for this game

No. 25 Southern Miss edges UCF

Nov 13, 2011 - 6:30 AM Hattiesburg, MS (Sports Network) - Blake Bortles' potential game-winning two- point conversion pass fell incomplete at the end of regulation, allowing the Southern Miss Golden Eagles to escape with a 30-29 victory over the UCF Knights.

Bortles hit J.J. Worton for a 25-yard leaping reception as time expired to pull UCF within 30-29, but the Knights opted against kicking the extra point.

Chris Briggs caught the eventual game-winning touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter for Southern Miss.

Austin Davis threw for 364 yards and two touchdowns, while Danny Hrapmann hit five field goals for the Golden Eagles (9-1, 5-1 C-USA), who have won eight straight games and improved to 9-1 for the first time since 1962.

"We tell these guys all the time that a great football team finds a way to win, and that's what happened tonight," said Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora. "We obviously didn't play a great game, but we did what it took to win a football game."

Bortles threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns against an interception for the Knights (4-6, 2-4), who fell to 0-5 on the road this season.

Hrapmann's 46-yard field goal gave the Bulldogs a 19-9 lead at the beginning of the fourth.

But his ensuing kickoff traveled only 39 yards and Latavius Murray capitalized with a 69-yard return for a touchdown to make it a 19-16 game.

It was the Knights first touchdown of the game.

Davis' 42-yard completion to Dominique Sullivan on Southern Miss' next drive set up Hrapmann's 48-yarder, extending the advantage to 22-16.

The lead would not last, as the Knight's responded with a 56-yard touchdown drive.

The march was extended on by A.J. Guyton's 15-yard reception on 3rd-and-10.

Guyton hung on despite taking a vicious hit, which drew an unnecessary roughness penalty, placing the ball on the USM 12.

Ronnie Weaver found the end zone two plays later on a pass from Bortles, giving the Knights their first lead since the opening quarter.

Southern Miss countered, though, reeling off an 80-yard, go-ahead drive.

Davis capped it with a four-yard touchdown pass to Briggs and a misdirection completion to offensive lineman Lamar Holmes on the two-point conversion made it a 30-23 game with 5:52 left.

Deddrick Jones made a one-handed interception three plays into the Knights' next drive.

But with his team poised to take a two-score lead, Jamal Woodyard fumbled at his own 10-yard line, setting up UCF's final march.

Facing a 4th-and-6 with two seconds remaining, Bortles found a leaping Worton, who wrestled the ball away from the defenders as he fell into the end zone.

Following a timeout, the Knights' offense marched back onto the field, opting to go for the win instead of the tie.

The decision backfired, as Bortles' pass was tipped in the end zone and fell harmlessly to the ground, sealing the Golden Eagles' victory.

"Well, we came in to win the game and I thought that was our best chance to win it, to go for two," said Knights coach George O'Leary. "The execution could've been better but it was a hell of a college football game. Someone has to win and someone has to lose."

Nick Cattoi, who was 3-for-3 on the night, gave UCF a 3-0 lead on the game's opening drive with a 48-yard field goal.

Later in the first, Bruce Johnson's one-yard touchdown plunge gave Southern Miss a 7-3 advantage.

Hrapmann was good from 22, 28 and 44 yards over the next two quarters, while Cattoi added field goals of 38 and 41 yards, setting the stage for the back- and-fourth finish.

Game Notes

The Golden Eagles improved to 6-1 all-time against the Knights and have won four straight in the series...Southern Miss improved to 11-2 in November under Fedora...UCF has dropped five straight road contests for the first time since an 0-6 effort in 2004.