Middle Tennessee at Southern Mississippi

Middle Tennessee rolls past Southern Miss 42-21


HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) Middle Tennessee returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the first half Saturday afternoon as the Blue Raiders posted a 42-21 victory over winless Southern Miss.

Linebacker T.T. Barber gave MTSU (7-4, 5-2 Conference USA) a 7-0 lead with a 24-yard interception return with 6:56 left in the first quarter.

Then, after tying the game for Southern Miss with an 11-yard scoring strike to Dominique Sullivan, Nick Mullens sailed a pass that MTSU safety Kevin Byard intercepted and returned 51 yards to put the Blue Raiders on top for good.

MTSU won its fourth consecutive game. The Golden Eagles (0-11, 0-7) extended the Football Bowl Series' longest losing streak to 23 games, including a string of 11 home losses.

Southern Miss moved the ball effectively in the first quarter, outgaining MTSU 147 yards to 37 yards total offense. But an opening drive came up barren when Corey Acosta's 29-yard field goal attempt clanked off the top of the left upright, and Mullens' miscues shifted momentum to the visitors' sideline.

After a slow start, MTSU's offense got in gear in the second quarter, with running back Shane Tucker scoring on a 3-yard run and quarterback Logan Kilgore finding receiver Tavarres Jefferson for a 16-yard touchdown for a 28-7 halftime lead.

Southern Miss got within 28-14 late in the third quarter on Mullens' 14-yard pass to running back Kendrick Hardy, but Tucker scored his second touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run and Corey Carmichael added a 32-yard touchdown run to rebuild MTSU's cushion.

Mullens threw a career-high third TD pass, a 13-yarder to receiver Tyre'oune Holmes, to wrap up the scoring with 2:33 to play

MTSU, which came into the game ranked third nationally with 28 takeaways, added another pair in the first half.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.

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Scoring Summary
MTSUT.T. Barber 24 yd interception return (Cody Clark kick)
USMDominique Sullivan 11 yd pass from Nick Mullens (Corey Acosta kick)
MTSUKevin Byard 51 yd interception return (Cody Clark kick)
MTSUShane Tucker 3 yd run (Cody Clark kick)
MTSUTavarres Jefferson 16 yd pass from Logan Kilgore (Cody Clark kick)
USMKendrick Hardy 14 yd pass from Nick Mullens (Corey Acosta kick)
MTSUShane Tucker 4 yd run (Cody Clark kick)
MTSUCorey Carmichael 32 yd run (Cody Clark kick)
USMTyre'oune Holmes 13 yd pass from Nick Mullens (Corey Acosta kick)
Team Stats
First Downs2322
Third Down Efficiency5-134-16
Fourth Down Efficiency0-01-2
Plays-Net Yards70-41879-371
Passing Yds172289
Kick Return Yds5771
Punt Return Yds1419
Time of Poss.26:2033:40
Individual Stats
MTSU: Shane Tucker 19-103, Jeremiah Bryson 14-80, Corey Carmichael 3-37, Logan Kilgore 3-20, Jordan Parker 2-3, Drayton Calhoun 3-2, Kyle Griswould 1-1
USM: Jalen Richard 11-69, Kendrick Hardy 11-53, Tyre Bracken 2-5, Nick Mullens 8--45
MTSU: Logan Kilgore 11-25-172-0
USM: Nick Mullens 27-47-289-2
MTSU: Marcus Henry 4-53, Tavarres Jefferson 2-36, Jacob Corbaley 2-26, Devin Clarke 1-42, Christian Collis 1-10, Kyle Griswould 1-5
USM: Markese Triplett 6-101, Dominique Sullivan 4-56, Tyre Bracken 4-21, Tyre'oune Holmes 3-38, Marquise Ricard 3-20, Rickey Bradley 3-11, Kendrick Hardy 2-30, James Cox 1-10, Jalen Richard 1-2
Middle Tennessee3rd Conference USA East5-38-5
Southern Mississippi3rd Conference USA West4-47-6

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