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(Saturday, September 15th)
Final Score: East Carolina 24, Southern Miss 14
Hattiesburg, MS (Sports Network) - Shane Carden threw for 171 yards and a touchdown and added another score on the ground in his first career start to lead the East Carolina Pirates past the Southern Miss Golden Eagles for a 24-14 victory in a Conference USA battle at Roberts Stadium.
Vintavious Cooper gained 51 yards on 13 carries for the Pirates (2-1, 1-0 C- USA), which had lost four of its last five conference road games. Justin Hardy led all receivers with 92 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. Montese Overton was the anchor of the defense with 10 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery for a score. ECU forced three turnovers as a team.
Chris Campbell came off the bench for the Golden Eagles (0-2, 0-1) to complete 11-of-21 passes for 145 yards and a score. Campbell replaced the struggling Anthony Alford, who was sacked three times and completed only 6-of-14 attempts for 88 yards with an interception. Alford did not see much more success on the ground, rushing the ball 20 times for 13 yards and a touchdown with a lost a fumble. Desmond Johnson gained 76 yards on 13 carries to lead the Golden Eagles' rushing attack. Markese Triplett finished with 66 yards and a score on four receptions.
The Golden Eagles took an early lead as Alford rushed one yard for a touchdown to cap off a nine-play, 70-yard drive with just over 10 minutes remaining in the opening frame. ECU was held scoreless in the first quarter for the third straight game this season.
Neither team managed to score again until Warren Harvey booted a 54-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. Harvey's career-long kick sent the game into halftime with Southern Miss on top, 7-3.
The Pirates took over after the intermission. ECU missed a field goal after Joshua Hawkins made an interception in the first start of his career. The Pirates' defense then forced a turnover on downs on the Golden Eagles' next possession. Carden took advantage by completing a 55-yard pass to Hardy for a score.
A fumble by USM on its own 19-yard line returned the ball to the Pirates. Carden finished off a four-play drive with an eight-yard touchdown run to put the ECU up 17-7.
The Pirates forced another fumble on the Golden Eagles' next possession. Overton returned the fumble 16 yards for a score to give ECU a commanding, 24-7 advantage.
The Golden Eagles ended the 24-point run just over a minute into the fourth frame as Campbell connected with Triplett for an eight-yard scoring pass which punctuatee an eight play, 79-yard drive.
ECU forced a punt and a turnover on downs on USM's following possessions to seal the victory.
Despite the loss, Southern Miss gained 20 first downs while holding the Pirates to just 13 first downs in the contest.
09/15 21:09:52 ET
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