Marshall Turns in All-Around Effort in 34-27 Win at Southern Miss

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Sept. 20, 2008

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Wide receiver Darius Passmore turned in an outstanding all-around performance, running back Darius Marshall eclipsed 100 yards rushing and freshman quarterback Mark Cann displayed great poise as the Marshall Thundering Herd scored a 34-27 victory over Conference USA rival Southern Miss at M.M. Roberts Stadium on Saturday.

Cann finished the game 16-of-25 passing with 228 yards and two touchdowns. His primary target was Passmore, who finished the day with nine catches for 139 yards and a touchdown. Passmore also broke off an 80-yard touchdown run. He was aided by the return of junior tight end Cody Slate who had 76-yards receiving and a 35-yard scamper on a reverse. Darius Marshall put in a workman like 112-yards rushing on 20 caries.

Southern Miss opened the scoring with a 68-yard touchdown pass from Austin Davis to DeAndre Brown with 11:37 to go in the first quarter. That was a career-long throw for the Golden Eagle redshirt freshman quarterback. However, Marshall responded on its next possession with a five-play 48-yard touchdown drive that was capped off with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Mark Cann to Darius Passmore.

Marshall's defense would hold USM just short on a third and long situation on its ensuing possession thanks to a timely MU timeout that was called prior to a Golden Eagle hurry-up first down quarterback sneak that forced Southern Miss to punt from its own 29-yardline.

The Thundering Herd would utilize a 35-yard run and a 30-yard reception from tight end Cody Slate to set up a 37-yard field goal for Tyler Warner to give Marshall a 10-7 lead with 6:03 to go in the first quarter.

Southern Miss took advantage of a Marshall fumble with 1:05 to go in the first quarter. Marshall was going for a first down on a fourth-and-two situation at the USM 35 when MU quarterback Mark Cann was hit and fumbled the ball back at the Marshall 44 yard line. The Golden Eagles were unable to capitalize however and Marshall took over following a punt at its own 13-yardline with more than 12 minutes to play in the first half.

Following a fumble by Marshall's Darius Passmore at the end of a pass play, USM would take over just seconds later at the Marshall 44. The Thundering Herd held Southern Miss to a 43-yard field goal from Justin Estes at the 9:31 mark to tie the game at 10-10.

Marshall would respond once again with an impressive nine-play, 74-yard drive that culminated with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Cann to Slate that put the Herd up 17-10. Southern Miss countered with a 45-yard field goal on its next possession to cut the Marshall lead to 17-14 at halftime.

The Thundering Herd opened the second half with a workman-like 11-play, 69-yard drive that took five minutes and 46 seconds and ended with a Warner 28-yard field goal to put Marshall up 20-13.

Following a Marshall defensive stop, the Thundering Herd pushed its lead to 27-13 when Darius Passmore took an end around and streaked down the sideline for an 80-yard touchdown run.

Southern Miss responded on its next possession with a seven-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a 12-yard Austin Davis touchdown run that cut the Marshall lead to 27-20 with 3:06 to play in the third quarter. Southern Miss would threaten again following a Marshall punt, however USM missed a 43-yard field goal attempt and Marshall took over with about 10 minutes to go in the contest, clinging to a seven point lead.

Marshall was forced to punt, and Kase Whitehead booted the ball in to the end zone for a touchback. However, Brandon Burns tipped the ball into the air and Maurice Kitchens mad the interception to set up a Darius Marshall touchdown run.

Southern Miss was able to score to again cut the lead to seven, but the Marshall defense held strong and batted away a final touchdown attempt.

Marshall Notes Marshall at Southern Mississippi
Notes (Sept. 20, 2008)

IMPRESSIVE WIN: Marshall's win over Southern Miss marks only the 11th time the Golden Eagles have lost to a conference foe at "The Rock." Southern Miss owns a 32-11 overall record in Conference USA home games. The win also snapped a nine game road losing streak for Marshall and gave the Thundering Herd its first 2-0 start in C-USA play.

TURNING AROUND: Marshall now has six wins in its last nine games dating back to last season and the Herd is off to its first 3-1 start since 2002.

WARNER COMES THROUGH: Freshman kicker Tyler Warner (Parkersburg, W.Va.) made his collegiate debut in the game, replacing the injured Craig Ratanamorn. He made his first kick a 37-yarder in the first quarter and later added a 28-yarder. He was a perfect 2-for-2 on field goals, handled kickoffs and was 4-for-4 on PATs.

MR. PASSMORE: Marshall senior receiver Darius Passmore topped the 100-yard receiving mark in the first half of action for his third 100-yard game this season. The Marshall deep threat recorded five catches for 101 yards that included a 27-yard touchdown reception in the half. He ended the game with nine catches for 139 yards and a touchdown. In the second half, he also broke an 80-yard touchdown run.

SLATE RETURNS: Marshall junior tight end Cody Slate made his return after missing more than two games with an injury he sustained in the season opening win over Illinois State. The All-America candidate played a major role in the game with four catches for 76 yards and one touchdown. He also took a reverse 35-yards to set up a Marshall score in the first half.

FINALLY SACKED: For the first time this season, Marshall's offensive line surrendered a quarterback sack. Marshall was one of only eight schools in the country entering today's action to have not allowed a sack. Southern Miss ended that streak in the first quarter when Cordarro Law sacked Mark Cann for a loss of 15 yards, forcing MU to take a 35-yard field goal.

RUN STOPPERS: Marshall's defense limited Southern Miss to only 21 rushing yards in the first half and limited All-Conference USA running back Damion Fletcher to just eight yards rushing in the half. For the game, Marshall amassed 201 rushing yards to Southern Miss' 123. The Herd also limited Fletcher to just 82 yards on 21 carries.

HE IS MARSHALL: Marshall sophomore running back Darius Marshall turned in another strong performance with 128 yards rushing and one touchdown.

YES HE CANN: Marshall redshirt freshman quarterback Mark Cann was solid. He completed 16-of-25 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns against Southern Miss with no interceptions.

RAIN SOAKED: Forty minutes prior to kickoff clouds moved in and rain began to fall at M.M. Roberts Stadium. Today's game marked the first time since Sept. 23, 2006 at Tennessee that the Thundering Herd played a game with rain, a streak of 23 games without wet conditions.