HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) _ For the first time in 14 years, the University of Southern Mississippi football schedule will be without Marshall University.
And now, unless it takes places in Conference USA’s championship football game, the teams will not renew a fairly keen rivalry honed over 13 consecutive games for at least six years.
Once long-time C-USA East rivals, USM and Marshall now reside in opposite divisions, and with the league’s two-year, cross-division kicking in, the Golden Eagles will be facing a pair of new East Division foes this fall.
Marshall and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte will fall off USM’s schedule, replaced by Western Kentucky University and Florida Atlantic University for 2019.
USM will welcome Western Kentucky to Hattiesburg for the first time as the teams meet for just the third time.
The previous two meeting took place in Bowling Green, Ky., with the Hilltoppers taking a 42-17, non-conference victory in 2012 and a 44-31 win in the 2015 C-USA championship game.
The Golden Eagles will make their football debut in Boca Raton, Fla., in 2019, as USM and Owls meet for just the second time. FAU crushed the Golden Eagles 41-7 at M.M. Roberts Stadium in 2013.
C-USA’s cross-division opponents for the next two seasons are part of an eight-year rotation that will see every school from one division play every school from the other division, home and away, by the end of the cycle.