(Saturday, November 5th)
Final Score: Southern Mississippi 48, East Carolina 28
Greenville, NC (Sports Network) - Southern Mississippi scored a pair of defensive touchdowns and a couple of TDs on special teams as the Golden Eagles crushed the East Carolina Pirates, 48-28, in Conference USA action at Dowdy- Ficklen Stadium.
Southern Miss (8-1, 4-1 C-USA) assumed control of the East Division with its seventh straight victory and the eighth in nine games overall this season. Quarterback Austin Davis hit on 16-of-24 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown, while Desmond Johnson scored the other offensive touchdown for the visitors.
The Pirates (4-5, 3-2) were paced by Dominique Davis who connected on 22-of-36 passes for 262 yards and two TDs, but he was also picked off twice and sacked five times on the day. Davis also scored once on the ground as ECU saw a three-game win streak come to an end.
Less than a minute into the first quarter the Pirates struck as Davis hooked up with Reese Wiggins on a 72-yard TD pass on just the second play from scrimmage to give the hosts a 7-0 advantage at the 14:02 mark.
Southern Miss then rattled off four consecutive touchdowns, beginning with a 97-yard interception return for a score by Jamie Collins, followed by a 60- yard punt return for a score by Tracy Lampley midway through the first. Less than three minutes later the Golden Eagles put up yet another TD as Emmanuel Johnson returned a blocked punt 15 yards to make the score 21-7.
Early in the second quarter Davis combined with Jamal Woodyard on an eight- yard TD strike to boost the lead to 28-7.
East Carolina interrupted the scoring run by the Golden Eagles when Davis crossed the goal line on a three-yard run midway through the second quarter.
But before the half could end USM responded with a 23-yard field goal by Danny Hrapmann and capped the first 30 minutes with a 79-yard interception return for a touchdown by Deron Wilson which made the score 38-14 at the break.
Davis tried to keep the Pirates close with a three-yard TD pass to Justin Hardy at the 8:27 mark of the third quarter, but later in the frame the Eagles responded with a three-yard TD run by Johnson.
Hrapmann added to the USM lead with a 38-yard field goal in the fourth period, pushing the visitors to a 48-21 advantage.
With time winding down ECU got off one last score as Alex Owah hit the end zone on an eight-yard run, but it was too little, too late.
East Carolina controlled the ball for almost 36 minutes and registered 420 yards of total offense, which just goes to show how some stats can be insignificant when it comes to the final score.
11/05 20:37:15 ET