Southern Miss squanders lead at Marshall, falls 26-20

HUNTINGTON, WV (WDAM)- Defensive breakdowns and an inconsistent offensive showing led to a blown 17-3 first-quarter lead for Southern Miss, and eventually, a 26-20 loss on the road at Marshall.

Trailing by 9 with 1:22 remaining in regulation, the black and gold still had a chance. The golden eagles (1-1) faced a fourth-and-ten from the Marshall (1-1) 10-yard line. Having the luxury of a clutch kicker and needing points, Southern Miss sent senior kicker Danny Hrapmann on to attempt a chip-shot 23-yarder, and the senior came through.

After nailing the field goal, the eagles needed to recover an on-sides kick and score a touchdown, which would have meant a one-point win. They only got one. Hrapmann struck the ball perfectly, and Southern Miss recovered the onside attempt, so senior quarterback Austin Davis and the offense lined up for one last shot with 1:18 left.

But two dropped passes later, the comeback ended after Davis forced a pass over the middle that was intercepted by Marshall's Monterius Lovett. Before the game-ending turnover, redshirt-sophomore Francisco Llanos dropped two passes that would have extended the drive. Ironic, considering Llanos provided two touchdowns in the first quarter, one being a highlight-reel worthy 90 yarder.

While Davis threw for over 300 yards and two scores, he also threw three interceptions. The offense, as a whole, turned the ball over six times. Aside from Davis's interceptions, three different golden eagles put the ball on the ground, all of which were recovered by the thundering herd.

Llanos led the way in receiving for Southern Miss, snatching five passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Tracy Lampley provided a spark in the return game, returning four kickoffs for 87 yards and 3 punts for 43 yards.

Next Saturday, the golden eagles return to 'The Rock' to face Southeastern Louisiana. Game time is set for 7:00 pm.