HUNTINGTON, W.Va. --Chase Litton threw for two touchdowns, including a 61-yard scoring toss midway through the third quarter, to propel Marshall to a 31-10 Conference USA football victory over Southern Miss on Friday night at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
The 61-yard touchdown pass from Litton came at the 7:58 mark of the third quarter, hitting a wide open Deandre Reeves who streaked down the middle of the field to break open a seven-point contest at the half.
The Herd then extended the lead in the final two minutes of the period sacking Nick Mullens, forcing a fumble deep inside the Southern Miss 5, in which Jarquez Samuel caught out of mid-air and dove three yards to complete the game's scoring.
Still, Mullens threw for 314 yards on 29-of-58 passing, marking the fourth-straight game he has thrown for over 300 yards and ninth time in his career.
Despite giving up 31 points, the Golden Eagle defense limited the Herd to 277 total yards as the Golden Eagles registered 439 total yards.
"The good news is we've come a long way," Golden Eagles coach Todd Monken said. "We control ourselves. We have good talent, we have good coaches, and we just got to do better. There was just too many things where we did poorly against a good football team."
After alternating possessions to open the game, Southern Miss got on the board first on a six-yard pass from Mullens to Mike Thomas to cap a nine-play, 89-yard drive with 6:08 left in the opening quarter. Thomas registered seven catches for 109 and his third consecutive 100-yard game and Mullens threw a TD pass for the eighth-straight game.
The Golden Eagles were penalized on an unsportsmanlike conduct following the touchdown forcing them to kick off from their own 20. After a short ensuing kick, the Herd returned to the Southern Miss 37 to start what proved to be their first scoring drive. Devon Johnson tied the game with a one-yard run, ending a seven-play drive to tie the game at 7-7.
The two teams then traded field goals in the second quarter - a career-long 33-yard make from Southern Miss' Parker Shaunfield, before Nick Smith added a 34-yard attempt for Marshall - to tie the score at 10-apiece with 8:36 left in the period.
Southern Miss then had a chance to take the lead late in the second quarter, but Shaunfield's 33-yard try was blocked by Marshall and they responded with a touchdown in the final minute of the half on a three-yard pass from Litton to Ryan Yurachek. The Golden Eagles had initially stopped the Herd and forced them to try a field goal, but jumped offsides to help extend the drive.
Marshall scored three plays later to take a 17-10 lead at intermission.