HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) -- Shane Carden threw for 171 yards and a TD and East Carolina capitalized on three third-quarter turnovers to beat Southern Mississippi 24-14 Saturday in the Conference USA opener for both teams.
The Pirates (2-1, 1-0 C-USA) trailed 7-3 at halftime, but forced Southern Mississippi's (0-2, 0-1) freshman quarterback Anthony Alford into an interception and two fumbles on the first three Golden Eagle drives of the second half. That led to three third-quarter touchdowns.
After an interception early in the second half, East Carolina's defense held on fourth-and-1 at its 16-yard line. Carden took over and led the Pirate offense 84 yards in four plays for a 10-7 lead.
A fumble by Alford on the very next drive led to an 8-yard TD run by Carden. Another fumble on the next possession was scooped up by Montese Overton and returned 16 yards for East Carolina's last score.
Shane Carden threw for a touchdown and ran for another as the Pirates defeated Southern Miss 24-14 in Hattiesburg Saturday.
ECU did not commit a turnover in the game. They capitalized on two Southern Miss fumbles, resulting in 14 points.
Justin Hardy again led the Pirates in receiving. The West Craven product totaled 92 yards, including a 55 yard touchdown pass from Carden.
Southern Miss has taken a 7-0 lead against East Carolina in the first quarter.
Quarterback Anthony Alford ran it in from 1 yard out to give the Golden Eagles a 7-0 lead against the Pirates.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) -- Southern Miss and East Carolina have both taken hits to their pride.
Now both programs are trying to shake the early season disappointment and start Conference USA play with a victory.
Southern Miss (0-1) hosts East Carolina (1-1) on Saturday at Roberts Stadium. The Golden Eagles are coming off a disappointing 49-20 loss to Nebraska while the Pirates lost 48-10 to South Carolina.
Both teams have tried to fix holes in their defense.
Southern Miss coach Ellis Johnson is asking for better leadership from veterans like defensive end Jaime Collins and safety Jacorius Cotton after the Golden Eagles gave up 632 total yards against Nebraska.
East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill said his team's charge is getting all 11 players to do the right thing on every snap.
Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. TV coverage is on CBS Sports.Network. Radio coverage is on IMG Network.