Kenyan Drake rushed for three touchdowns to lead No. 3 Alabama over Southern Miss, 52-12, here Saturday night in non-conference football action at Bryant-Denny Stadium in front of a crowd of 101,821.
The game marked the first meeting between the two schools since 2005 and was the fifth-largest crowd ever to witness a Southern Miss football game. The Golden Eagles (1-2) played their first ranked opponent since facing No. 22 Nebraska last season in Lincoln.
Drake tallied 59 yards on the ground, while Blake Sims threw for 168 yards on 12-of-17 passing while adding 46 rushing yards, and Amari Cooper tallied eight catches for 135 yards and one touchdown grab.
Southern Miss sophomore quarterback Nick Mullens threw for 207, marking the eighth time in nine starts he has thrown for at least 200 yards. Mullens hit eight different receivers as Marcus Triplett caught a season-best five passes for 46 yards, while freshman Ito Smith and junior Casey Martin each added three receptions.
The Golden Eagles struck early as Mullens led Southern Miss down the field on the game's opening drive, converting 5-of-8 passes for 60 yards. Corey Acosta, who tied a career-best with four field goals for the second-straight game, put the Golden Eagles up 3-0 with a 33-yard field goal with 11:35 left in the first quarter.
The Crimson Tide responded with a 70-yard drive that finished on a 22-yard pass from Sims to Cooper.
The score remained 7-3 for the home squad until the second quarter when Sims ran around the right end from four yards to put Alabama up 14-3 with 9:32 left in the period. The Crimson Tide went 13 plays on 80 yards to extend their lead.
The Crimson Tide extended their advantage to 21-3 with 5:36 remaining before the end of the half. After a short punt by Tyler Sarrazin, Alabama started a drive on the Eagles 38 and capped four plays with a Drake one-yard dive. Acosta cut the final margin of the opening half with a 43-yard field goal with 1:25 left before the half and the score was 21-6 at the break. Acosta notched his 10th two-plus field goal contest of his career.
Drake put together two more scores in the second half, a one-yard run in the third quarter and a 29-yard rushing score just over a minute into the final period.
Acosta added field goals of 37 and 30 yards in the second half to finish the Golden Eagles scoring.
Alabama also tallied a five-yard TD pass from Sims to Brian Vogler from five-yards out in the third quarter, and the Crimson Tide collected a 30-yard Adam Griffith field goal and a Tyren Jones two-yard scoring run to complete their scoring in the final period.
Emmanuel Johnson and Brian Anderson led the Golden Eagles with nine tackles each in the game. Anderson tallied a season-best in the contest.
The Golden Eagles return home for the first of two home games next Saturday when they entertain Appalachian State in a 6 p.m., contest.