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C-USA Players Of The Week: Mullens & Thompson

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Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens, pictured against Nebraska, accounted for six touchdowns as the Golden Eagles snapped a 23-game losing streak. Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images.
Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens, pictured against Nebraska, accounted for six touchdowns as the Golden Eagles snapped a 23-game losing streak. Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images.

Let the confetti fly. Play the music. Start the parade. Why you ask? The Southern Miss Golden Eagles FINALLY won a game! They pounded UAB, 62-27, in the final game of the year, on the road no less. It’s not great to be a Blazers fan right now.

Another headline from this weekend was Marshall mashing ECU, 59-28, to claim the East Division crown in a surprising blowout. Who were the players who shined in the final game of the regular season in C-USA?

Offense

Jeremiah Bryson, RB, MTSU: 15 carries, 120 rushing yards, 2 TDs vs. UTEP

Brandin Boyd, RB, North Texas: 26 carries, 251 rushing yards, 3 TDs vs. Tulsa (only nine players in FBS football had more yards in a single game this season)

Nathan Jeffrey, RB, UTEP: 20 carries, 140 rushing yards, 2 TDs vs. MTSU

Nick Mullens, QB, Southern Miss: 24/39, 370 passing yards, 6 total TDs vs. UAB (ties school record with five touchdown passes)

Tommy Shuler, WR, Marshall: 9 rec., 147 receiving yards vs. ECU

Essray Taliaferrero, RB, Marshall: 26 carries, 161 rushing yards vs. ECU

Defense

Adarius Barnes, DB, Louisiana Tech: 5 tackles, 1 INT, 1 TD vs. UTSA

Gary Thompson, DL, Marshall: 2 INTs, 1 TD, 2 quarterback hurries, 1 pass breakup vs. ECU

Mike Marshall, DB, North Texas: 2 blocked kicks vs. Tulsa (first player in school history to block two punts in one game)

Offensive Player Of The Week

It has been a great year for Conference USA Offensive Players of the Week and it was my pleasure to bring these great players to you every week of this long and grueling season. This may have been the toughest decision yet. As much as I wanted to go with Boyd and his amazing running ability against UTEP, I have to side with the player who prevented very bad history.

Nick Mullens is Football.com’s Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week. The hometown kid from Hoover, Ala., had a magical homecoming versus a team he grew up watching. If it wasn’t for the freshman’s playmaking, Southern Miss would be 0-12 and the laughing stock of the country. They still may be but 1-11 is so much better.

Mullens’ four touchdown tosses in the second half helped the Golden Eagles comeback on the road and sheds a little hope on next season.

Defensive Player Of The Week

Any player who puts up two interceptions and takes one of them to the house has a great chance to be the player of the week. But when a defensive lineman puts up those numbers, the choice is simple: Gary Thompson is the is Football.com’s Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week.

When Shane Carden and the high-powered offense drew up the game plan, they didn’t expect a lineman to fill the passing lanes. Thompson’s two interceptions gave the Thundering Herd a 25-point lead in the third quarter and made potent ECU offense one-dimensional. He may have an ordinary name, but his play was extraordinary.

Gary Thompson also had a pass breakup and two quarterback hurries. This defensive performance put an exclamation point on the turnaround on that side of the ball from last season. Hats off to defensive coordinator Chuck Heater for bringing it the entire season.