Marshall faces Southern Miss’ No. 1 offense

More stories from Joseph Ashley

Marshall University’s football team attempts to continue its winning streak Friday against the University of Southern Mississippi.

Marshall (4-1) will enter Friday’s contest coming off its third-straight victory as the team defeated Old Dominion University 27-7 last week.

While both teams totaled around 300 yards of offense, the Herd forced four turnovers in its win, including two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Marshall also stopped three of four Old Dominion fourth-down attempts.

Southern Mississippi (3-2) is coming off a 49-14 victory over the University of North Texas. The Golden Eagles’ two losses came at the hands of Power Five teams in Mississippi State University and the University of Nebraska. 

Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said a key to beating Southern Mississippi will be to slow down the Golden Eagles’ quarterback Nick Mullens and the team’s high-powered offense, which is ranked first in the conference. 

“There’s a reason they are number one in total offense in our league,” Holliday said during his Tuesday press conference. “It starts with the quarterback position.”

 Southern Mississippi has six receivers with over 100 yards on the season, while five of the six also have more than 10 receptions. 

Mullens’ primary target this season has been wide receiver Casey Martin, who has 29 receptions for 339 yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Mike Thomas has provided Southern Mississippi’s offense with a big-play threat as he is averaging 18.7 yards per catch on 18 receptions this season.

In addition to its aerial playmakers, the Golden Eagles have two productive running backs in Jalen Richard and Ito Smith, who each have 365 yards rushing this season. 

The two backs also contribute to the passing game, having combined for 30 receptions for 374 yards this season. 

Aside from Southern Mississippi’s offense, Holliday said his team must be mindful of its tendency to attempt onside kicks. Holliday said the Golden Eagles have already attempted multiple onside kicks this season in unexpected situations. 

Friday’s game begins 7 p.m. at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. 

Joseph Ashley can be contacted at [email protected].