HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - University of Southern Mississippi sophomore Jaylond Adams pulled off a double-dip Saturday night that most return men can only dream.
Adams is believed to have become the first Golden Eagle to have returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns in the same football game.
Adams pulled off the feat Saturday in USM’s 38-10 victory over visiting Alcorn State University in the 2019 season opener for both teams.
“Special teams were going to be a difference maker in this ballgame,” Adams said. “We bought in as a team and got the job done.”
Adams took the opening kickoff of the season 89 yards to the end zone, then took a punt all the way back 80 yards.
After sorting through a mound of research, USM assistant director of athletics/communications Jack Duggan concluded the following:
Adams became the first to take back USM’s opening kickoff of the game since Francisco Llanos went 87 yards against the University of Tulsa in 2010. The difference: Tulsa had received the ball first and scored a touchdown. Saturday’s return by Adams was the very first “play” of a season, let alone a game
Adams became the first Golden Eagle to score on a punt return and kickoff return in the same season since Tracey Lampley in 2009; Adams is the first to do so in a game
Adams became the first Golden Eagles to have multiple returns for touchdowns in the same game since James Henry took back a pair of punts in the 1988 Independence Bowl
All told, 26 of USM’s 38 points came via special teams (two touchdowns, three field goals, three extra points and a 2-point conversion run).
“We played really good in our special teams’ unit,” USM Coach Jay Hopson said.
USM’s win Saturday marked the program’s 150th at M.M. Roberts Stadium, which opened in 1976.
Five Golden Eagles made their first career starts Saturday, including junior-college transfer Tanner Hawthorne of Peoria, Ariz., at right tackle; sophomore Ray Ladner of Kiln, Miss at tight end; Pennsylvania State University transfer Torrence Brown of Tuscaloosa, Ala., at “wolf” end; senior Delmond Landry of Donaldsonville, La.; and sophomore linebacker Santrell Lantham of Meridian at strong-side linebacker.
USM’s defense ran its streak of holding an individual back to less than 100 yards to 15 games. De’Shawn Waller led the Braves with 51 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.