Southern Miss

5 to Watch: Southern Miss players who have to play well at Texas State

You can make the case that Saturday's 6 p.m. game at Texas State is one of the biggest games of the season for Southern Miss.

A win Saturday in San Marcos is crucial to USM's bowl chances and here are five players who have to play well for the Eagles to win:

1. S DeShadrick Truly: Starting safety Devonta Foster missed Saturday's game and appeared to be clearly hobbled when he joined teammates on the sideline. Truly filled in and struggled at times to make open field tackles. There was also miscommunication in the secondary on Austin Peay's 44-yard touchdown pass.

2. S Picasso Nelson Jr.: If coaches decide to go with a different safety to start alongside D'Nerius Antoine, Nelson may be the choice. He has six tackles off the bench so far and he's capable of picking the ball off from time to time.

3. TE Taylor Marini: Quarterback Nick Mullens and Marini struggled to hook up during Saturday's game after missing the season opener, but it's a only a matter of time before Marini gets going in the passing game. Ricky Parks started at tight end Saturday, but Marini is the more natural at the position.

4. WR D.J. Thompson: He was a little uneven catching the ball Saturday after showing up very strong in the season opener. Thompson scored his first career touchdown Saturday, but he'll have to do a better job of holding onto the ball and getting open against Texas State, especially if Mike Thomas misses his second consecutive game.

5. RT Norman Price: The right tackle position was a little shaky against Mississippi State. Price and Andrew Peterson have shared snaps at the position and the two combined for four false starts in the opener. The two men will have to respond on the road Saturday.