Inside Marshall Sports

Hello, Herd fans!

Is it basketball season yet?

The overlap has begun, which is good and bad. Being from Charleston, I juggle the two sports until the end of November, longer in bowl years.

Sure looking like the end of November, doesn’t it?

But … I’ve seen crazier stuff happen from Conference USA football teams. The 2006 Rice team started 1-5 and won the next 6; the 2008 Southern Miss team lost 5 in a row to fall to 2-6, the won the last 5 including the bowl game.

You’re welcome for that ray of hope. Maybe it will survive this prediction.

First, Southern Miss is coming out of an off week, the first of 3 such MU opponents to be doing so. On top of that, the Golden Eagles are coming off two decisive losses, including a 55-32 thumping at Texas-San Antonio and a 45-10 loss to Louisiana State. (I hate “LSU” used on first reference.)

It has been a long 3 weeks for those guys. They should be a little upset. So should the Herd, for that matter.

The way I’m seeing it: The Eagles’ Ito Smith and others will be effective on the ground, and an improved offensive line will keep the Herd’s pass rush off of Nick Mullens. That will spell trouble — if Mullens gets his 2.5-3 seconds to properly scan his options, anybody’s pass defense is toast.

How does the Herd overcome all that? Turnovers — Southern Miss has 16 this season, with a minus-8 margin. If the Herd goes plus-2, the door should be open … or shut again by all those pesky penalties.

Home field doesn’t always mean much in this series, but I have to think the Eagles are foaming at the mouth for the chance to end their 2-game winning streak — and the 5-game skid against the Herd.