Shane Carden threw for 171 yards and a TD and East Carolina capitalized on three third-quarter turnovers to beat Southern Mississippi 24-14 Saturday in the Conference USA opener for both teams.
The Pirates (2-1, 1-0 C-USA) trailed 7-3 at halftime, but forced Southern Mississippi's (0-2, 0-1) freshman quarterback Anthony Alford into an interception and two fumbles on the first three Golden Eagle drives of the second half. That led to three third-quarter touchdowns.
After an interception early in the second half, East Carolina's defense held on fourth-and-1 at its 16-yard line. Carden took over and led the Pirate offense 84 yards in four plays for a 10-7 lead.
A fumble by Alford on the very next drive led to an 8-yard TD run by Carden. Another fumble on the next possession was scooped up by Montese Overton and returned 16 yards for East Carolina's last score.