HATTIESBURG, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Derrick Nix continued his remarkable return from a kidney injury that cost him all of last season, carrying 27 times for 201 yards and two touchdowns as Southern Mississippi posted a 23-20 triumph over Illinois.
Nix posted the second-highest yardage total of his career and sixth best in Southern Mississippi history. His 217-yeard effort on November 21, 1998 is the third on the school's all-time list.
Nix had a three-yard scoring run late in the first quarter and broke free for a 50-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter to give the Golden Eagles a 23-17 lead. He has 11 career 100-yard games and needs six more to tie Ben Garry's school record.
Illinois (0-2) got a 41-year-old field goal from Peter Christofilakos with just under 10 minutes left but could not generate any offense down the stretch.
Southern Mississippi's Micky D'Angelo, building on a solid effort in his first collegiate start last week, completed 14-of-26 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown. He has thrown for 444 yards over his first two games.
Antoineo Harris had 31 carries for a career-high 162 yards for Illinois, which also got a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown by Eugene Wilson. But the defending Big Ten champions fell to 0-2 to start a season for the first time since going winless in the 1997 season.
Southern Mississippi is 2-0 for the third time in four seasons.