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Herd football takes on Southern Miss

Quarterback+Alex+Thomson+drops+back+to+pass+in+Marshall%27s+home+win+over+FAU+earlier+this+season.+Thomson+makes+his+fourth+start+of+the+season+Saturday+against+Southern+Miss.
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Herd football takes on Southern Miss

Quarterback Alex Thomson drops back to pass in Marshall's home win over FAU earlier this season. Thomson makes his fourth start of the season Saturday against Southern Miss.

Quarterback Alex Thomson drops back to pass in Marshall's home win over FAU earlier this season. Thomson makes his fourth start of the season Saturday against Southern Miss.

Richard Crank

Quarterback Alex Thomson drops back to pass in Marshall's home win over FAU earlier this season. Thomson makes his fourth start of the season Saturday against Southern Miss.

Richard Crank

Richard Crank

Quarterback Alex Thomson drops back to pass in Marshall's home win over FAU earlier this season. Thomson makes his fourth start of the season Saturday against Southern Miss.

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The Marshall University football team (5-2, 3-1 Conference USA) fights for a C-USA championship berth and its third consecutive win Saturday at 3 p.m. against Southern Miss (3-4, 2-2 C-USA) in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

“We have a great challenge going to Southern Miss, they have a great tradition,” head coach Doc Holliday said. “They have excellent players, a quarterback that’s thrown for a bunch of yards, and a defense that’s been very stingy in the red zone.”

The two teams have played every year since the start of the series in 2005 and Southern Miss leads the all-time series, 7-6. Last year, the Herd lost at home to the Golden Eagles, 28-27.

Southern Miss redshirt sophomore quarterback Jack Abraham threw for 210 yards last week versus Charlotte before leaving in the fourth quarter with an injury. The game marked his seventh start in which he threw for over 200 yards. Abraham has a total of 1,742 passing yards and 12 touchdowns this season.

At receiver, redshirt sophomore Quez Watkins leads the team in receiving yards (533) and receptions (46). Watkins also received seven touchdowns this season.

The Golden Eagles also have a threat on special teams with redshirt senior placekicker Parker Shaunfield. Shaunfield was named preseason All-Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year. This season, he has converted all 20 of his extra points and 11-of-15 field goal attempts.

On the defensive side of the ball, Southern Miss allowed just 224 yards of offense last week—the fourth time this season its defense has limited opponents to under 225 yards. Key defensive players for Southern Miss include redshirt sophomore defensive back Rachuan Mitchell, who recorded his second interception of the season last week and junior defensive back Ky’el Hemby, who had a career-high eight tackles against Charlotte.

Marshall is coming off a bye week after it defeated Florida Atlantic University the week before. Redshirt junior Alex Thomson was announced as starter for fourth time this season. In his four starts, Thomson has thrown for 457 yards and five touchdowns. Thomson acknowledged that the bye week gave him time to assess Marshall’s game plan.

“This will be my fourth game starting, so I’ve had those three weeks to feel it out,” Thomson said. “Especially with the bye week I got a chance to assess everything and I’m really looking forward to these last four games.”

The Herd’s rush defense is ranked No. 14 and allows 106 yards per game. Marshall has not allowed a rushing play of 30-plus yards this season.

Morgan Griffith can be contacted at [email protected]

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