Oct. 20, 2012
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -
Marshall received a career-high 119 yards rushing from Kevin Grooms and a standout effort from its defense in a 59-24 win over Southern Miss Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
The Herd defense held the Golden Eagles to 331 yards, the fewest by a Marshall opponent all season. With solid defense and a season-best 629 yards of total offense, Marshall improved to 3-4 on the season and 2-1 in Conference USA. Southern Miss fell to 0-7 overall, 0-3 in the conference.
Sophomore quarterback Rakeem Cato completed 31-of-41 pass attempts for 340 yards and three touchdowns. He completed 11 of those passes to sophomore Tommy Shuler for 111 yards and two touchdowns.
Grooms' 119-yard effort came on 12 carries and was paced by a 64-yard touchdown run, 1-of-2 scores for him. Marshall's two other freshmen running backs also had productive days. Steward Butler had seven carries for 71 yards, including a long of 54 yards and a score. Remi Watson ran for 56 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.
Marshall never trailed in the game, jumping out to a 3-0 lead after a career-long 44-yard field goal by Justin Haig and then 10-3 after a 3-yard run by Watson.
After a fumble recovery by Jermaine Holmes, the Herd took over from the Golden Eagles' 29-yard line and needed just three plays to score on a 14-yard pass from Cato to Antavious Wilson. Marshall led 17-3 toward the beginning of the second quarter.
After a Southern Miss punt, Marshall started at its own 15-yard line and on the first play of the drive, turned it over via a Cato interception which was returned by Kalan Reed for a touchdown.
With a 17-10 lead, Marshall scored on the very next drive. Grooms took the ball for a 64-yard touchdown run, the longest rush by the Herd this season to go up 24-10.
After Southern Miss scored on a 9-play drive, Shuler's 25-yard touchdown catch from Cato capped a 5-play 69-yard drive to give Marshall a 31-17 lead at halftime, the most the Herd has scored in any half this season.
The second half started with a three-and-out by the Herd defense. Marshall then scored on each of its next two drives. The first was a 1-yard pass from Cato to Shuler. The second was an 11-yard run from Grooms to give the Herd a 45-17 lead with 5:30 to play in the third quarter.
The Herd defense came up big again as Billy Mitchell forced the Golden Eagles' running back Tyre Bracken to fumble on the 1-yard line which was recovered in the end zone by Armonze Daniel.
Marshall's next score came on a 54-yard run by Butler to increase the lead to 52-17 with 10 minutes to play.
With the game out of hand, sophomore Blake Frohnapfel took over with 8:30 to play in the game. He, along with running back Essray Taliaferro led a 9-play 58-yard drive which ended on a 1-yard run by Taliaferro.
Southern Miss finally got on the board with its final possession of the half, a 12-yard run by Arsenio Favor, to make the final score 59-24.
Quarterback Anthony Alford completed 9-of-21 pass attempts for 65 yards. The Herd defense sacked him three times, the most this season, led by Brandon Sparrow with two. Eight USM players had at least two rush attempts, led by Kendrick Hardy's 50 yards.
Marshall will next be in action when it hosts UCF next Saturday at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on CBSSN.