Southern Miss Receiver DaMarcus Jones catches an eleven yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (Hunter Dawkins/The Gazebo Gazette via AP)

Gazebo Gazette

Alabama’s transfer Jameson Williams returned the opening kick for a touchdown, the first time the Golden Eagles (USM) football team have allowed a kickoff return for a TD since 2019 and the rest was history.  

Williams, the Ohio State transfer who brought another speedy playmaker to Tuscaloosa, had three monster plays. He opened the game with a 100-yard kickoff return, then added an 81-yard touchdown catch on his second touch and another 83-yard runback in the top-ranked Crimson Tide’s 63-14 win over Southern Miss on Saturday night.

Williams and the Crimson Tide (4-0); ranked #1 in the nation, needed just 14 seconds to put to rest any worries of a letdown against Southern Miss (1-3) after a close win over No. 11 Florida and with No. 13 Mississippi on deck. Bryce Young was nearly flawless in throwing for five touchdowns while completing 20 of 22 passes for 313 yards.

Williams, meanwhile, had 258 all-purpose yards on just four touches.

Southern Miss played in front of the eighth-largest crowd of its program history, as 100,077 fans filled
Bryant-Denny Stadium.  The Golden Eagles fall to 6-37-2 against the Crimson Tide in the all-time series.

Alabama Running Back Roydell Williams attempts to break free from Southern Miss defender at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (Hunter Dawkins/The Gazebo Gazette via AP)

It was business as usual for ‘Bama, win No. 100 in a row over unranked opponents and plenty of playing time for the backups.

Some positives for the USM Golden Eagles were Freshman quarterback Ty Keyes ended the game with 131 yards in the air on 11-24 with two touchdowns and an interception. He tied the mark for the most yards by a Golden Eagle QB in a single half this season, Demarcus Jones of Vicksburg recorded his first touchdown reception of the year with 13:29 remaining in the fourth quarter, and Malik Shorts from Bassfield intercepted a pass from Bryce Young with 4:00 remaining in the third quarter while finishing the game with 10 tackles, his most in a single game this season. 

Additionally, Junior punter Mason Hunt from Wiggins pinned the Crimson Tide on their own six yard line with a career-best 60 yard punt with 10:32 remaining in the third quarter. He finished the game with an average of 36.3 yards per punt and three punts inside the 20 and two punts that traveled over 50 yards.

“I thought our young quarterback really grew up tonight,” USM Head Coach Will Hall said, adding that “he showed he belongs in an environment like this.”

The Alabama Crimson Tide will host the No. 13 ranked Ole Miss Rebels while Southern Miss plays on the road against Rice University in Houston.

(Article contributed to by Associated Press and Southern Miss Athletics)