BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The 2016 Southern Miss season was mixed with highs and lows. Senior quarterback Nick Mullens was involved in the disruptive season, due to an injury to his thumb.
Southern Miss lost three consecutive games near the end of the season to Charlotte, Old Dominion and North Texas, games the Golden Eagles were projected to win.
That left Southern Miss in need of a must-win over Louisiana Tech to become bowl eligible. After missing two games quarterback Nick Mullens bounced back in a big way, leading the Golden Eagles to an inspiring 44-35 victory.
The courageous senior was instrumental in giving his teammates a chance to shine in post-season play, a battle with Louisiana-Lafayette in the New Orleans Bowl next Saturday.
Coach Hopson knows his seniors will be ready to exit their Golden Eagle careers on a positive note.
"It's always an emotional time for a senior when they know for sure it's the last game they're going to play, "Hopson said. "For many of them it's the last game of their life."
Louisiana Lafayette head coach Mark Hudspeth has cultivated lots of respect for the winning tradition of Southern Miss football.
"I know a lot about that program being from the state of Mississippi, "said Hudspeth. "I know a lot about their success, their tradition, their great players they've had come through their program."
UL-L has the most wins in New Orleans Bowl history with four. Southern Miss has played in four New Orleans Bowl games posting 3 wins and 1 loss.
The Golden Eagles have been tabbed a 2 point favorite over the Ragin' Cajuns.