HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) Corey Acosta kicked a career-best four field goals and Southern Miss held off Alcorn State 26-20 Saturday night.
Acosta hit a 50-yard field goal for the only score of the first quarter, and tacked on a 39-yard field goal with 9 seconds left in the first half. He added field goals of 23 yards and 41 yards in the second half.
Ito Smith rushed for 118 yards and Nick Mullens threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns as the Golden Eagles (1-1) won for just the second time in their last 26 games.
Alcorn State (1-1) had its upset bid dashed when Jomez Applewhite picked off a John Gibbs pass with 57 seconds to play.
Gibbs rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown and Darryan Ragsdale rushed for 111 yards as Alcorn State piled up 295 yards on the ground.
Gibbs added 94 yards passing but was intercepted twice. The Braves also lost a fumble and muffed a punt leading to Southern Miss scores. Alcorn also committed six penalties for 74 yards before intermission.
Southern Miss led 20-7 at halftime, as Mullens threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to James Cox and a 38-yarder to Marquise Ricard. Mullins finished 21 of 33 for 208 yards.
Gibbs ran 33 yards for the Braves' only score before halftime.
Zerick Rollins Jr. threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Casey Freeman to cut it to 23-13 at the start of the fourth quarter. After Acosta's fourth field goal of the day made it 26-13, Alcorn's Anthony Williams scored on a 5-yard run to make it a one-score game with 7:38 left to play.
Alcorn State had two more chances to tie. The Braves drove to the Southern Miss 39 before Emmanuel Johnson broke up a fourth-down pass to end the drive with 1:29 to play.
Southern Miss only took 27 seconds off the clock on three running plays, and punted to Alcorn State with 1:02 to play. But Applewhite picked off Gibbs on the first play of Alcorn's final possession to seal the victory.