Herd faces balanced So. Miss

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A little here, a little there, a little bit everywhere.

The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles will be coming from every direction as they take on the Marshall Thundering Herd at 7:30 p.m. today in a Conference USA matchup at Marshall Stadium.

The game will be televised by ESPN2.

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Southern Miss quarterback Dustin Almond is the triggerman in the offense. Almond is 120 of 220 for 1,529 yards and 15 touchdowns and has thrown 8 interceptions.

A total of 15 receivers have caught passes led by Ant Currington with 24 receptions for 329 yards, Shawn Nelson 16 grabs for 156 yards. Daniel Thomas

has 15 catches for 153 yards, Larry Thomas

15 receptions for 107 yards and Josh Barnes 13 grabs for 129 yards.

&#8220Their offense is running pretty well,” Marshall coach Mark Snyder said. &#8220The quarterback is good and he is running the system well. The thing that is impressive is he is dishing the ball out to a lot of different receivers. He spreads the ball around well.”

Thomas is the team's leading rusher with 466 yards on 119 carries and three touchdowns. Cody Hull has 48 attempts for 236 yards and a


The Eagles ability to be two dimensional on offense makes it difficult for the Herd defense.

&#8220They are running the ball solid, probably not as well as coach (Jeff) Bower would like to be, but they are solid,” Snyder said.

Two other areas have given Snyder reason to worry: the Eagles defense and special teams.

&#8220You look at their defense and I see athleticism and speed and players who make plays,” Snyder said. &#8220I'm very impressed with their linebackers.

&#8220They also have all the pieces in place on special teams. They are very good. We are going to have to come to play on Tuesday.”

The Eagles, 4-3 overall after a tough 21-17 loss last week at N.C. State, leads C-USA with a 3-1 record. Marshall is now 4-4 and 3-2 in the C-USA East after pulling off a 27-26 win over Tulane last week. A Herd win over USM would tie them for first place in the division.

&#8220They didn't run the ball well against N.C. State, but they will go back and get that fixed,” Snyder said. &#8220N.C. State has good backs and let me tell you something, good backs will make that happen. Southern Miss is very good on defense and it is going to be a challenge,” Snyder said.

&#8220I am expecting a very physical game and we need to come to play and prepare for that.”

Special teams were a plus for the Herd last week. Chubb Small ran back the second half kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.