Football Hosts Southern Miss and ESPN Sunday Night

Oct. 19, 2007

HUNTINGTON - Marshall will play its first home game in more than a month when it hosts defending Conference USA East Division Champion Southern Miss on Sunday. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN with an 8 p.m. kickoff.

The Thundering Herd has not played at Joan C. Edwards Stadium since the New Hampshire game on September 15 and now returns home to face the preseason favorite to repeat at C-USA East Division champs.

MU, 0-6 for the first time since 1969, is coming off of a hard-fought 38-31 loss at Tulsa on Saturday. C-USA's top scoring offense was held to only seven second-half points as Marshall rallied from a 31-17 halftime deficit with a balanced passing and running attack.

Marshall senior quarterback Bernard Morris completed 21-of-37 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns, while also carrying the ball nine times for 33 yards to continue his strong play this season. Morris connected with seven different receivers in the game, but his top target was sophomore tight end Cody Slate who tallied six catches for 102 yards and a TD.

Slate, a Mackey Award Candidate, ranks among the top three tight ends in the country in receptions (3rd with 6.17) and receiving yards per game (2nd at 79.83).

The Thundering Herd ground game was balanced as well. Freshman running back Darius Marshall carried the ball 13 times for 63 yards, while junior Chubb Small took 11 carries for 53 yards and scored two touchdowns. MU receiver Darius Passmore also carried the ball five times for 35 yards to go with his four catches for 32 yards in the air.

Marshall, who has been plagued with injuries for most of the season and has seen as many as six to seven starters miss contests, received a shot in the arm last week with the return of defensive end John Jacobs who had missed the better part of four games with a broken hand. Jacobs was credited with four tackles, including a sack and three tackles for loss at Tulsa.



Southern Miss (3-3, 2-1 C-USA) is coming off of a 28-7 win over SMU on Saturday. The Golden Eagles are led by sophomore tailback Damion Fletcher who has 637 yards rushing (an average of 106.2 yards per game) and six touchdowns this season.

Defensively, the Golden Eagles feature one of th nations top tacklers in linebacker Gerald McRath. The Southern Miss standout already had 73 tackles on the year and ranks second in the nation in that category.

Southern Miss leads the all-time series between the two schools, 2-0. That includes a 42-7 win over Marshall in Hattiesburg last year and a dramatic 27-24 overtime win in Huntington in 2005.

Sunday is also Youth Football League Night and players, cheerleaders, parents and coaches involved with Tri-State area youth league teams can purchase tickets for only $10. For more information contact the Marshall University Ticket Office at 1-800-THE-HERD.

In addition, the first 1,000 Marshall students at the game will receive free t-shirts and pom poms.