Southern Miss

Southern Miss races past Southern University behind huge 1st quarter

Southern Miss Golden Eagles defensive lineman Xavier Thigpen (32) recovers a fumble in the end zone by Southern University Jaguars quarterback Glendon McDaniel (12) for the first Golden Eagles touchdown during the game between Southern Miss and Southern University at M.M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS, Saturday, September 9, 2017.
Southern Miss Golden Eagles defensive lineman Xavier Thigpen (32) recovers a fumble in the end zone by Southern University Jaguars quarterback Glendon McDaniel (12) for the first Golden Eagles touchdown during the game between Southern Miss and Southern University at M.M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS, Saturday, September 9, 2017. Special to The Sun Herald

Saturday's Southern Miss-Southern University football game was over quicker than T'Rod Daniels in the 40-yard dash.

A 49-yard touchdown run by Daniels gave the Golden Eagles a 28-0 lead with 3:22 still remaining in the first quarter as USM rolled to a 45-0 victory Saturday night before an announced crowd of 24,337.

Daniels barreled through an attempted tackle and raced up the sideline for his first touchdown as a Golden Eagle, giving fans a glimpse of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College product's much hyped speed.

Daniels knows he's fast and he's not afraid to brag about it.

"I got all the speeds," Daniels said back in August. "I can run track. I've got the 40, game speed. I can just do it all."

After being held to 3 yards on three carries by Kentucky last week, Daniels broke free for 83 yards on 10 rushes to lead USM on the ground.

"I just had to score," Daniels said of his touchdown run. "I know I've been getting less carries. They might pull me out every now and then so I was like I've got to make this one count.

"They called my favorite play and I was like I ain't going down. A sniper is going to have to take me out. I've got to score. When I got to the edge, I was just spinning. It's hard to hit somebody when they're constantly moving. I came out of there and I saw the pylon. I was like it's over and nobody is going to catch me. I just had to turn those jets on."

Daniels wasn't the only Bassfield native to find his way into the end zone. Senior cornerback Cornell Armstrong picking off a Southern University pass and ran 46 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the second half, giving USM a 42-0 lead at the 14:37 mark of the third quarter.

The special teams unit put USM on the board first as Xavier Thigpen recovered a botched punt attempt in the SU end zone, giving the Golden Eagles a 7-0 lead at the 10:58 mark of the first quarter.

Everything came easy to the Golden Eagles during the first quarter as SU failed to get anything going on offense.

T'Rod Daniels had 83 yards rushing and a TD for Southern Miss in a 45-0 win over Southern University.

D’Iberville makes impact

With senior Austin Howard injured, SU had to go with true freshman Bubba McDaniel at quarterback and his inexperience showed. He finished 5-of-16 for 22 yards and two interceptions before being replaced in the second half by Darquez Lee.

McDaniel was consistently harassed on third down by USM redshirt freshman defensive end Jacques Turner, a native of D'Iberville. The 6-foot-1, 260-pound Turner had 1 1/2 sacks and tipped a pass that was picked off by Tarvarius Moore in the first quarter to set up a 20-yard touchdown toss from Griggs to Allenzae Staggers.

"They tried to cut block me and I just happened to get around him and I tipped it," Turner said. "I just feel like I want to make an impact. My coach knows I can get after the quarterback. I just pride myself on getting after the quarterback and giving 110 percent every time I go in on third down."

Turner's play has been noticed by head coach Jay Hopson.

"(Turner) played good," Hopson said. "He's a guy where he's kind of got that knack to make big plays. He had a big (tackle for lost yardage) last week and is making some plays. Jacques is doing good things."

Freshman Tyler Barnes, a former teammate of Turner's at D'Iberville, also got in on the action on special teams and at defensive back. He had five tackles for a three-way tie with Xavier Marion and Kelsey Douglas for the team lead.

"It doesn't surprise me," Turner said of Barnes' five tackles. "Tyler has always been a hard worker so I'm happy for him."

Redshirt junior Kwadra Griggs made his first career start at quarterback for USM and again proved productive in the passing game. He completed 15 of 23 yards for 209 yards and two touchdowns after starting 10-of-11 in the game.

The only mistakes for USM in the first half were a lost fumble by Griggs and a missed 24-yard field goal by Parker Shaunfield.

Sophomore Keon Howard, who started the 24-17 loss to Kentucky in the season opener, replaced Griggs with 4:31 left in the third quarter. Howard finished 5-of-9 passing for 71 yards with a lost fumble.

Hopson said that there was "still a competition" at quarterback.

After he was bottled up by Kentucky last week, USM senior running back Ito Smith ran 17 times for 77 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

USM (1-1) will travel to Louisiana-Monroe (0-1) for a 6 p.m. game on Saturday. ULM did not play on Saturday due to its game at Florida State being called off due to the threat of Hurricane Irma.

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