College Report: Southern Miss, Ole Miss, Mississippi State

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Ole Miss senior cornerback Cliff Coleman has been named Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

Coleman had a 39-yeard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter as the Rebels defense turned in a stellar effort.

Ole Miss beat Vanderbilt 41-3 on Saturday in Nashville.  The three points were the fewest by any opponent since Tulane in 2012.  Tjhe Rebels lead the SEC with five interceptions and that ranks second in the nation.

The Ole Miss defense is allowing just 8 points per game, fifth in the nation and second in the SEC.

The 14th ranked Rebels (2-0) battle Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1) in the home season opener at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford Saturday afternoon at 3.

The Ragin' Cajuns opened the 2014 season with a 45-6 win over Southern and loss to Louisiana Tech 48-20 this past weekend.  Senior quarterback Terrance Broadway has completed 39 of 63 passes for 387 yards, with four touchdowns and three interceptions.

Mark Hudspeth is in his fourth season as Louisiana-Lafayette's head coach and has won three consecutive bowl games.  Hudspeth was an assistant coach at Mississippi State for two seasons before heading to Lafayette.

Southern Miss held off Alcorn State 26-20 on Saturday in Hattiesburg for the Golden Eagles first win of the season after opening the 2014 campaign with a 49-0 loss to Mississippi State.

The Golden Eagles face a heavyweight on Saturday evening at 5, a date with 3rd ranked Alabama.  This will be the highest ranked opponent Southern Miss will face since taking on No. 2 Florida on August 30, 1997, a 21-6 defeat to the Gators.

Southern Miss is 15-62-1 against AP Top 25 teams.  The Crimson Tide hold a 34-6-2 record against the Golden Eagles and have won the last five head-to-head confrontations.

The last time Southern Miss beat Alabama was in 2000, a 21-0 victory at Legion Field in Birmingham.  I will never forget the November 13, 1982 clash with Bama, a 38-29 Golden Eagles win at Bryant-Denny Stadium, the final home game for legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.  On that day quarterback Reggie Collier exploded on the ground and in the air in leading the Golden Eagles under the win column.

This will be the first meeting between the two schools since 2005.

Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken said,"They are the model of consistency. You want to go and play someone who is at the top of what you do in Division I football and that is Alabama. They are well-coached. They don't give you much. They run the football. They can throw it. It is going to be a real challenge for our team, but we are excited."

Mississippi State out slugged UAB 47-34 Saturday in Starkville to give the Bulldogs two consecutive victories.  Mississippi State battles South Alabama in Mobile Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen said,"It's a real challenge for us this week playing South Alabama. You look at a team right now, they're on a four-game winning streak. They had a big road win to start the season against Kent (State) this past week. You look at their two-deep on offense and defense, they have 16 senior starters on offense and defense. That has to be one of the most veteran teams in the country with guys that have played a lot of football, that have been in the program throughout their career and have really believed, right from the foundations of the program, these guys have been there and building it up to where they need to get to."

Mullen wasn't happy with the fact that his defense gave up 435 passing yards to the Blazers on Saturday.

"It's knowing the situation you're in and what to expect from that situation, and making sure also, putting ourselves with each coverage, making sure we have the right guy in the right position to go make plays,"stated Mullen. "We're going to get all of that stuff fixed. They'll get it done at practice. We'll rep it all out at practice and make sure we have guys in better positions."

After joining Johnny Manziel and Jay Cutler as the only SEC quarterbacks since 1996 to throw four-plus passing touchdowns and rush for over 100 yards in a single game, Mississippi State junior quarterback Dak Prescott was named a Manning Award "Star of the Week," the Allstate Sugar Bowl announced Monday.

In Saturday's 47-34 victory vs. UAB at home, Prescott tossed four touchdown passes for 211 yards, while also rushing for 111 yards and a touchdown. The Manning Award watch list signal caller is tied for first in the FBS with eight passing touchdowns and ranks eighth nationally in quarterback rating.

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