HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - After leading their team to a spot in the Conference USA Championship game as West Division Champions and a return to bowl play, Southern Miss junior quarterback Nick Mullens earned C-USA Offensive Player of the Year honors Wednesday afternoon, while head coach Todd Monken garnered C-USA Coach of the Year. The awards were based on voting by the league's 13 head coaches, according to a news release issued by the University.
Mullens was named the Offensive Player of the Year after helping the Golden Eagles become the most improved program in the FBS with six wins.
With Mullens lead, the Golden Eagles have broken single-season school records for completions (312), passing yards (4,263), total offensive yards (6,758) and touchdowns (67), and points (528). He ranks second in the league in yards (4,145) and touchdown passes (36), placing sixth nationally in TD tosses, according to the release.
Mullens is the first Southern Miss player to be named Offensive Player of the Year in the school's 20-year history in the league.
In his third season coaching the Golden Eagles, Monken lead Southern Miss to the largest improvement in the FBS this season, increasing its win total by six games from 2014.
Monken led the program back to the C-USA Championship game after a three-year absence by winning the West Division with a 7-1 record during conference play, according to the release.
The Golden Eagles won six consecutive games to close the regular season to win the West Division title with a 9-4 overall record.
The Golden Eagles lead Conference USA in total defense (364.1 yards per game) and are second in total offense (519.8 yards per game). The Southern Miss offense has gone from scoring 19 points per game in 2014, to 40.6 points per game this season, scoring 50 points or more a school-record five times. That's an increase of more than 21 points. The Golden Eagle defense is allowing nearly 13 fewer points per game on average this season than it did a year ago at 24.2 per game, according to the news release.
Southern Miss placed a league-high 10 players on the C-USA All-Conference team, including four first-team and six second-team selections.
Monken will lead Southern Miss in the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 26 at historic Cotton Bowl Stadium against Pac-12 foe Washington. Kickoff is slated for 1:20 p.m. CST on ESPN.