HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - One year after shocking Kentucky with a 25-point comeback victory, Southern Mississippi appeared likely to pull off another rally. However, the clock ran out on the Golden Eagles (0-1), as the Wildcats (1-0) leave Hattiesburg with a 24-17 win.
"We felt like we were ready to make a run in the fourth quarter, we really did," USM head coach Jay Hopson said. "I wish the game had another 15 minutes left in it. But the reality is that it doesn't, and give Kentucky all the credit in the world."
Trailing 24-10 in the third quarter, redshirt junior quarterback Kwadra Griggs led USM on an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive capped off with a 26 yard strike to Korey Robertson to cut the lead to seven, but the Golden Eagles would not threaten any more in the game.
Kentucky stormed out to a 14-3 halftime lead thanks to Stephen Johnson and his two scores, one on the ground and one through the air. The senior quarterback finished with 176 yards on 11/20 passing.
After starting quarterback Keon Howard managed just 87 yards on 7/14 passing with a lost fumble in the first half, Hopson pulled the trigger for Griggs to enter the game. The redshirt junior finished with 222 yards on 15/26 passing with two touchdowns and a lost fumble. Hopson declined to say if Griggs would start next week as USM hosts Southern.
Robertson finished the day leading USM with 111 yards receiving on seven receptions to go with two touchdowns.