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Marshall pummels Southern Miss, moves to 9-0

Nov 9, 2014 - 7:25 AM Hattiesburg, MS ( - Rakeem Cato threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as 23rd-ranked Marshall steam rolled Southern Miss, 63-17, to remain unbeaten.

Cato completed 13-of-19 passes for 186 yards as the Thundering Herd (9-0, 5-0 C-USA) moved one step closer towards a perfect season.

Marshall was without star running back Devon Johnson, who was held out with an injury, but Remi Watson, Steward Butler and Cato were able to carry the load. Watson scored three times on the ground, Butler carried five times for 118 yards and two touchdowns and Cato picked up 92 yards on nine runs.

"We had a little adversity early on," Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. "We came back from that and played well throughout the rest of the game."

Tommy Shuler and Watson had touchdown grabs for Marshall, which has won every game this season by at least 15 points.

Ito Smith gained 141 yards on 27 carries and scored two first-quarter touchdowns for Southern Miss (3-7, 1-5), which saw backup quarterback Cole Weeks complete 11 passes to nine different receivers. Weeks got his second straight start in place of injured starter Nick Mullens.

Southern Miss landed the first blow, as Smith carried 10 times and Weeks completed all three of his passes during a 13-play drive. Jalen Richard's 19- yard completion highlighted the trek and Smith capped it with a short TD run.

Tez Parks then recovered a surprise onsides kick and the Golden Eagles found the end zone for a second time. Smith ran five times for 37 yards, scoring again from two yards out.

"If we would have gotten that other one, we would have kicked another one after we scored. We are not good enough in one given area to compete against a team like that," Southern Miss coach Todd Monken said.

Marshall then ran off 21 straight points to take control. Cato hit Watson for a short TD pass late in the first quarter. Southern Miss then went three- and-out, and on the first play of the second, Butler busted through the hole for a 30-yard touchdown.

Watson capped a short drive on the next possession with his 7-yard touchdown run.

Corey Acosta's 35-yard field goal made it 21-17, but Cato's 2-yard TD to Shuler sent the Herd into halftime with a 28-17 lead.

Jermaine Holmes recovered a Weeks fumble early in the third quarter and Cato put a stamp on the ensuing drive with his 10-yard QB keeper.

Weeks lost another fumble on the next USM series and again Marshall capitalized, turning the turnover into points. Cato had runs of 14 and 33 yards to set up Watson's 7-yard score.

Butler busted out an 83-yard touchdown early in the fourth. Watson and Tony Pittman added touchdown runs to cap another dominant win.

Game Notes

Marshall has won four straight meetings with Southern Miss ... Cato has thrown a touchdown pass in 41 consecutive games. Cato also broke Chad Pennington's program record for completions and pass attempts ... Marshall ran for 335 yards. Southern Miss had held its last three opponents to 245 combined rushing yards ... Marshall has three regular-season games remaining on its schedule.