Hattiesburg, MS (Sports Network) – Austin Davis accounted for six touchdowns, including four rushing scores, to power the Southern Miss Golden Eagles to a 59-41 decision over the Houston Cougars in a Conference USA affair.
Davis threw for 285 yards and rushed for 111 yards for Southern Miss (8-3, 5-2 C-USA), which played inspired ball in the wake of tragedy. Three of the team’s players were shot outside a Hattiesburg nightclub six days ago.
Kendrick Hardy certainly helped the cause in the Southern Miss win, as he racked up 205 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 26 attempts.
David Piland threw for 467 yards and four touchdowns in the setback for Houston (5-6, 4-4), which finished with 30 rushing yards in the loss.
Davis had two short touchdown runs in the first quarter, enabling his team to lead 14-13 after that initial frame. The highlight for Houston in that quarter was a 54-yard touchdown pass from Piland to Kierrie Johnson.
USM stretched its advantage to 24-13 early in the second quarter, as a 52-yard touchdown pass from Davis to Kelvin Bolden was followed by a 22-yard Danny Hrapmann field goal.
Houston did manage to cut its deficit to 24-20 on the final play of the first half, however, as Tyron Carrier returned a missed field goal 89 yards for a touchdown.
The Golden Eagles dominated the third quarter, as Davis and Hardy both ran for touchdowns. USM pitched a shutout in that frame and led 38-20 heading into the final stanza.
The two teams combined for six touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but Southern Miss never relinquished its double-digit lead.
Southern Miss finished with 642 total yards, including 349 yards on the ground.
Piland’s passing yardage total broke the single game record for M.M. Roberts Stadium.