HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) -- Here's a switch. Nebraska went to the
air when it needed to put away Southern Mississippi.
Jammal Lord threw two long touchdowns less than two minutes
apart in the third quarter and the Cornhuskers (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 Associated Press)
surprised Southern Miss with its passing game in a 38-14 victory
They were Nebraska's first two TD passes of the season.
Lord was 6-for-14 for a season-high 124 yards and no
interceptions. He also ran for a score.
"It was obvious to us we wanted to get the passing game going.
We wanted to make some big plays in the passing game," Cornhuskers
coach Frank Solich said. "We were committed to throwing more. It
worked out well for us."
Playing in front of a record home crowd of 36,125, the Golden
Eagles never gave themselves a chance to pull the upset. Southern
Miss (2-2) committed five turnovers and the Cornhuskers (4-0)
turned the first three into touchdowns.
"They were better than us and they deserved to win," Golden
Eagles coach Jeff Bower said. "You can never win when you make
that many mistakes and turnovers."
Lord took plenty of criticism for his ineffective passing as the
Cornhuskers went 7-7 last season, their worst record in 40 years.
And Nebraska had all but abandoned the forward pass in its first
three games this season, throwing it an average of 13 times a game.
The Cornhuskers threw six passes in beating Penn State 18-10 in
their last game.
But when the Huskers needed a big play to regain momentum
against Southern Miss, they went to the air.
"I thought Jammal threw the deep ball very well today and that
became a factor for us," Solich said.
Southern Miss was fooled badly on a play-action fake by Lord and
let Ross Pilkington run free down the middle. Lord hit Pilkington
in stride for a 44-yard score that made it 24-7 with 9:51 left in
After Southern Miss fumbled away a snap, Lord went deep again.
This time he hit Isaiah Fluellen right between the numbers for a
43-yard score to make it 31-7 with 7:59 to go in the third.
"We were in straight man coverage and we didn't cover them.
That wasn't very smart," Bower said.
The Cornhuskers ran for 141 yards, less than half of what they
had been averaging per game.
"They were committing to the run, that was obvious," Solich
said. "We did try to run it enough to where when the big play
opportunity came in the pass we were able to get it done."
Nebraska's top-ranked defense, led by linebacker Demorrio
Williams, smothered the punchless Golden Eagles. Williams had 10
tackles, a sack and recovered a fumble.
Southern Miss, which was averaging 14 points a game coming in,
managed just 144 yards, eight first downs and one score against
Almond was 4-of-24 for 68 yards with two interceptions and two
fumbled snaps. He was replaced in the fourth quarter by promising
freshman Damion Carter, who delighted the crowd with a strong
performance against mostly backups.
Carter completed his first six passes and finished 14-for-17 for
143 yards and a touchdown.
It would have been hard to imagine a worse start to the game for
the 10-point underdog Golden Eagles.
Nebraska led 17-0 in the first quarter as the Golden Eagles
bumbled and stumbled through the first eight minutes.
The Golden Eagles turned it over twice, shanked a punt and set
the Cornhuskers up in Southern Miss territory on their first three
Almond fumbled the snap on the fifth play from scrimmage and
Nebraska recovered at the Golden Eagles 29.
The Cornhuskers needed just four running plays -- and the help of
a late hit by Southern Miss -- to take the lead.
Lord went around left end for a touchdown to make it 7-0 less
than four minutes into the game.
Josh Bullocks' interception and 41-yard return set up a 3-yard
touchdown run by David Horne that put Nebraska up 17 with 7:12 left
in the first quarter.
Special teams got the Golden Eagles back in the game just before
Marvin Young, who returned a punt 87 yards for a TD in his last
game, broke free for a 37-yard return late that set up a 1-yard TD
run by Timmy Blackwell to make it 17-7.
Nebraska won away from Lincoln for just the second time in the
last nine games.