HATTIESBURG, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Gino Guidugli came into Cincinnati's game with No. 21 Southern Mississippi hot and he finished it even hotter.
Guidugli threw a school-record five touchdown passes as the Bearcats crushed the Golden Eagles, 52-24, in a Conference USA matchup.
Cincinnati (5-4, 4-2 C-USA) held a 17-7 lead at the break and exploded for 35 second-half points to win its third game in a row. Entering the contest, Guidugli had thrown 11 TD passes in his last four games.
"The guys up front gave me time to throw the ball. I didn't expect to have this kind of day," Guidugli said. "The offensive line is giving me a good pocket to sit in and the wide receivers are making good plays."
In this one, he threw three touchdowns to Hannibal Thomas, including an 80-yard strike to open the scoring in the second half. Guidugli completed 19-of-26 passes for 308 yards and Thomas hauled in seven receptions for 168 yards.
"He makes it all go. He's playing better than he has ever played," Southern Miss coach Jeff Bower said. "I do not see him making the mistakes he did in the past."
Southern Miss (5-2, 4-1) never led and was unable to mount any consistent offense despite the return of quarterback Dustin Almond from a hamstring injury.
Almond went 12-of-26 for 187 yards and was intercepted twice for the Golden Eagles, who have dropped two of their last three games.
"He was not real sharp. He did some things and he kept battling," Bower said of Almond. "I have not looked at the tape but he has to be sharper."
"I was a little rusty and then when I got into things it just wasn't enough," Almond said. "They didn't show us anything we hadn't seen before. They just beat us."
The Golden Eagles had a 13-game Conference USA winning streak snapped. It was their largest home loss in conference play since the league was formed in 1996.