HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - Southern Miss (3-6, 1-4 C-USA) has three games remaining and if the Golden Eagles are to have a break even 6-6 season, they must upset Marshall this coming Saturday, at UTSA on November 13 and close out the regular season at home against UAB.
Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken likes the challenge of facing an undefeated team in Marshall.
He said, "It is always good to come back home. Marshall is a really good football team. I have voted them in the Coaches' Poll every week from the get go after playing them last year and knowing what they had coming back. They are a really good football team. It is a challenge for us, but one we are excited about.”
Starting quarterback Nick Mullen suffered a sprained ankle in a loss to Louisiana Tech on October 25 and sat out the UTEP game on Saturday. Despite 309 yards of passing from Cole Weeks, Texas El Paso defeated the Golden Eagles 35-14 on the road.
Monken isn't sure if Mullen will be ready for Saturday's clash with Marshall. He said, "We will have to evaluate him tomorrow. When we get to practice and see if we can get him out there. We don't know right now if we will have him or not."
Monken says the team is responding to backup quarterback Weeks. “Cole is highly respected with our team. Cole is a hard worker. Nobody wants to play better than Cole. Cole has been around here now three years. There is a belief in Cole. Obviously, our sample size is small. Some of the mistakes he made are because he just hasn't played. Did we probably put too much on his plate? Yes. Did UTEP have something to do with that? Yes. The mistakes that we made collectively around Cole that didn't help. Everything. It's coaching. It's playing. All of the above.”
Monken says homecoming is always special. “It is special in terms of what it is going to mean to (the team) when they come back and what it means to the former players and students that come back and the memories that they have. The memories they'll have when they come back for their homecoming games. Other than that, I can't tell you. I know it is another game against a really good Marshall team. A ranked Marshall team, deservedly so. We have a real challenge in front of us. Our challenge is putting this one behind us and moving forward (towards this week). What does Marshall present to us irrespective who you play, offensively, defensively and special teams so we can do it better."