Pirates To Face Houston In C-USA Championship In Greenville

C.J. Wilson returned a blocked extra point for the tiebreaking defensive two-point conversion that lifted East Carolina past Southern Mississippi 25-20 on Saturday and back into the Conference USA championship game.

Patrick Pinkney was 25 of 41 passing for 269 yards and Dwayne Harris and defensive tackle Linval Joseph had scoring runs for the Pirates (8-4, 7-1).

The defending league champions claimed home-field advantage for next week's title game against either No. 25 Houston or SMU by beating the Golden Eagles (7-5, 6-2) in Greenville for the first time since 1994.

Damion Fletcher had 60 yards rushing for Southern Miss, and his 3-yard touchdown pass to Leroy Banks made it 20-all with 7:35 to play.

But Wilson burst through the middle to block Daniel Hrapmann's PAT, scooped it up near the 25-yard line and raced downfield while being escorted by a convoy of blockers to put the Pirates up 22-20.

Ben Hartman made it a five-point game with his third field goal of the day, a 47-yarder with 4:37 remaining. Martevious Young couldn't bring the Golden Eagles past midfield in both of their possessions after that, with Steve Spence sacking him on the final play of the game.

Tory Harrison rushed 41 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter, Young finished 20 of 44 for 262 yards with a score and DeAndre Brown had 145 yards receiving on seven catches for Southern Miss.

The Golden Eagles, trying to reach the C-USA title game for the first time since 2006, rallied from 10 points down before ultimately slipping to 1-5 on the road this year and losing on East Carolina's home field for just the third time in 18 appearances. The Pirates' only two prior victories against Southern Miss in Conference USA play came in Hattiesburg.

Harris put forth one of the Pirates' best individual efforts of the season. After bobbling an end-around handoff, he recovered in time to run through a feeble tackling attempt and race 34 yards down the left sideline to put East Carolina up 10-7.

Pinkney then kept things rolling, completing five straight passes before his 12-yard scramble got the Pirates to the 5. Two plays later, Joseph - a 322-pound defensive tackle who lined up at fullback - plunged across the goal line to make it a 10-point game with about 5 1/2 minutes before halftime.

Southern Miss hit on a pair of huge gainers early - both 40-yard passes from Young to Brown - but could turn them into only seven points, a 17-yard scoring pass from Young to Freddie Parham that made it 7-3 late in the quarter. That came one possession after the Golden Eagles blew a golden scoring opportunity, when Fletcher fumbled at the 1.

The Pirates will face C-USA West champ Houston in the conference championship game to be played at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Dec. 5th at noon.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by The Pirate Lady Location: Grimesland on Dec 2, 2009 at 05:35 AM
    So, was John from Afghanistan not really from Afghanistan? Otherwise why delete his post and not posting my comment to him thanking him for his service?
  • by John Location: G-ville on Dec 2, 2009 at 02:17 AM
    Once again my friends, Davie's words are puke.
  • by PK Location: Winterville on Dec 1, 2009 at 08:53 PM
    Dave: I don't believe you. That was your post. Now you are worming out like you typically do. This kind of behavior reflects your character I reckon. You know it's true. We all do. LOL.
  • by Dave on Nov 30, 2009 at 04:22 PM
    Hey Robert I've got a news flash for ya. I'm not the only Dave on the planet.
  • by Robert Location: Greenville on Nov 30, 2009 at 02:48 PM
    You stated 40. Dave
  • by aaaaaaaaaaaaaa Location: boone on Nov 30, 2009 at 11:02 AM
    ecu100000houston123
  • by Dave on Nov 30, 2009 at 09:31 AM
    I will take Houston winning by at least 17 points Rob.
  • by PIRATE BOB Location: WILSON,NC on Nov 30, 2009 at 05:59 AM
    DAVE ANDJD Ladd --Every time you post-you show your sign--IGNORANCE . maybe one day you will learn that being negative all the time does not look too good on a person. I am and have always been PROUD TO BE A PIRATE.You need to go find a team you can pull for, cause continually pulling against the PIRATES must be exhausting for you--AND PRETTY FRUITLESS GO PIRATES-----AAAAAAUUUUUURRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH
  • by Rob Location: Greenville on Nov 29, 2009 at 10:44 PM
    Dave, we will meet you Tuesday afternoon in the food court at the Greenville Mall to take your bet. We will have a notary there as well. There will be a big sign on our table that says Dave. We will see you at 7:00 PM. What do you want to wager Dave?
  • by Dave on Nov 29, 2009 at 06:42 PM
    WOW John, you sure are a tough guy from behind a keyboard! GO HOUSTON!
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