Southern Miss Football Returns to Bowl Eligibility with Win Over UTEP

USM is bowl-eligible for the first time since 2011.

Hattiesburg, Miss. — The Golden Eagles extended their winning streak to three games with a 34-13 win over UTEP on Saturday.

Southern Miss Football Report: Nov. 1, 2015

Record 6-3, 4-1 C-USA

Last Week

W, 34-13, UTEP* (Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium/Hattiesburg, Miss./25,581)

This Week

Idle (Next game: Nov. 14 at Rice*, 2:30 p.m./ASN)

Offensive Player of the Week Nomination

Junior WR D.J. Thompson (6-3, 200, Pearl, Miss.)

The junior wide receiver caught a career-best 10 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-13 win over UTEP. Those two touchdown receptions for Thompson, of 27 and 10 yards, were a career-best Thompson, who caught both scoring grabs in the second half. Thompson’s catch total was the first double-digit catch game for the Golden Eagles since Tyre’oune Holmes tallied 12 against Texas State on Aug. 31, 2013. Three of Thompson’s catches came on third-down conversions.

Defensive Player of the Week Nomination

Senior DB Kalan Reed (5-11, 195, Birmingham, Ala.)

Kalan Reed tied a season-best nine tackles against UTEP (eight solos) with one of those tackles for a loss of two yards. He additionally notched a forced fumble, his first of the year, and added a pass breakup. Reed is third on the team in tackles this season with 36 and has a team-best three interceptions, including two for a touchdown.

Notes

  • Southern Miss captured its third victory in a row, the most since winning the final three games of the 2011 season, in its triumph over UTEP on Saturday.
  • The win gave Southern Miss six victories, making them bowl eligible for the first time since that 2011 season. Southern Miss has won at least six games in 19 of the last 22 seasons.
  • In the spirit of Halloween on Saturday, the Golden Eagles wore their all-black uniforms, while the Miners wore all-orange uniforms. It was the school’s annual BLACKOUT game.It was the Golden Eagles’ first win over the Miners in Hattiesburg in three tries and the series is now tied at 4-4.
  • Nick Mullens threw four touchdown passes for the second consecutive contest and for the fourth time overall this season to improve his TD pass total to 25 this season. His latest four TD performance propelled him into second on the single-season charts in that category. He now trails only Austin Davis, who threw for 30 scores in 2011.
  • Mullens now has thrown for a touchdown in 11-straight games and senior Mike Thomas registered his fifth consecutive game with a TD reception by scoring the team’s initial TD of 11 yards. Mullens also eclipsed the 200-yard passing plateau for the 23rd time in his three-year career. The junior stands alone in second place for 200-yard passing games, trailing only Austin Davis (32, 2008-11). Mullens finished the game with 277 passing yards, giving him 2,890 for the season and 7,136 in his career. Mullens passed Jeff Kelly (1998-01) for fourth in school history in passing yards and is now 206 yards behind Dustin Almond (2002-05), who is in third place in the Golden Eagles’ all-time career list with 7,342.
  • Running back Ito Smith finished the game with 104 yards rushing. For Smith, it was his third 100-yard rushing game of the season and the fifth of his two-year career. Teammate Jalen Richard tallied 127 yards on the ground, marking the third consecutive game with 100 yards rushing. It is the fourth-time this season Richard has eclipsed 100 yards in a game. It also marked the second time this season that the two Southern Miss players have each rushed for 100 or more yards in the same game.
  • The game was halted due to inclement weather in the Hattiesburg area for one hour, 27 minutes at the start of the fourth quarter. It was the first time since 2009 against Tulsa the Golden Eagles had a game delayed because of weather.
  • The Golden Eagle defense limited the Miners to just 298 yards of total offense, marking the fourth-straight game Southern Miss limited its opponents to under 300 yards of offense.

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