Junior quarterback Kwadra Griggs threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start, and the Golden Eagles (1-1) scored in all three phases of the game to bounce back from a season-opening loss to Kentucky.
Southern Miss piled up 477 yards total offense and 27 first downs in a game that saw major player rotation through the first half and massive substitution in the second as the Golden Eagles _ members of the Football Bowl Subdivision _ stymied the Football Championship Subdivision Jaguars.
Senior defensive end Xavier Thigpen recovered a fumbled punt snap in the end zone for USMÕs first touchdown. It was the second career touchdown for Thigpen, who caught a 6-yard touchdown pass off a fake field goal against Rice in 2015.
Senior safety Tarvarius Moore set up USMÕs third score of the game when he intercepted a tipped pass at the Southern U 12-yard line. It was MooreÕs third career interception and his second takeaway of the season after recovering a fumble in the season opener against Kentucky.
Kwadra Griggs, who completed 15 of 23 passes Saturday and has yet to throw an interception in the first 49 attempts of his USM career. He helped the Golden Eagles to a 35-0 halftime lead with touchdown passes of 20 yards to senior Allenzae Staggers and 26 yards to freshman Quez Watkins.
Senior running back Ito Smith scored on a 27-yard for his 30th career rushing touchdown and junior TÕRod Daniels scored his first career USM touchdown on a 49-yard run.
Junior cornerback Cornell Armstrong returned his fourth career interception 46 yards for a touchdown on the first possession of the second half and Parker Shaunfield added a 28-yard field goal on the last play of the third quarter.
The JaguarsÕ offense, which played without injured starting quarterback Austin Howard, struggled throughout the game.
Southern U. (1-1) had minus 8 yards total offense in the first quarter and had to wait until just less than 10 minutes was left to play in second quarter to record its initial first down.
At gameÕs end, Southern U. had 140 yards total offense and seven first downs, failing to convert any of a dozen third-down opportunities.
Daniels led the Golden EaglesÕ rushers, picking up 83 yards on just 10 carries. Smith, who was limited to 37 yards rushing by the University of Kentucky last week, ran for 77 yards on 17 carries. Both runnersÕ longest runs of the evening came on their touchdowns.
Staggers, who was held without a catch in the Golden EaglesÕ opener, led USM with five catches for 62 yards. Freshman Jaylond Adams had two catches for 51 yards. After only four players caught a pass against Kentucky, 11 players had at least one catch Saturday and five players had two or more.