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Southern Miss0001414
18  East Carolina141724055
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55


Southern Miss (0-5) at East Carolina (4-2)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 19, 12 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (50,000) -- Greenville, North Carolina. Television: Fox Sports Net. Home Record: USM 0-2, ECU 2-1. Away Record: USM 0-3, ECU 2-1. Neutral Record: USM 0-0, ECU 0-0. Conference Record: USM 0-1, ECU 2-1. Series Record: Southern Miss leads, 27-11.

GAME NOTES: The East Carolina Pirates return home to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium after a tough ending to a three-game road trip, as they host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in Conference USA action.

Southern Miss had a bye last week after suffering a heartbreaking, 24-23, loss to FIU in its C-USA opener. The Golden Eagles put themselves in position to win before Danny Acosta's potential game-winning field goal try was blocked on the final play of regulation. The loss was the 17th in a row for the Golden Eagles, making them the owner of the nation's longest active losing streak. The defeat also dropped coach Todd Monken to an 0-5 career record.

The hosts were in C-USA action last week in New Orleans and lost, 36-33, to Tulane in triple overtime after rallying late in regulation to force the extra session. East Carolina and the Green Wave traded touchdowns through the first two overtime periods, but Warren Harvey missed a 34-yard field goal attempt in the first part of the third overtime session which allowed Tulane to hand the Pirates their first C-USA loss of 2013. Coach Ruffin McNeal's team is now 2-1 in conference play which puts it in second place behind Marshall (2-0) in the East Division race.

This will be the 39th meeting in history between these schools, which began the rivalry in the 1951 campaign. USM holds a 27-11 all-time series lead versus ECU, but the Pirates have won three of the last four encounters. ECU left Hattiesburg with a 24-14 decision last season.

Southern Miss had its highest scoring output of the season against FIU its last time out, as it had yet to score more than 15 points in a game in its first four games of the season. Its scoring offense (12.2 ppg) ranks 120th out of 123 qualifying FBS teams, and its total offense (303.6 ypg) is only slightly better at 117th.

USM's inexperience on the offensive line has shown as it is producing only 75.6 rushing yards per game with a 2.8 average gain per carry. The team has not scored a rushing touchdown in five games and its season total of 378 yards rushing is less than half of its opposition's 1,005. As a result, the Golden Eagles' offense finds most of its success through the air, with Allan Bridgford throwing for 1,118 yards through the first five games. Bridgford converted 26-of-45 pass attempts for 243 yards and three touchdowns, but he was also picked off twice in USM's home loss to FIU. The signal caller's efficiency (six TDs against 11 INTs) has been lacking throughout the campaign.

USM was held to 314 yards of total offense and turned the ball over four times, while the Panthers amassed 341 offensive yards. The Golden Eagles lost despite holding FIU to only two third-down conversions on 14 plays. They moved the chains on 6-of-15 third-down chances.

Jalen Richard and Kendrick Hardy combined for 78 rushing yards on 21 attempts to pace USM's very ineffective running game. Hardy is 318 yards shy of becoming the 13th player in school history with 2,000 career rushing yards.

The Golden Eagles have held three of their five opponents under 25 points. Although the Panthers were one of those three, they had to be disappointed with their results against FIU, which came into their meeting ranked last among FBS schools in both scoring (5.8 ppg) and total offense (150 ypg). The Panthers amassed 341 yards of total offense and 24 points to boost their season averages and also managed to score on all four of their red zone trips (three TDs). USM has conceded an average of 37.2 points, despite having the second best pass defense in the conference (178.8 ypg). Sophomore defensive back DeBarriaus Miller anchors USM's defense with 43 tackles in addition to his one interception. Octavius Thomas has registered two of the team's six sacks.

USM will have its hands full with a pair of ECU players who put their names in the record books last week versus Tulane. Shane Carden amassed a school-record 480 passing yards and a touchdown on 41-of-55 efficiency, but also threw a pick and was sacked six times. Justin Hardy set a pair of school records with 17 catches and 230 receiving yards. Carden and Hardy form one of the most dangerous connections in the nation, which has given ECU the top passing offense in the conference at 338 yards per game. Hardy's career average of 7.2 catches per game is the third best among active players.

Senior Vintavious Cooper, who is ECU's first returning 1,000-yard rusher since 2004, is making progress on a repeat performance with a team-best 459 yards on 103 carries through six contests. Cooper registered 22 attempts en route to 87 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns versus Tulane. The team amassed 543 yards of total offense and 31 first downs while holding the Green Wave to just 310 yards and 15 first downs. ECU had trouble finishing off drives as only two of its seven trips to the red zone resulted in touchdowns. It also went 4- of-16 on third-down conversion tries.

The Pirates' defensive unit did its job versus the Green Wave, which did not score an offensive touchdown in regulation. They rank third nationally in rush defense with only 81.3 allowed yards per game, but are near the bottom of the conference against the pass, allowing 279 per game. Damon Magazu recorded an interception in the second straight game last week. He is leading the team on the campaign with 39 total stops, while Derrel Johnson has proven himself as a relentless force with 6.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries.

The Pirates have plenty of motivation to get back on track and should fare much better with the support of the Dowdy-Ficken Stadium crowd. ECU still has a great chance of earning a spot in the C-USA Championship and will inch closer to that goal against a Golden Eagles' unit that has a long way to go before being a competitor within the conference once again.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: East Carolina 49, Southern Miss 10

10/16 10:34:49 ET

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Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
 
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
 
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
 
4th
BST 32
AKR 21
 
4th
GASTATE 31
GASO 62
 
4th
TOL 35
UMASS 35
 
4th
WMICH 42
OHIO 14
 
4th
COL 28
UCLA 31
 
4th
UMO 10
KSU 3
 
3rd
WAKE 0
BC 17
 
Half
BUF 7
CMICH 14
 
Half
MARS 14
FATL 16
 
Half
PITT 14
GT 28
 
Half
SMISS 7
LATU 3
 
Half
MSU 14
MICH 3
 
Half
KENT 10
MSST 17
 
Half
STAN 28
ORST 7
 
2nd
TCU 31
TTU 20
 
Half
OKST 10
WVU 14
 
2nd
WKENT 28
ODU 23
 
2nd
UTST 17
UNLV 7
 
2nd
MIZZ 10
VANDY 0
 
1st
UCF 7
TEMPL 0
 
6:00pm Tonight
WASU
ARZ
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
LAMON
TXST
7:00pm Tonight
TXSANANTO
UTEP
7:00pm Tonight
COLST
WYO
7:15pm Tonight
LSU
MISS
7:30pm Tonight
TENN
ALA
7:30pm Tonight
AUB
SCAR
8:00pm Tonight
PSU
OSU
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
2nd
SJS 0
BUF 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
BOS
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
DET
7:00pm Tonight
OTT
NJD
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MON
NYR
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
PIT
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
TAM
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14