The Southern Miss Golden Eagles (0-7) have lost 19 games in a row dating back to last season. The Eagles hosted the North Texas Mean Green for their annual homecoming game. The Mean Green came into the game hot, winning their previous two games. They continued to roll versus Southern Miss as they were able to score 55 points, 41 in the first half. North Texas was able to spoil homecoming for the Eagles as they won with a final score of 55-14.
Freshman Nick Mullens received his first start of his young career. Mullens attempted 31 passes and completed 12 for 210 yards. While Mullens did some good things such as: getting out of the pocket and throwing a touchdown. The freshman signal caller also struggled with turnovers as he threw three interceptions and lost two fumbles. Mullens showed good command of the offense throughout the game, he never got too high when things went well and not too low when the offense turned the ball over. Mullens received some help from his receivers, most notably on a 59-yard touchdown pass to senior Dominique Sullivan. Sullivan had to come back to the ball to make a play on it because the ball was under thrown.
The offense’s inability to run the ball forces the offense to be one dimensional in yet another game. Total blame cannot be placed on the quarterback, the running backs or the offensive line. In the loss to North Texas, the offense had 21 rushes for a total of 39 yards. Mullens was also sacked four times. Wins and losses start in the trenches, the young, inexperienced offensive line has failed to discover the team’s identity. The offense has been forced to be a pass heavy or pass first team. Something opposing defenses know is coming.
The Mean Green gained 376 yards of total offense in the first half against Southern Miss, more than the Eagles allowed Texas State, Arkansas and FIU, in a complete game. North Texas finished with 529 yards. While giving up a ton of yards, the defensive unit of Southern Miss was able force turnovers: two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Senior linebacker Dylan Reda had a game-high 14 tackles. The defense only allowed the Mean Green offense two scoring drives of 70 yards or more, resulting in 13 points. Lack of help from the offense only compounds the struggles and simply makes their job tougher.
If it had not been for a missed field goal, the Eagles would have only been down 13-10 in the second quarter. Missed opportunities plagued the Golden Eagles in yet another game. Southern Miss only possessed the ball for a little over 18 minutes through four quarters. The defense was on the field for almost 42 minutes. A tired defense and lack of depth severely hurt the Golden Eagles in the second half.
Saturday the Golden Eagles will be traveling to Huntington, W. Va., to face the Marshall Thundering Herd (4-3). Marshall lost to Middle Tennessee, 51-49, in a high scoring game that took every second to determine a winner. I am sure Marshall is licking their chops for an opportunity to get back in the win column versus the Eagles.