HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - Southern Miss allowed the fewest amount of points in program history since 2011, but head coach Todd Monken was unhappy after his team's 52-6 win over the Austin Peay Crusaders Saturday.
His anger, however, wasn't directed at his players. It was at the fans who didn't show up to witness the Golden Eagles' first victory of the 2015 season.
Southern Miss struggled in the first quarter, racking up just 22 offensive yards.
USM led 7-6 after 15 minutes of play, but scored the game's final 45 points en route to the largest margin of victory since a 52-6 win over Southeastern Louisiana almost four years ago.
Junior quarterback Nick Mullens finished the game with 275 yards passing and four total touchdowns, while running back Ito Smith was responsible for 184 total yards and two touchdowns. Southern Miss senior Kalan Reed also returned an interception for a touchdown.
"I thought our guys played awfully hard," Monken said in a postgame press conference. "I thought [wide receivers coach] John Wozniak did a great job addressing our guys about who are we. He framed it as, 'Are we a thermometer or are we a thermostat?'
"A thermostat controls its surroundings. It's at that degree constantly. Or are we thermometers that goes (sic) up and down and we don't control our surroundings? It just tells you what the temperature is depending on who we're playing."
One week after setting an attendance record in a 34-16 loss to Mississippi State, the announced crowd of 23,042 wasn't big enough to make Monken content.
"Let's just say it like it is. I didn't come here to be the head coach to have that kind of showing by our fan base," Monken said. "Is our fan base going to be a thermometer, or are they going to be a thermostat? Are they going to be a part of this 'to the top' together, or not? Because that's what I bought into -- the Rock and our fanbase showing up to support this team that's fought like hell for three years to get to this point.
"Are we perfect? No. We are not. We have a lot of work to do. They want to see this program get back to the top? We need everybody; myself, our players and our fanbase."
The next two games for Southern Miss with Texas State (Sept. 19) and Nebraska (Sept. 26) will be on the road. The next scheduled home game is set for October 3 when the Golden Eagles welcome in the North Texas Mean Green for the first Conference USA matchup of the season.