USM outlasts Marshall to end regular season

Published 10:00 pm Saturday, November 25, 2017

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Kwadra Griggs threw three touchdown passes for Southern Mississippi, but a failed 2-point conversion with 1:15 to play was the difference in a 28-27 victory over Marshall on Saturday.

Trailing 28-21 with 2:22 remaining, Marshall’s (7-5, 4-4 Conference USA) Chase Litton led a six-play scoring drive, highlighted by a Southern Miss unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Yurachek to pull the Thundering Herd to 28-27.  But Jackson White’s pass was intercepted by Jomez Applewhite on the 2-point attempt. Southern Miss (8-4, 6-2) recovered the ensuing onside kick then ran out the clock.

Griggs connected with Korey Robertson on a 16-yard touchdown pass, and had a pair of scoring throws to Allenzae Staggers in the second half.  Griggs’ 9-yarder to Staggers gave the Golden Eagles a 28-21 lead with 9:44 remaining.

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Ito Smith had 150 yards rushing and a 3-yard touchdown run for Southern Miss. Robertson finished with seven catches for 118 yards.

Litton completed 26 of 44 passes for 308 yards and four touchdowns, three to Yurachek.

The Golden Eagles took a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the second quarter when Smith ran it in from 3 yards out at the end of an 11 play drive. Marshall tied it up on a 16 yard touchdown pass from Litton with 5:15 left in the quarter.

The teams would trade touchdowns over the last four minutes of the first half and went into the break tied 14-14. Marshall took the lead early in the third quarter when Litton connected with Yurachek for an 11-yard touchdown following a fumble by Smith.

USM scored the next 14 points and were able to hold on for the win when Marshall failed to covert its two-point try instead of tying the game with an extra point.

The Golden Eagles finished second in the C-USA west division behind North Texas.

With eight wins, Southern Miss is bowl eligible for the third straight season.