After taking a close 37-31 defeat by the hands of Troy at the Rock on Sept. 17, the Golden Eagles traveled to El Paso, Texas to face UTEP in its first conference game of the season, winning 34-7 against the Miners.
Even though they were down 7-3 by the end of the first quarter, the Golden Eagles catapulted to a 21-0 run to end the half with a 24-7 score. The team is also 3-1 for the first time since 2011. Here are some tidbits from the game.
Curtis Mikell, who primarily played on special teams last year during the Golden Eagles’ 9-5 season, caught two interceptions, which tied the Southern Miss record for longest interception return in school history.
Ito Smith topped 100 yards rushing with 16 carries for 108 yards on Saturday. It was Smith’s fourth consecutive game during which he performed this feat. Smith now sits in third place nationally in rushing yards with 540 yards to his name.
If Nick Mullens is having a bounce-back season, this game could be the catapult. For the first time this season, Mullens did not throw an interception. On the season, he has a 10:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
The defensive line, headlined by senior Dylan Bradley, has amassed 24 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks on the season. Combined with a secondary that also has four interceptions, the Southern Miss defense ranks in the top 50 in the nation.
After committing 32 penalties through the first three games, the Golden Eagles only committed one on their trip to El Paso.