Kwadra Griggs made his first start as Southern Miss’ quarterback Saturday night, and passed the test.
With the Golden Eagles beating Southern University 45-0, Griggs became the first Southern Miss starting quarterback other than Nick Mullens to win a game since the 2011 season.
Against the Jaguars, Griggs, a redshirt junior, completed 15 of 23 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns.
He continued his good play from a week ago, when he entered the game on the final play of the first half and wound up completing 15 of 26 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns against Kentucky.
And he didn’t play like a newcomer.
“I’ve been playing ball since I was 7. I still get butterflies at times,” Griggs said. “When I get that first throw, that first hit, I’ll be OK.
“I spent a year out of football so last week was my first time to be on the field in a while. I got a little comfortable this week. Looked at film a lot this week with my coach and they showed me where to throw the ball when (the Jaguars) do this or when they do that.”
Griggs, like the entire Southern Miss team, started Saturday’s game on fire. He completed 10 of 11 passes for 117 yards in the first quarter, and the Eagles led 28-0.
At halftime, it was 35-0. When Griggs left the game in the third quarter, in favor of Keon Howard, who started in the loss to Kentucky, Southern Miss led 42-0 and he was clearly the man for the job.
“I thought he played well,” Southern Miss head coach Jay Hopson said. “There’s still a competition (between Griggs and Howard), but I thought he did a good job. He’s got to continue to keep going. He’s a savvy football player. He did a good job directing our offense. I was pleased to see that.”
Griggs completed passes to nine different Golden Eagle receivers, but there was no doubt which one was his favorite. It was a 26-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman Quez Watkins with 5:53 to go in the second quarter.
“I would say the one to Quez Watkins,” Griggs said. “He made a double move and made a play for me. He has incredible hands.”
Griggs didn’t play a perfect game. He fumbled the ball deep in Southern University territory, and that haunted him after the game.
“I’m satisfied with the win but I think we could have done a lot more,” he said. “We left a lot of points on the field. The guys were pumped. It feels real good to get a ‘W.’ We’ll try to get more.”