LendingTree Bowl Notebook
Saturday, December 17, 2022
Final Score: Southern Miss 38, Rice 24
Pregame Weather: Cloudy skies, 47 degrees; WIND: 6 mph
Rice Captains: Chike Angibou, Trey Schuman, Josh Pearcy, George 5, 7, 12, 20, 58
USM Captains: Natrone Brooks, Jason Brownlee, Malik Shorts and Averie Habas
Coin Toss: Rice won the toss and deferred to second half
USM will receive and defend the south goal
Game MVP: USM running back Frank Gore, Jr. (NCAA bowl record 329 rush yards)
Offensive MVP: USM receiver Jason Brownlee (3 receptions; 72 yards; 1 TD)
Defensive MVP: USM linebacker (11 tackles; 3 sacks)
Special Teams MVP: USM punter Mason Hunt (4 punts; 42.5 average; 2 punt inside 200
· Southern Miss becomes the first 3-time LendingTree Bowl champion. The Golden Eagles are now 3-0 in LendingTree bowl games with wins over TCU (28-21) in 2000, Ohio (28-7) in 2007 and Rice (38-24) this year.
· Rice was playing in its first LendingTree Bowl. The Owls are the 28th different team to play in Mobile.
· Southern Miss sophomore running back Frank Gore., Jr., rewrote the record book on Saturday night in Mobile. Gore had 21 carries for 329 yards and two TDs. He had three runs of 50 or more yards, including a school-record 64-yard TD run and 56-yard TD run.
· He also completed two passes for 19 yards and one TD. Gore has seven career TD passes, including three this season Gore finished the night with 348 total yard and three total TDs
· The 329 rushing yards are the most in any bowl game in NCAA history, breaking the previous record of 318 rushing yards set by Appalachian State running back Camerun Peoples against North Texas at the inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl in 2020.
· Gore also broke the LendingTree Bowl single-game rushing record of 275 yards held by Toledo’s Kareem Hunt against Arkansas State in 2014.
· He is the second player in Southern Miss history to rush for 300 yards in a game. He topped the previous record of 304 yards held by Sam DeJarnette against Florida State in 1982.
· Gore’s 329 rushing yards are the most in the FBS this season. Pittsburgh’s Isreal Abanikanda ran for 320 yards against Virginia Tech.
· Gore is the first player with 300+ rushing yards and one TD pass in the same game since Arkansas’ Darren McFadden in 2007.
· In his final two games of the season, Gore rushed for 528 yards in wins over ULM and Rice. He recorded 199 yards in the reguar-season finale with ULM.
· Southern Miss registered 550 total yards and 361 rushing yards, both season highs. The 550 total yards and 361 rushing yards are both USM bowl records.
· Southern Miss became the first team since 2018 (Buffalo) to score on the opening drive at the LendingTree Bowl. The Golden Eagles marched 75 yards in six plays, capped by a 19-yard TD pass from Trey Lowe to Jakarius Caston to give USM a 7-0 lead. On the drive, Lowe completed 3-of-4 passes for 65 yards.
· USM kicker Briggs Bourgeios extended his personal streak of 17 consecutive field goals made with an 18-yard field goal to extend the Golden Eagles lead to 17-3 with 2:40 left in the first half.
· Rice scored on the opening drive of the second half to cut the deficit to 17-10. The Owls used a 7-play, 80-yard drive, capped by AJ Padgett’s 26-yard TD pass to Isaiah Esdale with 11:12 left in the third quarter. Padgett completed all four passes on the drive to four different receivers, totaling 61 yards.
· Rice scored on first three possessions of second half to take a 24-17 lead. Rice scored three TDs in seven plays in the third quarter. Padgett and Esdale hooked on TD passes on consecutive offensive snaps to tie the game at 17-17. Padgett’s 18-yard TD pass to Bradley Rozner gave the Owls their first lead 24-17.
· Rice’s 21 third-quarter points tied the Owls record for most points in a quarter in a bowl game. Rice also scored 21 points in the second quarter of the 1938 Cotton Bowl against Colorado.
· Southern Miss had a 98-yard scoring drive in the second half to take 31-24 lead. The Golden Eagles covered the 98 yards in five plays, capped by Lowe’s 26-yard TD pass to Brownlee. The 98-yard drive is the second-longest in LendingTree Bowl history. Ohio has the longest scoring drive (99 yards) against Troy in 2016.
· USM tied a season-high five sacks. USM linebacker Daylen Gill led the Golden Eagles with three sacks.
· Offensive lineman Shea Baker made his 54th career start and played in his 55th career game, both of which are rice records.
· Padgett was 19-of-37 for 295 yard and a Rice bowl record 3 TD passes. He opened the third quarter, going 7-for-8 for 122 yards and 3 TDs.