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Watson leads No. 23 Marshall past Southern Miss

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Rakeem Cato threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score, leading No. 23 Marshall to a 63-17 victory over Southern Mississippi on Saturday night.

Cato was 13 for 19 for 186 yards, helping the Herd (9-0, 5-0 Conference USA) shake off a slow start. Remi Watson scored four touchdowns.

The Golden Eagles (3-7, 1-5) jumped to a 14-0 lead on a pair of first-quarter touchdown runs for Ito Smith, who finished with career-high 141 yards on 27 carries. But Marshall then scored 28 of the final 31 points in the first half.

Cato passed to Watson for a 2-yard touchdown with 54 seconds left in the first quarter. Steward Butler then had a 30-yard touchdown run and Watson scored again on a 7-yard run, making it 21-14 with 11:59 to go in the half.

Cato’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Shuler made it 28-17 at the break.

Marshall finished with 335 yards rushing while playing without starting running back Devin Johnson, who injured his left knee last week. Butler had 118 yards on five carries, including an 83-yard TD that made it 49-17 with 14:37 left in the game. Watson rushed for 49 yards and three TDs, and Cato had 92 yards on nine carries.

Tony Pittman capped the scoring with a 26-yard TD run with 3:29 to go.

Southern Miss got the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards for Smith’s 2-yard TD run. The Golden Eagles then recovered an onside kick, and Smith added a second 2-yard score.

But Southern Miss could only manage Corey Acosta’s 35-yard field goal in the second quarter the rest of the way.

Southern Miss quarterback Cole Weeks, starting for a second consecutive game in place of the injured Nick Mullens, was 11 of 19 for 114 yards with an interception. He also lost two fumbles.

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