Mullens sets school record in USM’s win

Published 11:46 pm Saturday, October 29, 2016

HATTIESBURG (AP) — Nick Mullens threw for a touchdown and broke a school passing record.
Perhaps most importantly, he got Southern Miss back in the win column.

Mullens threw for 300 yards and a touchdown Saturday night as Southern Miss stopped a two-game slide with a 24-14 win over Marshall.

Mullens became Southern Miss’ all-time leader with 11,057 career passing yards, surpassing the 10,892 yards of Austin Davis (2008-11).

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Mullens also extended his school record for 300-yard passing games to 16 as Southern Miss (5-3, 3-1 Conference USA) stayed a half-game behind Louisiana Tech for the West Division lead.

“I’m just glad we won. We’ve been greedy for a victory the past few weeks and to finally get it, definitely wasn’t the easiest,” Mullens said. “But all other things, homecoming, the record and the pretty exciting and stressful game in the first half just needed to find our rhythm. It’s an incredible honor. Every time you get to play at The Rock is a blessing especially a win at The Rock. It’s a great night for Southern Miss and just have to go 1-0 four more times.”

Ito Smith ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns for Southern Miss.

Mullens took the Golden Eagles 75 yards on the game’s first drive and Smith capped it with a touchdown run to give them a 7-0 lead. Parker Shaunfield kicked a 44-yard field goal in the second quarter and the Golden Eagles were up 10-7 at the break.

After a scoreless third, Allenzae Staggers caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Mullens to stretch it to 17-7 with 12:08 to play.

Chase Litton threw for 166 yards and a score for the Thundering Herd (2-6, 1-3). Keion Davis had a 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and Litton’s 44-yard TD pass to Michael Clark with 2:26 remaining in the game made it 24-14.

Marshall only had 60 rushing yards and 226 yards of total offense. Davis finished with 52 rushing yards on 11 carries. Marshall didn’t commit a turnover, but Litton was sacked three times — Dylan Bradley had 1 1/2 sacks — and the Herd only had 11 first downs.

Southern Miss beat Marshall for the first time since 2010. Marshall had scored at least 31 points in its last four wins over USM, and more than 50 points three times.

“That’s one of our rivalries and that’s one of the goals we set for ourself is to beat Marshall,” Bradley said. “We preached it two weeks straight that we had to beat Marshall and win a playoff. Tonight was the start of the playoff. You win; it’s one step closer to conference championships. If you lose, you’re praying for someone else to lose or you’re only playing for a bowl game. Our mindset was to go out there and dominate in all phases and it started with the D-line and O-line.”