No. 22 Nebraska pummels Southern Miss
Lincoln, NE (Sports Network) - Taylor Martinez tossed three touchdown passes and Ameer Abdullah ran for a pair of scores as 22nd-ranked Nebraska easily handled Southern Miss, 56-13.
Martinez completed 15-of-23 passes for 170 yards and ran for 34 yards on six carries. Abdullah gained 114 yards on the ground on 17 attempts while Quincy Enunwa, Kenny Bell and Sam Burtch all had a touchdown catch for Nebraska (2-0).
"It was very important just to get our rhythm going," Martinez said. "I think we did a pretty good job up front on offense."
Allan Bridgford went 21-of-35 passing for 222 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions in defeat for Southern Miss (0-2), which has not won a game since the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl against Nevada on Dec. 24, 2011.
"I don't care who we are playing, we are going to come to win and we didn't get that accomplished," Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken said. "There are no moral victories. We have to work on things to make us a better football team, and give us a chance to win."
The Cornhuskers outgained Southern Miss, 479-284.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste's second interception in as many games put Nebraska ahead 7-0 quickly when he returned Bridgford's errant throw 43 yards for the opening score.
After consecutive three-and-outs, Southern Miss marched down the field but had to settle for a 32-yard Corey Acosta field goal when they were flagged for two penalties in the red zone.
Enunwa reeled in his third touchdown reception of the season late in the first quarter to put Nebraska up 14-7. Martinez found Enunwa on 3rd-and-7 to extend the drive and five plays later hit him again from 16 yards out for the score.
On USM's first play of the ensuing drive, Bridgford was picked off yet again, this time by Ciante Evans, who returned it untouched 22 yards for the Cornhuskers' second defensive touchdown of the first quarter.
Both teams settled for punts on their first series of the second quarter before Nebraska executed a 14-play scoring drive, capped by Abdullah's 3-yard touchdown plunge. Martinez completed three third-down passes on the drive, including a 15-yard toss to Jordan Westerkamp on 3rd-and-9.
Acosta drilled his second field goal of the contest minutes before halftime but USM left Nebraska too much time. The Cornhuskers marched right down the field and with 12 seconds left, Martinez found Bell for a 21-yard score.
The Golden Eagles forced a quick Nebraska punt to open the second half and took advantage, scoring their first offensive touchdown when Bridgford went over the top and found Rickey Bradley for a 41-yard touchdown.
Nebraska scored a touchdown of its own moments later. Bell took the kickoff return 63 yards to the Southern Miss 37 and Abdullah gathered a pitch by Martinez and scampered down the right sideline for his second rushing score.
Evans' second pick of night set up Martinez's third touchdown strike, this one to Burtch from 26 yards out.
Imani Cross, who had 105 yards and two scores in a win over Wyoming last week, added a rushing touchdown 22 seconds into the fourth quarter for the final tally.
Nebraska now holds a 4-1 all-time series lead ... The Cornhuskers have won 10 straight home games dating back to 2011 ... Nebraska picked up 30 first downs while holding Southern Miss to 16 ... Nebraska gained 285 yards on the ground, marking the 14th time in its last 16 games to pick up at least 200 rushing yards ... DeBarriaus Miller recorded a game-high 14 tackles for USM.
09/07 23:14:06 ET