MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Utah capped one of the best turnarounds in school history with another dominant defensive effort.
Defensive back Morgan Scalley put the finishing touches on a second straight shutout with a 74-yard fumble return with 1:36 remaining as the 25-ranked Utes blanked Southern Mississippi, 17-0, in the Liberty Bowl.
Utah (10-2) tied the 1994 school record for wins and has not allowed a point in more than 10 quarters. In their final regular-season game, the Utes blanked Brigham Young, 3-0, ending the Cougars' NCAA-record streak of 361 games without being shut out. That game was played in a snow storm.
"With all due respect to the 1994 Utah football team, I think this team will go down as the greatest senior class ever in the history of football at Utah," first-year Utes coach Urban Meyer said. "We won the championship of our conference and the bowl game."
Scalley also set up the game's only other touchdown with a fumble recovery at the Southern Mississippi 17. Two plays later, Brandon Warfield, who rushed for 91 yards on 27 carries, barreled in from five yards to give the Utes a 7-0 lead with 4:41 left before halftime.
"Southern Miss was really not that hard to run against," Warfield said. "I think I should have run harder than I did."
The Golden Eagles (9-4) had a chance to tie in the fourth quarter as Anthony Harris' 41-yard run gave them a first down at the Utes' 18 with under eight minutes left.
But Southern Miss was turned away as defensive back Dave Revill and linebacker Ray Holdcraft combined to sack Micky D'Angelo on 4th-and-2.
"Our defense was great tonight," Holdcraft said. "The linebackers challenged the line to get after the quarterback and the DBs to hold the receivers. Everybody did their job."
Alex Smith's 49-yard completion to Paris Warren set up Bryan Borreson's 19-yard field goal that made it 10-0 with 3:24 to play.
The teams combined for just 441 total yards in the first Liberty Bowl shutout since 1994, when Illinois defeated East Carolina, 30-0.
The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the Golden Eagles, who won the Conference USA championship.
Southern Miss starter Dustin Almond was benched at the start of the fourth quarter but returned after D'Angelo suffered a concussion. Almond completed 11-of-33 passed for 122 yards and D'Angelo was 2-of-6 for 22 yards.
"What can I say?" Southern Miss coach Jeff Bower said. "They whipped us tonight. We played poorly on the offensive line and we made way too many mistakes."
Smith connected on just 8-of-19 passes for 124 yards.