Whatley's rushing touchdown, a 1-yard keeper with 7:13 to play, capped a 13-play, 94-yard drive that chewed up 6 minutes, 23 seconds, proved to be the difference. A missed extra point made it 26-17.
Marshall scored on a 15-yard pass from Isaiah Green to Artie Henry with 1:11 left but the Golden Eagles (4-4, 3-2 Conference USA) recovered the onside kick.
After both teams managed first-quarter field goals, Brenden Knox picked up a Zac Everett fumble and returned it 8 yards for a touchdown to give Marshall a 10-3 lead with 5:04 left in the second quarter. Whatley connected with Quez Watkins for a 4-yard score to tie the game with 48 seconds left before halftime. The Golden Eagles added another touchdown 15 seconds later when Jacques Turner forced a fumble when he sacked Isaiah Green allowing Yancey to pick it up and race 17 yards to the end zone to put Southern Miss up 17-10 at the break.
The Thundering Herd (5-3, 3-2) evened the score midway through the third quarter on an Anthony Anderson 2-yard TD run. Parker Shaunfield's 23-yard field goal put Southern Miss up 20-17 heading into the final quarter.
The Golden Eagles had just 222 yards of offense, while Marshall managed 249. Marcel Williams had seven catches for 139 yards for the Thundering Herd.
UCF coach Heupel: We're not proud to come close to CFP
Josh Heupel says that his UCF team doesn't take much pride in coming close to making the College Football Playoff.
Appalachian State hiring NC State's Eli Drinkwitz as head coach
NC State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eli Drinkwitz has agreed to a five-year deal as head coach of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Your guide to every bowl game
Before we get beyond Christmas to the playoff, there will be plenty of action worth watching, including Fresno State's Marcus McMaryion against Arizona State and a Wisconsin-Miami matchup in which both teams have a lot to prove.
Decide where the No. 1 recruit will impact college football most
Five-star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux will announce his college decision Saturday, and will make any team he chooses better. The question is where he'll have the best opportunity to flourish.
The most intriguing 2019 NFL draft prospects in all 40 bowl games
Kyler Murray vs. a super-talented Alabama defense. QB prospects with one last chance to impress. Watch these future NFL players this bowl season.
Woodson announced as 1997 Heisman winner
Michigan's Charles Woodson is named the winner of the 1997 Heisman Trophy, the first primary defensive player to ever win the award.