HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens has been consistent since opening the season against Mississippi State. Despite a loss to the Bulldogs, Mullens was able to throw the ball all over the football turf.
In Saturday's 49-14 win over North Texas Saturday night in Hattiesburg, Mullens completed 27-of-36 passes for 325 yards and four touchdowns. He added another TD on the ground. Thanks to his performance in helping the Golden Eagles ring up a victory in the Conference USA opener, Mullens has been named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week.
Mullens also earned a "Star of the Week" honor by the Manning Award.
The Hoover, Alabama native has thrown at least one touchdown pass seven straight games and has passed at least 300 yards in the air in three consecutive games.
Mullens and his Golden Eagle teammates face a strong challenge Saturday night at 6:00 on the road at Marshall. The 4 and 1 Thundering Herd beat Old Dominion in their C-USA opener this past weekend.
Coach Todd Monken knows the Thundering Herd have plenty of talented players, despite losing key personnel from the 2014 Marshall team.
"First of all, it is hard to replace a Rakeem Cato or Tommy Shular who was a really good player, "stated Monken. "Those two guys plus working through third downs. They have had a couple of tailbacks banged up which is hard to get past. Bottom line is, it's hard to replace good players. It takes time. We have gone through that here. Offensively, they are still athletic on the perimeter and their quarterback has played well. Their first guy got banged up so now they are playing a red-shirt freshman that is a talented guy. They just haven't hit that spark like they have the last couple of years where they can roll 50 points on you in a hurry. Defensively, they are very athletic. They have good linebackers and a back end that is very active. They play zone principles with man in it. It will be a great challenge for us on the road but like I said we have gotten better and it's time to see where we are. This is another barometer. They have been at the top of the hill and now we get to see where we are."
Southern Miss can step a giant leap forward by beating Marshall on the road. Does Southern Miss have to rise up this weekend to defeat a very good Marshall football team?
"I don't know if there is any rising to the challenge, "said Monken. "I think we did some good things at Texas State and at Nebraska. We definitely have to do it better in a lot of areas to be able to play at Marshall. When you're on the road things are different. You are in a hotel, but you try to keep all the routines the same. You have to eliminate the mistakes. This week we didn't have any turnovers or pre-snap penalties and that's what you have to do."
Can Southern Miss fans expect to see the Golden Eagles run some trick plays?
Monken said, "We have run trick plays every game whether it's fake a punt or onside kicks. I don't see this any different. You have to do whatever you can to move the ball, score points and win the game. That's on offense, defense and special teams. You have to do whatever it takes to win."