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Herd Downs Southern Miss 26-20

Rakeem Cato threw three of touchdown passes leading Marshall to a 26-20 victory over Conference rival Southern Miss. It’s the first win for Marshall against the Golden Eagles in four tries and just the second overall victory against Southern Miss.
Defensively, The Herd was led by defensive end Vinny Curry. Curry had a monster game with three sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss, causing trouble for the Southern Miss offense all night long.
“He [quarterback Austin Davis] was uncomfortable. When you got guys around you all night it does make it tough,” said Southern Miss Head Coach Larry Fedora. 
Marshall got on the scoreboard first thanks to a 32 yard field goal from Tyler Warner. However, it looked as if the Golden Eagles could make a stinker out of the game scoring 17 consecutive points. 
In the first quarter, the Golden Eagles got the ball on their own 28 yard line and Austin Davis marched them down the field on a 13 play 74 yard drive the culminated with a 13 yard touchdown pass to put Southern Miss in the lead 7-3.
The Golden Eagles extended their lead to 10-3 in the second quarter. The Eagles started the 11 play scoring drive on its own 41 yard line. Austin Davis completed a pair of passes on two separate 3rd and 12 situations to keep the drive alive. However, Marshall’s defense dug in when Southern Miss got into the redzone. Marshall stuffed two rushing attempts by Jamal Woodyard. On 3rd down, George Carpenter came on the blitz and picked up his first sack of the season forcing Southern Miss to settle for a 36 yard field goal from Danny Hrapmann field goal. 
Marshall’s offense got the momentum back following a 35 yard return by Andre Booker to the Herd 45 yard line. However, the drive came to a grinding halt when Rakeem Cato was pressured and cocked to throw and the ball slipped out of his hand. Ronnie Thompson registered his first interception of his career giving the Golden Eagles the ball near mid-field. 
However, Southern Miss would give the ball right back to Marshall with 7:45 left in the half. Davis completed a pass to Tracey Lampley, but Marshall’s Omar Brown forced the football from Lampley’s grasp and George Carpenter was there to pounce on it for The Herd. 
Marshall couldn’t do anything with the opportunity giving the ball right back to Southern Miss on a punt. Marshall punter Kase Whitehead pinned the Golden Eagles inside the ten yard line, but on the first play of the drive, Austin Davis reached back and heaved a 90 yard touchdown pass to Francisco Llanos giving the Golden Eagles a 17-3 advantage with 5:30 left in the first half. 
That would be the last time the Southern Miss offense would make any noise until late in the ball game.
Toward the end of the first half, Marshall got back into the game. Following a defensive stop Marshall got the football back on the Golden Eagle 45 yard line with 2:55 left in the second quarter. Rakeem Cato was an efficient 3-for-4 moving Marshall down the field. Then, Cato connected with Aaron Dobson on a ten yard fade pass to the corner of the endzone for Marshall’s first score of the season and got The Herd back in the game down 17-10. 
Dobson fought off pass interference by the Golden Eagle defender, kept control of the ball and got a foot down for the score.
To start second half, Southern Miss coughed up the football on the first drive of the half giving Marshall the ball on the Southern Miss 35 yard line. Marshall took advantage of the Golden Eagle miscue. On 3rd and 7, Rakeem Cato avoided the Southern Miss rush and scrambled eight yards to pick up a crucial first down . Two plays later, Cato hit Gator Hoskins from 11 yards out tying the game at 17 apiece. It was the first touchdown catch for Hoskins in his Thundering Herd career.
The momentum continued to swing in favor of Marshall as the defense continued to answer the call. On another 3rd and long for Southern Miss, Marshall came up with a sack to force a fourth down punt.   Jermaine Kelson came in nearly untouched and blocked the punt giving Marshall the ball on the Southern Miss 22 yard line. The offense could not capitalize on the great field position and Tyler Warner missed wide right on a 41 yard field goal attempt.
Marshall and Southern Miss exchanged possessions with the Marshall defense keeping the Golden Eagles from getting into rhythm and forcing a three and out deep inside Southern Miss territory. Marshall got the ball at midfield with 2:55 left in the third quarter. Five plays later Cato tossed the ball to Aaron Dobson on a perfectly run screen pass and Dobson took the ball to the endzone for his second touchdown catch of the game and gave Marshall its first lead with 1:19 left in the 3rd quarter. 
Special teams played a major role in the game as Kase Whitehead pinned Southern Miss inside the six yard line five times in the game. With 9:19 left in the game and the Golden Eagles backed up on their own one yard line, Vinny Curry made is presence felt blasting through the line and corralling Kendrick Hardy in the endzone for the safety giving Marshall a 26-17 lead.
Southern Miss made it close in the fourth quarter marching down field, aided by two Thundering Herd penalties, nipped away at the lead with a 28 yard field goal by Danny Hrappman.
The Golden Eagles were able to recover the ensuing onside kick, but their comeback hopes were dashed when Austin Davis threw his third interception of the game sealing the win for The Herd.
Austin Davis tossed two touchdowns and became the all-time leading passer in Southern Miss in an outstanding first half against The Herd.   Davis passed future NFL Hall of Famer Brett Farve who previously held the record with 7,695 yards in his career with Southern Miss. Davis finished the first half 16 of 22 for 221 yards and two touchdown passes.
For Marshall Aaron Dobson finished the game with seven catches for 69 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Tron Martinez was the leading rusher with 17 carries for 70 yards, averaging 4.1 yards per rush.
Next up is a the Battle For The Bell, as Marshall will take on Ohio University next Saturday in Athens, OH.

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