USM’s Mullens to make first NFL start

Southern Miss’ all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns, Nick Mullens, will make his first NFL start tonight under the bright lights of Thursday Night Football when the San Francisco 49ers take on the Oakland Raiders.

Mullens’ start comes as backup-turned starter C.J. Beathard deals with a wrist injury. 

After throwing for nearly 12,000 yards and 87 touchdowns at USM, Mullens went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft but was picked up by San Francisco as a free agent.

After spending time on the practice squad, the Hoover, Alabama native was activated after starter Jimmy Garoppolo’s season-injury injury.

Earlier in the week, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan praised Mullens’ consistency, his ability to make decisions and his competitive nature, and he’s confident in his QB’s ability to step up. 

“Nick works his tail off, whether he was on the practice squad all of last year, some of this since he’s been the [backup], he’s a smart guy that works at it non-stop. He’ll be able to go in there, execute the offense and know what he’s doing,” he said.

The former Golden Eagle had an up and down preseason and played in all four games. In the limited action, Mullens went 31-43 for 396 yards with 1 TD and 3 INTs. He also added 2 rushing TDs. 

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.