HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- No one had Marshall's defense to kick around Saturday night, especially not Southern Mississippi.
For the first six games of the season, the Thundering Herd defense had been bruised and battered, both by opposing offenses and by criticism from the outside.
Against the Golden Eagles, it was Marshall that did the bruising and battering.
The Herd piled up turnovers and attacked Southern Miss quarterbacks, stifling the Golden Eagles' defense for the majority of Marshall's 59-24 win at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
Marshall (3-4, 2-1 Conference USA) snapped a two-game losing streak thanks in large part to a defense that accomplished goals it couldn't reach in this season's first half.
By the time Marshall entered its bye week, its defense was ranked last in the Football Bowl Subdivision in points allowed and was growing weary of answering the questions about how the unit could turn things around.
"I had to stop reading the newspaper for a couple of weeks," defensive lineman Brandon Sparrow said.
Sparrow led the defensive charge, sacking quarterback Anthony Alford twice and notching another tackle for loss. Marshall's defense sacked Alford three times in all, its first multi-sack game of the season.
The Herd also scored its first multi-turnover game of the year. Monterius Lovett intercepted a pass and Marshall also recovered two fumbles.
The first came at the start of the second quarter, when Alford let a shotgun snap bounce off his facemask and Jermaine Holmes recovered. The second came near the end of the third quarter, with Southern Miss driving in Marshall's red zone.
Billy Mitchell, playing for the first time this season after recovering from a concussion, stripped Southern Miss running back Tyre Bracken as he was closing in on the goal line.
The ball bounced into MU's end zone and Armonze Daniel recovered for a touchback.