Marshall clobbers Eagles in homecoming
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 00:10
Nothing went right for the Golden Eagles on Saturday night. The same team that took a big step forward in their last outing against UCF took three steps backwards against Marshall. Southern Miss remained winless on the season, losing 59-24 to the Thundering Herd. The loss drops the Eagles to 0-7 overall and 0-3 in conference play.
“There comes a time when you get challenged in a ball game, and you have to step it up,” head coach Ellis Johnson said. “I never saw it. You have to respond. Marshall’s a good football team. I think they are very underrated. I just did not see the same performance [from us] tonight. We got challenged at UCF, had some tough situations and responded the right way. Frankly, there were times tonight where we didn’t do that.”
Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato entered the game as the NCAA leader in passing yards per game and did not miss a step Saturday. Cato finished with 340 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He engineered an offense that cranked out 629 total yards and 59 points. His lone interception led to seven points for Southern Miss, as Kalan Reed returned it 19 yards for a touchdown.
The Herd came in allowing 44 points a game to opponents on the season. Coming off their season high in points, the Southern Miss offense was poised to keep the offense rolling. Quarterback Anthony Alford led the Eagles on two scoring drives in the first half but could not muster another score before being replaced.
Ricky Lloyd replaced Alford in the third quarter. Before being replaced, Alford had a noticeable limp. Lloyd did not last long, as he left with a leg injury in the fourth quarter. Redshirt sophomore Arsenio Favor made his first appearance of the season when he replaced Lloyd. The revolving door at the quarterback position is still operational due to Alford’s injury.
Whoever lined up under center for the Eagles had no chance to match Cato and the Thundering Herd. Marshall scored on nine of its 16 possessions, putting the ball in the end zone eight times. Southern Miss running back Desmond Johnson rushed for a touchdown with 5:13 left in the second quarter. That score brought the Eagles within seven points, but it took Southern Miss another 33 minutes of game time to score again. Marshall scored 35 points in that time span.
The loss officially eliminates the Eagles from the possibility of a winning season and more than likely ends any hope of an appearance in the conference championship. An Eastern Michigan victory leaves Southern Miss and Massachusetts as the only winless teams in Division I football this season.
“It is a tough pill to swallow for me,” said senior center Austin Quattrochi after the game. “The only thing we can do is move forward. We kind of look like it that we were 0-6, and we can still go to a bowl. You come here knowing that this is what we are going to do. I don’t believe that we are a 0-7 team, and I don’t think this is deserving of our team. We have a lot of good people and a very talented team still sitting in that locker room.”