In the game: Blackshirts make strides against USM

2013-09-07T23:00:00Z In the game: Blackshirts make strides against USMBy Dylan Guenther / Columbus Telegram

Nebraska defeated Southern Miss 56-13 Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The Huskers rebounded from a sluggish showing against Wyoming in their season opener, holding Southern Miss to just 284 total yards. Here is a breakdown of what went well, what didn't, and other fun facts to satiate your Husker appetite:

Thumbs Up

Blackshirts: The Nebraska defense held Southern Miss to just 222 yards of total offense, led by the secondary, which picked off four passes. After registering just one tackle for loss against Wyoming, the Blackshirts found their way into the backfield 12 times against the Golden Eagles. Sophomore defensive end Randy Gregory was efficient in rushing the passer, tallying four of NU's seven quarterback hurries.

Thumbs Down

Coming out after halftime: Nebraska was sluggish to begin the second half, going three-and-out in its first drive before allowing a 41-yard touchdown pass from Southern Miss quarterback Allan Bridgeford to Rickey Bradley. Nebraska did answer back with a big kick return by Kenny Bell before a 37-yard touchdown run by Ameer Abdullah.

By the numbers

4: Nebraska intercepted four passes against Southern Miss, the most picks Nebraska has had in a game since picking off five passes against Idaho in 2010. Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Ciante Evans both returned first-quarter interceptions for touchdowns. It was the first time since NU has had two defensive scores in a game since, again, the Idaho game in 2010.

Play of the game

Ciante Evans 22-yard interception return with 1 minute, 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter: The senior cornerback's pick six put Nebraska up 21-3 toward the end of the first period, putting the Huskers in control for the remainder of the game. Ciante Evans ended the game with two interceptions after picking off a pass in the third quarter that led to a Nebraska score.

Fun Fact

True freshmen starting: True freshmen linebackers Josh Banderas and Nathan Gerry both earned their first starts against Southern Miss. It marks the first time a true freshman has started for the Nebraska defense since Ciante Evans in 2010. Banderas finished the game with three tackles and a pass breakup, while Gerry had three tackles.

Copyright 2015 Columbus Telegram. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.