HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) -
Southern Miss (3-7, 1-5 C-USA) hopes to end a three-game league game losing streak when the Golden Eagles tackle the University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners (2-7, 1-4 C-USA) on Thursday.
Freshman running back Ito Smith rushed for a career-best 141 yards on 27 carries in a 63-17 loss to highly ranked Marshall on Saturday in Hattiesburg.
The loss meant that Southern Miss won't qualify for a post-season bowl game for the third consecutive season. Prior to the streak, Southern Miss teams had been to bowl games in 14 of 15 seasons.
Head coach Todd Monken said, "We quickly had to put the Marshall game to bed with the short week. We came in last night and had a little bit of an extended Sunday. Basically just a walk through last night. Moved on to UTSA. We are excited about the opportunity to play on Thursday night."
Monken added that the UTSA defense is pretty good. “They play awfully hard defensively. They have seven or eight senior starters with a number of senior and junior backups. That is one thing you can say about them. I don't think they are very complicated, but I think they are very sound in what they do. They play hard and they challenge you. They play off of each other very well. I think that is the biggest thing. That is usually most defenses. Ones that are really good usually do what they do and do it really well."
The Golden Eagles have relied on four running backs this season, so who gets the call on Thursday?
“Some of it dictates (with the) flow of the game. Some of it dictates who is available. George (Payne) had a nicked up shoulder so he couldn't go (against Marshall). Some of the carries that Ito (Smith) got in short yardage, probably would have been George. We were in a number of those early in the game that would have been for George. It just turned out it was Ito."
Former Miami Hurricanes coach Larry Coker is the Roadrunners head coach.
Mullen said, "Coach Coker has done a great job. He did a great job at Miami. It is not easy to start a program and then jump right into Division I. They had a tremendous year last year. That is not easy. They are always well prepared. It is not like they are doing unsound things. They have just had some unfortunate things happen to them at the quarterback position."