There's Still A Chance For An ECU 3-Peat - USM Over UCF 31-21


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Austin Davis threw for 264 yards and four touchdowns Saturday, helping Southern Mississippi rally to ruin No. 25 Central Florida's first national ranking with a 31-21 victory that also keeps the Eagles and the Pirates in the race for Conference USA's East Division title.

UCF won head-to-head so control the tiebreaker, but if the Pirates Win out and Central Florida loses one of its two remaining games (@ Tulane and @ Memphis) ECU will win the east division title. Which would put the Pirates in a 3rd straight conference championship game.

Davis overcame an early two-touchdown deficit with scoring passes of 5 yards to Johdrick Morris and 23 yards to Kelvin Bolden that put Southern Miss (7-3, 4-2) up 17-14 at halftime. Bolden's second TD reception broke the game open early in the fourth quarter.

Freshman Jeff Godfrey threw for 190 yards and two TDs for UCF (7-3, 5-1), which had averaged 41.4 points during a five-game winning streak that vaulted the Knights into the Top 25 for the first time in the school's 31-year football history.

UCF launched its program in Division III in 1979 and has always operated in the shadows of the state's Big Three - Florida, Florida State and Miami - and even close geographical rival South Florida, a former CUSA member that left the league for the Big East five years ago.

The Knights have raised their profile in seven seasons under George O'Leary, the former Georgia Teach coach who went 0-11 upon his arrival in 2004 but has since led the Knights to four winning records and three bowl appearances.

Davis completed 21 of 34 passes and Southern Miss did not turn the ball over to remain in contention for the East title and a spot in the Conference USA championship game on Dec. 4. UCF fell into a tie for first place in the division with East Carolina, one game ahead of the Eagles with two to play.

UCF scored on its first two possessions, with Ronnie Weaver racing 52 yards to set up Godfrey's 1-yard touchdown run and then breaking a 38-yarder during a nine-play, 99-yard march that Godfrey finished with a 4-yard TD pass to Brian Watters for a 14-0 lead midway through the opening quarter.

The remainder of the game belonged to Southern Miss, which intercepted Godfrey twice and limited Weaver to 2 yards rushing to shut down UCF in the second period and end the Knights' streak of scoring in 22 consecutive quarters.

The Eagles began their comeback with Danny Hrapmann's 31-yard goal. Davis threw a 10-yard scoring pass to DeAndre Brown for 24-14 lead late in the third quarter, then dumped UCF into a 17-point hole with a 26-yard TD throw to Bolden after UCF's Jamie Boyle missed on a 30-yard field goal try on the second play of the fourth quarter that would have trimmed the Knights' deficit to seven.

Godfrey completed 16 of 25 passes and was intercepted twice.

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  • by Devil4life on Nov 17, 2010 at 10:01 AM
    Sam: Honestly, Big Easy better than the ACC in football. Both conferences are awful in football, when was the last time conference won a NC in football? In my opinion CUSA is a better football conference than the ACC and Big Easy. As far as round ball goes, all I have to say is GO DUKE!!! Good luck on the rest of the season! I look forward to seeing ECU dominate next yr.
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Nov 16, 2010 at 11:03 AM
    Bud, I totally agree with you on everything except that the Big East is a better conference in both football and basketball than the ACC.
  • by Bud Location: Washington on Nov 16, 2010 at 06:21 AM
    How does ECU catch flak for being good in a bad conference? Nobody criticizes Virginia Tech for leading the ACC when it's the 2nd worst BCS conference just in front of the Big East. Why do you think VT always wins the ACC? Cause nobody else is any good. And before you haters say "Well ECU lost to VT and UNC" remember that we were in control of both of those games for three quarters but our brand new offense and defense fell apart in the 4th. It happens. I'll say it, the C-USA does stink. That's why ECU wants to jump to a bigger conference, but no conference has openings, so in C-USA they stay. It's funny that ECU is the top team in C-USA for 3 years now and you guys hate so much that you have to attack the conference since you can't attack the team. You people lead sad lives and I hope your bitterness is a result of your teams being 5-7 every season while you watch the Pirates continue to win. Enjoy your misery, I'll enjoy another bowling season. Go Pirates!
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Nov 16, 2010 at 06:12 AM
    Okay Dave, 11:19 a.m. it is. I know CUSA is not a good conference, but it's better than the Sun Belt and the MAC. This is the first year the WAC has become better than CUSA.
  • by Dave Location: Unknown on Nov 15, 2010 at 03:03 PM
    Sam I don't see an anonymous post at 11:19 pm. I see one from 11:19 am though. Anyway, how can you say CUSA is any good? The WAC is better.
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Nov 15, 2010 at 12:11 PM
    Anonymous at 11-15 11:19 p.m. is a joke.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 15, 2010 at 08:19 AM
    CUSA is a joke
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Nov 15, 2010 at 07:12 AM
    I hate to say it but as a diehard pirate fan and an ECU alum, ECU is not going to the C-USA Championship game this year. I said the whole time that Southern Miss would have a chance to beat Central Florida, but there's no way Tulane or Memphis can beat Central Florida. Tulane may have possibly a 5-10% chance if Central Florida really messes up, and being the game will be at the Superdome, but Memphis has 0% chance at winning in Orlando. It's just time to focus on beating Rice first, then beating SMU the day after Thanksgiving.
  • by ECU Alum Location: enc on Nov 15, 2010 at 06:42 AM
    To Anonymous: It's more like kissing your mother while you and your dad watch!
  • by Chuck Location: Greenville on Nov 13, 2010 at 09:21 PM
    Pirates should just take care of business by winning the last 2 games & not focus on the conference thing. Overlooking Rice & SMU might mess up a decent finish. I Had a great day with Central Florida & UNC losing. Go Pirates!!!!!
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