originally expected to reopen by mid-week, but that the damage was more extensive that originally anticipated and delayed the reopening.

"The ability to clear campus and make it safe for everyone, and when I say everyone, faculty, staff, students, to get where they need to get, park where they need to park, circulate where they need to circulate, was in serious question," he said.

Moving the game, he said, didn't seem like the prudent thing to do, either.

"Obviously, we haven't had a home game in a month. We'd love to play the game," he said. "But for us to go out and try to move the game, it's not as simple as it might appear. It's not something we feel we can do and support the game the way we should."

The Tribe opened with three straight road games, and lost 48-14 last week to Northeastern after going without practice for two days because of the storm.

The offer to play in Maine was not a consideration, he said.

"This latest wrinkle just got to the point where we just don't feel that we're able to pick up and take our team for the fourth week in a row someplace and provide the type of preparation and support we need to conduct ourselves the way we want to conduct ourselves," he said. "We don't feel we're capable of doing that right now."

William & Mary students have been out of class since last Wednesday, the day before Isabel arrived, and aren't scheduled to resume classes until next Monday to allow crews to continue removing downed trees, fixing power lines and cleaning up storm debris.

"At this time of immense natural disaster, our first responsibility is to protect the health and welfare of our employees," college president Tim Sullivan said.

"Our second responsibility is to make our campus safe for the resumption of classes at the earliest possible time," he said, and hosting a football game or finding a place on short notice to host a football game "is not a priority of equal urgency."

News Nuggets are compiled periodically from staff, ECU, Conference USA and its member schools, and from Associated Press and other reports. Copyright 2003 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Page Updated: 02/23/2007

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