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Southern Mississippi Inflicts Home Defeat on Nebraska

September 12, 2004|From Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. — Few teams that visit Nebraska's Memorial Stadium leave a winner, only seven in the last 16 years to be exact.

But Southern Mississippi Coach Jeff Bower liked his team's chances.

"Our kids believed they were going to win," Bower said. "We came up here in '99, and turnovers killed us. It was the other way around today."

Southern Mississippi converted four of the Cornhuskers' five turnovers into points, defeating Nebraska, 21-17, Saturday to become the first nonconference opponent to win in Lincoln since 1991.

The Cornhuskers, 102-7 at Memorial Stadium since 1988, lost at home to an unranked opponent for the first time since a 20-16 defeat to Texas in 1998. Washington was the last nonconference foe to defeat Nebraska at home.

"We showed if we make errors, we can get beat by lower opponents," Nebraska defensive tackle Le Kevin Smith said.

Dustin Almond threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Young with 7:47 left and Southern Mississippi, which saw a 9-3 halftime lead evaporate in the third quarter, made a defensive stand in the final minute to secure the victory.

The Eagles had come into Lincoln five years ago and led for much of the game before losing, 20-13.

Saturday's victory wasn't secure until Southern Mississippi linebacker Dillon Cleckler chased quarterback Joe Dailey out of bounds short of the first-down marker on fourth-and-long with 37 seconds left.

"We want the game to be on us," linebacker Antoine Cash said of the Golden Eagle defense. "That's what we've been waiting for all week. We want the game to be on us in the fourth quarter."

Southern Mississippi won despite being outgained, 476 yards to 239.

"We beat those guys fair and square, but at the same time, we beat ourselves," Dailey said. "We had the game in our pocket. It's all about fundamentals. You can dress it up and say what you want, but when it comes down to it, you've got to take care of the football."

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