The 2017 regular season is winding down and the Marshall Thundering Herd will play host to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles Saturday in both teams’ regular season finales.
The Marshall Thundering Herd sits at 7-4 overall and 4-3 in C-USA play and will look to rebound from a disappointing 9-7 loss at UTSA on Nov. 18 with a win to head into postseason play with eight wins.
Southern Miss heads into this showdown with the Herd at 7-4 overall and 5-2 in C-USA play following a dominating 66-21 win over Charlotte at home on Nov. 18.
The Herd and the Golden Eagles have met every season since Marshall joined C-USA in 2005 with the series deadlocked at 6-6 after Southern Miss ended the Herd’s five-game winning streak in the series last season.
Both teams come in with identical records, but the odds are in the Herd’s favor in this game. Marshall is currently a 2.5-point favorite over Southern Miss and ESPN’s Football Power Index gives the Herd a 66.5 percent chance to get the win over the Golden Eagles on senior day.
A key matchup to look for in this game will be how well Marshall’s defense defends Southern Miss star running back Ito Smith. Smith has run roughshod on C-USA over the years and he currently has 1,171 rushing yards on the season with 12 rushing touchdowns.
If Smith gets going, it will put added pressure on not only the Herd’s defense, but the Herd’s offense that has been struggling lately and an offense that doesn’t know if it will have the services of the injured Tyre Brady and Marcel Williams back or not.
Both Marshall and Southern Miss are headed to bowl games, but ending the regular season with a win will be crucial in building momentum for that bowl game. Added motivation for the Herd will be trying to get a win for the seniors on senior day and getting revenge for a loss at Southern Miss in 2016.
The Herd has a chance to win the number of games it lost in 2016 if it wins out this season, but the Golden Eagles will look to gain momentum in their quest to win a second straight bowl game.
This series has seen some great games over the years and it’s safe to assume another could be on deck for two of the elder programs in an ever-changing C-USA.
Marshall and Southern Miss kickoff at 2:30 p.m. EST Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, West Virginia and the game will be televised by Stadium.