The group has stayed in each other's corners, offering encouragement as they tried to carry on the tradition that graduated seniors Aaron Dobson and Antavious Wilson - both in the Herd's top 10 in career receiving yards - laid out before them. But rather than constantly reminding themselves about what came before, Allen said the Marshall outside receivers focused on the present.
"We just focused on ourselves and winning those one-on-ones," Allen said. "We weren't even thinking about last year. Last year was good, but we're focusing on ourselves right now."
Their success opened things up for the receivers like Hoskins and Shuler who do their work underneath and across the middle. With the outside receivers needing to be accounted for, it kept Southern Miss' defense from double-teaming and bracketing Shuler and Hoskins. The two pulled in the other three of Marshall's six scoring receptions.
"If you've got outside guys doing well as well, everybody's in man now and everyone has one man on them, and I'll take my guys against anyone on one-on-ones," Smith said. "The outside guys winning make it easier on the inside guys."
Marshall's outside receivers accounted for 172 of the Herd's 332 passing yards and averaged 24.6 yards per catch. It helped the Herd to its most potent offensive game of the season and gives the group momentum heading into Saturday's game, where Marshall has a chance at a sixth win and bowl eligibility.
"It was a great feeling," Allen said. "This season has been a humbling experience, but finally we've gotten it back rolling."
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CATO WAS named the Conference USA offensive player of the week following his Southern Miss game performance. He tied his career best with five touchdown passes, four of those coming in the first quarter of Marshall's win over the Golden Eagles. It is Marshall's first football player of the week award this season.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.