Chase Litton threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns, but it proved not to be enough against an undeterred Southern Miss defense.
The Thundering Herd had a chance to take it to overtime late, scoring a TD with 1:15 left in the game. Instead, the team opted to go for two, and the snap was fumbled, sealing the victory for the Golden Eagles. The win sent Southern Miss to 8-4 (6-2) as they await their bowl opponent. This USM squad will go bowling for their third consecutive season, their longest streak since going to ten consecutive bowl games from 2002-2011.
The Herd have struggled all season, and even after missing the post-season altogether a year ago, this game was disappointing by most expectations. Despite another solid game from Litton, the Herd couldn’t get anything going on the ground, as they finished the day with only 74 total rushing yards.
For the Golden Eagles, the more balanced attack was key. QB Kwadra Griggs was solid, going 16/35 with 170 yards passing, and three TD’s. And as always, they had a reliable ground threat in Ito Smith, who finished with 29 carries for 150 yards and a TD.
Shout-out to the Southern Miss defense for that goal-line stand at the end of the game, but also holding the Herd to only 3 for 11 on 3rd down. That and the late fumble made all the difference, as both squads solidified their final spots in the conference standings, headed into bowl selection.
Marshall finishes the season 7-5 (4-4), a huge improvement over last year’s 3-9 campaign. Both teams will be a serious threat to bowl competition, and with the P5 bowl-eligible teams piling up, 7+ wins puts both in the drivers seat to get that one final game.