Southern Miss Dominates Savannah State in Home Opener

USM held Savannah State to 41 yards on 42 plays on Saturday -- a new Conference USA record.

The following is an official press release courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics.

Southern Miss Football Report: Sept. 11, 2016

Record 2-0, 0-0 C-USA

Last Week

*W, 56-0, vs. Savannah State (Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium/Hattiesburg, Miss./29,509)

This Week

*Saturday, Sept. 17 vs. Troy, 6 p.m. CT (M.M. Roberts Stadium/Hattiesburg, Miss./36,000, TV – beIN Sports, Matt Martucci, play-by-play; Brett Romberg, analyst; Jordan Daigle, sidelines)

Offensive Player of the Week Nomination

Junior RB Ito Smith (5-9, 195, Mobile, Ala.)

*Rushed for 128 yards on eight carries and established a Roberts Stadium record with the longest run in the facility’s history, an 86-yard touchdown dash, which is also the longest run of his career. It was his second 100-yard game of the season and 10th of his career, moving him into fifth place on the school career charts by himself for games rushing over the century mark. He leads the team in rushing this season with 301 yards, averaging 6.8 yards per carry.

Defensive Player of the Week Nomination

Redshirt Junior DL Derrick Dixon (6-3, 240, Lancaster, Pa.)

*Registered a team-high tying five tackles with a half sack and 2.5 tackles for loss of the team’s 11 against Savannah State.

Special Teams Player of the Week Nomination

Junior WR Allenzae Staggers (6-1, 190, Woodville, Miss.)

*Registered a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown for the first of his career. He finished the night with four returns for 85 yards. It was his first punt return for a touchdown as a Golden Eagle. It was the first punt return for a touchdown by a Golden Eagle since Tracy Lampley returned one at East Carolina in 2011.

Notes

* Southern Miss improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2009 with its victory over Savannah State.

* It was the program’s first-ever win over a MEAC school and the first between it and Savannah State in the initial meeting between the two schools.

* Southern Miss has won two of its last three home openers and is now 14-3 in those games since 2000.

* The Golden Eagles recorded their first shutout since blanking Alcorn State 52-0 on Sept. 5, 2009.

* The 49 points that Southern Miss scored in the first half tied for the most in school history. It ties the halves against UAB in 2008 and 2013.

* Ito Smith and George Payne each rushed for 100-plus yards for the second consecutive game. It marks the first time Southern Miss has had a duo accomplish the feat since 2008. In that 2008 stretch, Tory Harrison (137) and V.J. Floyd (114) made their mark against UAB a week after Austin Davis (121) and Damion Fletcher (100) did so versus Memphis.

* The 41 yards allowed against Savannah State marked the fewest surrendered to an opponent in Conference USA history. It was the fewest yards allowed by the team since surrendering 85 to Tulane in 2006.

* Ja’Boree Poole recorded a 15-yard sack, his second straight game with a QB takedown. Xavier Thigpen has also accomplished the feat.

* Dylan Bradley’s blocked FG was the first of the season. Last blocked FG since Elijah Parker did so against Nebraska in 2015.

* The Golden Eagles renew their series with Troy this week, holding a 7-1 overall record in the series. In the last meeting, Southern Miss’ Michael McGee blocked a field goal in overtime to preserve a 30-27 victory in the 2008 New Orleans Bowl.

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