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C-USA: Nix fights way back in win for S. Miss

©Associated Press
September 8, 2002

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- As Southern Mississippi tailback Derrick Nix lay face-down in the end zone Saturday, he didn't quite feel like celebrating his touchdown.

"I didn't know what was wrong," he said. "I got in the end zone and I was really tired. I just wanted to lay there a second and my stomach started rumbling."

It took a few moments for Nix to get up, and he didn't get more than 10 yards from the goal line before he stopped, vomited through his helmet and went back to the ground.

Nix was treated for dehydration and missed the second quarter but rushed for 201 yards and two touchdowns as Southern Miss beat Illinois 23-20.

Nix, who missed last season and most of 2000 with a kidney ailment, had his first 100-yard game in almost three years. His 50-yard touchdown put Southern Miss ahead 23-17 with 12:55 left.

Just as in last week's loss to Missouri, Illinois coach Ron Turner pulled starting quarterback Dustin Ward. Ward was 5-for-10 for 87 yards and an interception and faced a heavy pass rush in the first half. He was sacked three times.

Jon Beutjer relieved Ward but wasn't much better, going 8-for-23 for 76 yards and an interception.

Nix, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher, got sick after scoring on a 3-yard run around left end that cut Illinois' lead to 14-9 with 46 seconds left in the first quarter.

He went to the locker room, received fluids intravenously, and returned to the sideline for the final minutes of the first half.

Illinois took a 14-2 lead with 5:26 left in the first quarter on a strange play. Micky D'Angelo of USM was sacked and the ball popped into the air. Taman Jordan dropped what he thought would have been an interception, then grabbed it after it hit the ground. Thinking it was an incomplete pass, he spiked the ball.

But the play wasn't blown dead, both teams chased the ball, and Michael Hall picked it up at the Golden Eagle 30 and scored.

HOLY CROSS 30, ARMY 21: Ari Confesor returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and Chris Vella kicked five field goals for the visiting Crusaders. Holy Cross, from Division I-AA, beat a I-A opponent for the first time since beating Army 31-24 in 1987.

Confesor finished with 327 all-purpose yards, 209 on kickoff returns and 83 on two carries.

"There's no question that this (loss) is the worst one in 20 years (of coaching)," Army coach Todd Berry said. "I've been around a lot of football. This one is the worst."

TULANE 34, HOUSTON 13: J.P. Losman threw two touchdowns and the visiting Green Wave forced seven turnovers.

Tulane led 7-3 at halftime, but Houston's Anthony Evans scored on a 14-yard run on the opening drive of the third quarter for a 10-7 lead. Tulane responded with an 80-yard drive capped by Losman's 28-yard pass to Roydell Williams.

Houston then reached the Tulane 5 but Joey Dawson caused a fumble and Floyd Dorsey returned it 95 yards for a 21-10 lead.

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