HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Having quality depth can go a long way for a team.
That certainly is the case for the Southern Miss defensive line that has rotated as many as 10 different players in a game this fall, demonstrating one of the reasons why that unit has enjoyed success this fall.
Southern Miss ranks No. 35 nationally in total defense, giving up 346.6 yards per game. The team, though, has been especially tough on opponents’ running game, limited them to 126.8 yards over the first five games.
The Golden Eagles (3-2 overall, 1-1 C-USA) look to continue that trend against UTEP this weekend, when they entertain the Miners at Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium this Saturday at 6 p.m., for the school’s homecoming tilt.
While the Miners have struggled on offense this season gaining just 231.7 yards of total offense per game, UTEP tallied a season-best 287 yards last weekend in a 15-14 home setback to WKU including a season-best 163 rushing.
In fact, the Miners rushing totals have gone up in each of their last three games and the Golden Eagles will have to stop that running attack to help them go after their third consecutive homecoming victory.
Senior Xavier Thigpen leads all defensive lineman with 17 stops to go along with four tackles for loss and two sacks, while sophomore Paxton Schrimsher, who has played most the season on the line, has registered 15 tackles with three for loss and a sack.
Senior Rod Crayton and junior LaDarius Harris also has posted 15 tackles each, while senior Draper Riley and junior Darian Yancey each hold 13 tackles to their credit. Freshman Jacques Turner holds 10 tackles, including 4.5 for loss with 2.5 sacks.
This group will be looked upon to control the line when UTEP has the ball in trying to help Southern Miss defeat the Miners for the third-straight time.