Young's Late Rushing Score Leads Comeback Win Over ECU in Conference Opener
Sept. 15, 2007
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Southern Mississippi has found a home away from home in East Carolina's backyard.
Jeremy Young scored the second of his two 1-yard touchdown runs with 32 seconds left Saturday night to lead the Golden Eagles to a 28-21 victory over the Pirates in the Conference USA opener. It's the 15th victory in 17 games for Southern Mississippi in Greenville.
Young's score helped the Golden Eagles (2-1, 1-0 Conference USA) overcome a third-quarter rally which helped East Carolina (1-2, 0-1 Conference USA) erase a 14-0 deficit to take a 21-14 lead.
Young completed 18 of 28 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once.
"Good teams are going to make a run," Southern Miss coach Jeff Brower said. "At 14-0 at the half, we played well on both side of the ball. I told them at halftime all good football teams are going to make a run at you sometime. You're going to have to make plays and run the ball."
The Pirates scored on their opening possession of the third quarter when quarterback Patrick Pinkney connected with Dwayne Harris for a 20-yard touchdown reception.
Linebacker Quentin Cotton intercepted a Young pass on Southern Mississippi's ensuing possession and returned it to the 1-yard line. Dominique Lindsay ran it two plays later in from a yard out to tie the game at 14.
After forcing a three-and-out on the next Golden Eagle possession, ECU took the lead on a six-yard touchdown pass from Pinkney to Chris Johnson with 2:34 left in the period.
Southern Mississippi charged back with a pair of 80-yard scoring drives which ended each time with Young scoring. The second march took 6 minutes, 8 seconds, leaving East Carolina little time to tie the score again.
Running back Damion Fletcher played a big role in the Golden Eagles' fourth-quarter comeback. Of his 111 yards, 39 came in the fourth quarter.
His biggest play came late in the third quarter with his team still down a touchdown. With Southern Miss facing 3rd-and-15, Fletcher caught a pass from Young well behind the first-down marker. He shook free of several ECU defenders and broke a big run after the catch.
Two plays later, Young scored from a yard out to tie the game at 21-21 with 14:36 left to play.
"(Fletcher) did a great job," ECU coach Skip Holtz said. "He caught it. A couple of guys overran it and missed a couple of tackles, and then he stuck it up inside.
"Fletcher is a tremendous back. He did a heck of a job running the ball. He runs hard. He runs physical, and he breaks tackles."
The Pirates could only reach the Southern Mississippi 44 as time ran out.
Pinkney threw for 165 of his 203 yards in the second half, and completed 20 of 33 passes.