Sept. 4, 2011
Danny Hrapmann made a 49-yard field goal with 2:32 left to help Southern Miss beat Louisiana Tech 19-17 on a rainy Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.
Southern Miss held freshman quarterback Nick Isham and the Louisiana Tech offense to 244 yards, but mistakes on special team cost the Golden Eagles in several crucial situations. Southern Miss muffed and lost a punt at its own 3, had a field goal blocked and gave up Lyle Fitte's 86-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
"We've got a lot of things to work on and we've got a lot of room for improvement," Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora said. "I've never been in a situation where you have a blocked field goal, you drop a punt on the one-yard line and you let a team return a kickoff for a touchdown and you still win the game."
Down 7-0 at the half, Louisiana Tech tied it at 10 with the kickoff return and took a 17-13 lead after Southern Miss receiver Tracy Lampley muffed a punt at the 3 -- setting up Lennon Creer's 1-yard touchdown run.
Southern Miss pulled within a point on freshman Corey Acosta's 42-yard field goal with 7:44 to go and took the lead on Hrapmann's 49-yarder. The defense then held on fourth-and-5 at midfield to seal the win.
Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis completed 21 passes for 226 yards. He also threw an interception.
Isham finished 20 of 36 for 176 yards for Tech, but the Bulldogs never established the ground game and rushed for just 68 yards.
"We had a hard time finding anything that we could go to consistently to get us some yardage," Tech coach Sonny Dykes said. "We had some breaks and had an opportunity to win the game and just came up short."
Hrapmann also made a 38-yard field goal at the end of the third quarter, but went down with cramps and didn't return until the winning kick.
Acosta also connected on a 25-yarder.
Fedora admitted after the game he wasn't aware Acosta was kicking in place of Hrapmann.
"It's probably better that I didn't know he was out there," Fedora said. "But all he did was go out there and kick two in a row."
With Tropical Storm Lee battering the field with rain and wind gusts up to 30 mph, both teams struggled to find any rhythm on offense, especially early. The two combined for just 93 passing yards in the first half and converted just five of 17 third- and fourth-down attempts.
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