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Herd focuses on So. Miss

Oct. 30, 2013 @ 12:15 AM

HUNTINGTON — It would be easy for the Marshall University football team to get a bit distracted this week and go into Saturday's game against Southern Miss without complete focus.

Marshall is coming off a tough loss on the final play at Middle Tennessee that knocked the Thundering Herd to 4-3 for the season and 2-1 in Conference USA, and is facing a Southern Miss (0-7 season, 0-3 conference) team that last won a game in the 2011 season.

Head coach Doc Holliday said the game plan to win is the same as it is each week -- with games being won in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Holliday expects his team to be completely focused on the task at hand of taking it one game at a time, beginning with the noon Saturday matchup with the Golden Eagles in Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Despite Southern Miss' 19-game losing streak coming in, Holliday said his team has to be wary of the talent-rich Golden Eagles and take care of business at home.

"You look at that Southern Miss team and you see guys by the name of Thornton out there (senior nose guard Khyri Thornton) that started against us two years ago when they were 13-2 and a running back by the name of Hardy (Kendrick Hardy) out there that played a significant role on that team," Holliday said. "You see a lot of athletes running around out there and they are a very dangerous team."

Southern Miss comes into the contest having lost each of its last two contests by scores of 55-14 to East Carolina and North Texas.

Last week, Southern Miss coach Todd Monken made a switch at quarterback and started true freshman Nick Mullens to try and spark his offense a bit.

The youth movement is rampant for the Golden Eagles, who are trying to build for the future in Monken's first year. Of 74 players who have seen the field in 2013, 38 of those players are sophomores (18) or freshmen (20).

"When you are playing a lot of young kids like that, they make mistakes," Holliday said. "Freshmen do make freshman mistakes. The thing he sees in those young kids that he's playing is that they have talent and they are going to get better and they're going to keep coaching them. It's a credit to him and his staff."

Holliday named his captains for this week with two being returnees and two being newcomers, increasing the number of players to serve as captains to 16 this season.

Center Chris Jasperse is a captain for the sixth consecutive week while fellow offensive lineman Alex Schooler also was named an offensive captain. They were two of the five linemen who played the entire game offensively without subbing out, running 89 snaps in last week's loss to Middle Tennessee.

Defensively, the captains include cornerback Monterius Lovett, who returns for his third week of being a captain. Joining him is linebacker Evan McKelvey, who is making his first appearance as a captain.

McKelvey finished with 12 tackles last week with 10 being solo stops.

"Evan McKelvey is a guy that's played extremely well for us and this will be his first shot," Holliday said.

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