(Saturday, October 25th)
Final Score: Memphis 36, Southern Mississippi 30
Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - Curtis Steele ran for 178 yards and two touchdowns to help lead the Memphis Tigers to a 36-30 win over the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi in Conference USA action at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Steele carried the ball 29 times for the Tigers (4-5, 2-3 CUSA) as they snapped a two-game slide. The quarterback tandem of Tyler Bass and Brett Toney converted 17-of-26 for 232 yards and a pair of scores as well.
The Golden Eagles (2-6, 0-4), losers of five in a row, were led by Austin Davis who hit on 21-of-40 passing for 186 yards and two touchdowns and also gained a team-best 121 yards rushing on just eight carries in the setback.
Memphis ran out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter when Carlos Singleton reeled in a 14-yard TD pass from Toney and Bass raced 11 yards into the end zone on a run of his own.
Trailing by two touchdowns, USM cut the deficit in the second period when Britt Barefoot knocked through a 27-yard field goal and Tory Harrison hit the end zone on a one-yard run to make the score 14-10.
Before the end of the first half Singleton, who finished the night with seven catches for 64 yards, collected a three-yard scoring strike from Bass to give the home team a 20-10 advantage at the break following a failed PAT by Matt Reagan.
In the third quarter DeAndre Brown scored the first of his two touchdowns on an eight-yard reception from Davis. Brown finished the contest with game highs of eight catches for 110 yards.
Reagan made up for his miscue from the first half when he booted a 43-yard field goal for Memphis with less than a minute remaining in the third frame.
On the ensuing possession Southern Miss needed just three plays to cover 61 yards as Damion Fletcher raced 31 yards for a touchdown to make the score 24-23 in favor of the Golden Eagles.
But from there Memphis tallied back-to-back touchdowns on scoring runs of 10 and 22 yards by Steele and despite a failed two-point conversion attempt, Memphis still managed a 36-24 edge with 1:24 remaining.
Brown scored on a two-yard run at the gun, but by that point it was too little too late in the six-point decision for the Tigers.
Memphis, which controlled the ball for almost 36 minutes, registered 516 yards of total offense.
10/26 00:50:17 ET