Southern Miss heads to conference play with 2-2 record

Whoever said extra points are automatic must not be familiar with Southern Miss senior Daz McCullum.

"I just knew we had to make a play. I knew [Rakeem] Nunez had been getting pressure on field goal blocks so I said, 'Nunez, you just make the pressure and I'm going to block it.'"

With Saturday's victory against the Appalachian State Mountaineers, USM has already eclipsed their win total from last season.

"You never stop fighting. All the way to the last play," said head coach Todd Monken. "That's been a staple of those guys. If you've watched our guys up front throughout four games, they've never taken a PAT or field goal off."

Sophomore running back George Payne accounted for all three of the Golden Eagles touchdowns, none of them easier than the game winner in the 4th quarter.

"I didn't think Nick saw me at first so I was waving my hand making sure he saw me, but that was a perfect play call by the coaches," said Payne.

"The safety blitzed and the linebacker blitzed, so I was just left wide open. I don't think anybody was in ten yards of me."

With a 2-2 mark heading into conference play, Monken said this is exactly where his team needs to be.

"When you're building, you'll take every win. You've got to scratch and claw and they weren't going to just give it to you. You can't scoreboard watch, you can't wait for someone else to make a play."

"Guys have got to go make plays and we've got to put them in the right position to do that. It's everything. It's us, it's them, it's everybody collectively."

Southern Miss takes on Rice at M.M. Roberts stadium this Saturday at 6 p.m.