GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Jamie Collins scored on a 97-yard interception return and Deron Wilson added one of 79 yards to lead Southern Mississippi to a 48-28 win over East Carolina on Saturday.
The Golden Eagles also got return touchdowns on punt plays as Tracy Lampley scored from 60 yards and Emmanuel Johnson scooped up a blocked punt and rambled 15 yards for another touchdown.
Southern Miss (8-1, 4-1 Conference USA) gave up a 72-yard touchdown pass from Dominique Davis to Reese Wiggins on the second play of the game, but the Golden Eagles scored the next four touchdowns en route to a 38-14 halftime lead.
Southern Miss seized control of C-USA's East Division with its seventh straight win, while East Carolina (4-5, 3-2) had its three-game winning streak snapped. The Golden Eagles have dominated the series against the Pirates with wins in 16 of their last 19 visits to East Carolina.
Southern Miss scored 28 points on defense and special teams en route to a 48-28 over East Carolina Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
Danny Hrapmann hit a 38 yard field goal to put USM up 48-21.
Desmond Johnson scored from 3 yards out to put USM up 45-21 in the third quarter against ECU.
Dominique Davis threw his second touchdown pass of the game to Justin Hardy to pull the Pirates to within 17 at 38-21.
Deron Wilson intercepted Dominique Davis and returned it 79 yards for a touchdown to put the Golden Eagles up 38-14.
Reggie Hunt blocked an ECU punt and Emmanuel Johnson returned it 20 yards for USM touchdown. It was the second special teams TD for the Golden Eagles in the first quarter as ECU is now down 21-7.
Tracy Lampley returned an ECU punt 60 yards for a touchdown to put the Golden Eagles up 14-7 in the first quarter.
Jamie Collins intercepted a Dominique Davis pass and returned it 93 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7.
Dominique Davis found Reese Wiggins on the second play from scrimmage for a 72 yard touchdown connection to put ECU up 7-0.
GREENVILLE, N.C. -- First place in Conference USA's East Division is once again on the line when East Carolina and Southern Mississippi play.
For the Golden Eagles, there's even more at stake -- their spot in the BCS standings.
The winner of Saturday's matchup between Southern Miss (7-1, 3-1) and Pirates (4-4, 3-1) will have the top spot in the division all to itself and will have the inside track to a spot in next month's league championship game.
East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill says his team knows what's at stake.
Southern Miss has won 15 of 18 matchups in Greenville through the years. But its last visit was one to forget, with the Pirates claiming a 25-20 win two years ago that gave them a spot in the league title game.
You can watch the game on WITN, starting at 4 p.m. Saturday.
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