Southern Miss

Southern Miss football looks to turn the tide against Marshall

TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD 
 Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens looks downfield for a receiver Saturday in Hattiesburg. USM travels to Marshall Friday.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens looks downfield for a receiver Saturday in Hattiesburg. USM travels to Marshall Friday. SUN HERALD

The previous three years haven't gone well for Southern Miss against Marshall, but then again not many games did. The Thundering Herd have out-scored USM by an average of 61-15 over the last three seasons with former star quarterback Rakeem Cato leading the way.

USM (3-2, 1-0 in Conference USA) has a chance to change the tide in the series when it travels to take on Marshall at 6 p.m. Friday in Huntington, W.Va.

The Thundering Herd (4-1, 1-0) is a 5-point favorite headed into the contest, according to VegasInsider.com.

Cato, who led Marshall to four straight wins over USM, is now with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. His replacement is redshirt freshman Chase Litton, who stands 6-foot-6, 207 pounds and will to make his fourth consecutive start at quarterback for the Thundering Herd.

As you'd expect from a freshman, Litton has seen mixed results, including the 36-29 overtime win over Kent State in when he completed just 14-of-36 passes for 151 yards.

Overall, his numbers are good with 633 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions in three starts. Litton is completing 57.8 percent of his passes.

"You continue to watch him grow and he has to continue to do that," Marchall coach Doc Holliday said this week.

The Marshall offense is centered more around the ground game this season, but star running back Devon Johnson has missed time lately with an injury. Tony Pittman filled in well last week with 24 carries for 129 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-7 win over Old Dominion.

"Offensively, they are still athletic on the perimeter and their quarterback has played well," USM coach Todd Monken said. "Their first guy got banged up so now they are playing a redshirt freshman that is a talented guy. They just haven't hit that spark like they have the last couple of years where they can roll 50 points on you in a hurry."

The Southern Miss defense played better last week in a 49-14 win over North Texas, but it still has much to prove in C-USA play after giving up a total of 1201 yards in back-to-back games against Texas State and Nebraska.

USM could get help with the possible return of three defensive players - safety Devonta Foster, linebacker Anthony Swain and defensive tackle Draper Riley. Monken said Monday he hopes to get all three back, but there's no way to know until USM takes the field Friday night.

The game will be televised by CBS Sports Network.

"It will be a great challenge for us on the road, but like I said we have gotten better and it's time to see where we are," Monken said. "This is another barometer. They have been at the top of the hill and now we get to see where we are."

Related stories from Biloxi Sun Herald

  Comments