Southern Miss Downs Pirates, 48-28

UABSPORTS.COM Freshman Alex Owah scored his first career touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Freshman Alex Owah scored his first career touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Nov. 5, 2011

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Southern Miss raced out to a 21-7 advantage in the first quarter and never looked back on its way to a 48-28 victory over East Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday.

The Golden Eagles used three non-offensive touchdowns in the initial frame to claim an early lead. ECU actually got on the board first as senior quarterback Dominique Davis connected with Reese Wiggins on a 72-yard screen pass on the game's second play to put the Pirates up 7-0. The touchdown reception was the first of Wiggins' career and also marked the longest play from scrimmage for ECU in 2011. The sophomore receiver also notched a career-high 85 receiving yards during the game.

After forcing a punt on the ensuing drive, East Carolina drove to the Southern Miss eight-yard line before Jamie Collins intercepted a Davis pass and returned it 97 yards for a touchdown with 9:19 left in the first period.

Southern Miss return specialist Tracey Lampley ran a punt 60 yards back for a score and Emmanuel Johnson recovered a block punt and scampered in from 15 yards out, giving the Golden Eagles a 21-7 lead without an offensive score in the opening quarter.

Golden Eagles quarterback Austin Davis connected on with Jamal Woodyard on an eight-yard scoring toss early in the second quarter, extending the USM lead to 28-7.

On the Pirates' following possession, Davis capped a 15-play, 79-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run, cutting the East Carolina deficit to 28-14. It was Davis' fourth scoring run in as many games.

Southern Miss kicker Danny Hrapmann drilled a 23-yard field goal and Deron Wilson returned an interception 79 yards for a score to give USM a 38-14 advantage at intermission. Southern Miss' 38 points in the opening half was the most allowed by East Carolina since surrendering 42 at West Virginia on September 4, 2004.

The Pirates opened the second-half scoring as Davis found freshman receiver Justin Hardy in the front corner of the end zone for a three-yard aerial strike with 8:27 remaining in the third quarter. Hardy returned after missing the last two games due to a knee injury and recorded a team-best seven receptions.

Desmond Johnson added a three-yard touchdown run for Southern Miss late in the third as USM grabbed a 45-21 advantage. Hrapmann made a 38-yard field goal to give the Golden Eagles a 48-21 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Pirate freshman running back Alex Owah, who recorded his first career carries in the fourth quarter, rounded out the scoring with an eight-yard TD run with 0:53 left in the contest.

With the victory, Southern Miss stands alone atop the Conference USA East standings with a 4-1 mark in league play. The Golden Eagles, after dropping their second game of the season, have reeled off seven consecutive victories and their 8-1 ledger is marks the best start for a Southern Miss squad since the 1996 campaign.

With the loss, ECU had its 10-game home winning streak against C-USA East Division opponents snapped. Its last loss was to Southern Miss in 2007. East Carolina drops to 4-5 (3-2 C-USA) with three conference games remaining on its schedule.

The Pirates return to action next Saturday as they make the long journey to El Paso, Texas for an 8:05 p.m. ET kickoff versus UTEP (4-5, 1-4 C-USA).