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Southern Miss Continues Stingy Run Defense with a Stout Defensive Line

Nov. 8, 2017

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - It takes a strong defensive front to stop a running game.

Southern Miss depends on a rotation of 10 different defensive linemen to stuff its opponents’ run game and they have enjoyed some success in that area this season.

The Golden Eagles, which enter their weekend game at 5-4 overall and 3-2 in Conference USA against Rice, hold their opponents to 124.0 yards on the ground per contest this season. Four times they have limited foes to under 100 yards on the ground, including a season-low 17 rushing yards to UTEP. Last week, Southern Miss held one of the better rushing teams in the Southeastern Conference, Tennessee, to just 95 yards on the ground.

Five of the Golden Eagle defensive lineman have at least 25 tackles during the season starting with senior Xavier Thigpen, who has tallied the most of any lineman with 30 stops. Thigpen also leads the team in tackles for loss with 7.0, while he has also posted three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Junior LaDarius Harris is next on the defensive line in tackles with 28 with five tackles for loss and a sack, while senior Draper Riley has put together 27 stops with four tackles for loss. Fellow senior Rod Crayton had 25 tackles and junior Darian Yancey has 24 to lead the guys up front.

The Golden Eagles also have notched at least five tackles for loss as a team in each of the nine games in 2017, including a season-high 13 against North Texas.

Southern Miss tried to keep that trend alive this weekend when they travel to Houston for a C-USA West Division showdown against the Owls at Rice Stadium. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m., and can be seen on Stadium on Facebook.

Single game and group tickets still remain for the final regular-season home contest, Nov. 18, against Charlotte, and can be purchased by going online at, by calling 1-800-844-TICK (8425) or by visiting the Pat Ferlise Ticket Office, weekdays, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.  Discounts are available for Southern Miss faculty and staff, senior citizens, military personnel, and recent Southern Miss graduates. 

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