/Abraham is sharp in USM’s big win over JSU

Abraham is sharp in USM’s big win over JSU

Abraham showed much of the same qualities that made Nick Mullens and Austin Davis so successful in their first USM starts. Nick Mullens and Austin Davis, both of whom make a living in the NFL, are those two. Abraham showed great leadership skills in his first game, a win over Jackson State 55-7. These were the qualities that made Davis, Mullens (and USM radio analyst Lee Roberts) so successful and helped the Golden Eagles win so much. Abraham completed 21 passes for 242 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in just two quarters. Abraham completed 12 of his 13 first passes. The one incomplete pass was an on-target ball dropped. With USM leading 48-0 at the end of the third quarter, he was relieved. Many of the 29,176 people in attendance were already leaving on this damp night. Few will be surprised to see Abraham’s USM debut. He was a senior at Oxford High School, where he led his team in three straight state championship games. He also threw for 57 touchdowns and only six interceptions. You say, Abraham played at Oxford under Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. He now plays at Southern Miss. There’s more to the story. Abraham stands 6-feet tall. Abraham weighed in at 185 pounds back then. SEC schools didn’t knock on his door. They were not even showing up. Tulane offered and he accepted, but Tulane made a coaching change. Louisiana Tech lost its quarterback commitment, and Abraham was offered the scholarship. He accepted. Jay Hopson was offered the USM job. He tried to recruit Abraham but Abraham reaffirmed his commitment to Tech. As a freshman, he red-shirted at USM. He felt that he needed a change and decided to go to Northwest Community College. There, he led Rangers to the state championship matchup against East Mississippi. Abraham scored 66 points during the championship matchup. East Mississippi won one more. Yet, USM didn’t offer a scholarship. Tate Whatley was a highly sought-after high school recruit who suffered a serious knee injury. Hopson and his staff pursued him again, and he accepted. He is eligible for three years. So far, so good. Hopson stated, “Sometimes it is funny how it works out.” Sometimes it can be rewarding. Abraham was probably not a likely candidate to be able to make it into the season. Kwadra Griggs, Keon Howard and Keon Smith, who played in all USM’s last year’s games, were both back. Howard left the program and is now at Tulane. Griggs was then dismissed. Abraham was awarded the job. He proved why Saturday night. His quick release is impressive and his intermediate and short passes are almost like darts. He also throws them with bullseye precision. This is the good news about USM – it’s fast and efficient defense. The bad news? The bad? Even Favre and Collier’s quarterbacks can throw better when they are complemented by a strong running game. When the competition is better, the Golden Eagles will have to run it better. Trivenskey Mosley, a freshman running back showed speed off the bench. Steven Anderson (242 lbs) showed power. The Eagles accumulated 202 yards of ground and 160 in the second quarter. Abraham was blessed with solid defense and impressive receivers. Quez Watkins, a sophomore, caught eight passes for 138 yards with three touchdowns. Watkins is often blurred, but he also returned a punt of 81 yards for a score. He can fly. Hopson and Abraham said that he would be fine, despite his limping at the end of the game. Abraham, who wants to become a dentist like his grandfather and father, couldn’t help but smile afterward. He said, “It feels amazing.” It’s been a long time coming. Jackson State? It’s hard to say. The Tigers were outmatched in speed and strength. Hopson stated, “They’ll make a great team.” Hopson said, “That’s what Tony (Hughes),… They’ll win some games.” While the affair was a one-sided affair, it showed how unique these rivalries in-state are. After a stirring halftime performance, USM fans stood to ovation the Jackson State Sonic Boom band. After the show, USM and JSU players hugged one another. Many high school classmates, who now play on different teams, shared hugs and handshakes with one another. It was a pleasant crowd, especially after a stormy day with threatening skies. Over 31 years, this was their third meeting. It seems like they should be doing it more often.