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Football's Late Rally Comes Up Short, Falls 24-22 To Memphis

Dustin Almond tossed two touchdowns tonight, giving him 20 on the season.

Dustin Almond tossed two touchdowns tonight, giving him 20 on the season.

Nov. 19, 2005

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. -

Southern Miss' second half rally came up short tonight, as it dropped a 24-22 decision to Memphis.

The Golden Eagles fought back from a 15-point second-half deficit, but the Tigers won for only the thhird time in Hattiesburg tonight and the first time since a 23-13 win in 1984. Southern Miss had won 10 straight meetings in Hattiesburg.

With the loss, Southern Miss falls to 5-5 overall, 4-3 in Conference USA. Memphis improves to 5-5 overall, 4-3 in Conference USA.

Southern Miss took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, getting a 44-yard completion from Dustin Almond to Anthony Perine on the game's opening play, setting up Darren McCaleb's 40-yard field goal. With that field goal, McCaleb set the school record for most field goals made in a season with 18.

Memphis took a 7-3 lead with 7:12 to play before halftime, as Maurice Avery scored on a one-yard run on a fourth down play.

The Tigers added to their lead, as DeAngelo Williams scored on a four-yard run, set up by an O.C. Collins interception, giving Memphis possession at the 43-yard line, making the score 14-3 with 4:25 before halftime.

With the Tigers pinned at their own one-yard line with 3:06 to play before halftime, the Golden Eagle defense forced the Tigers to punt. On the ensuing punt, Jasper Faulk had an 11-yard return, setting up the Southern Miss offense at the Tiger 35-yard line. The team moved to the Tiger 24-yard line, but Almond was intercepted at the seven-yard line, with 55 seconds remaining.

On the final play before halftime, Brandon Sumrall intercepted an Avery pass in the end zone to make the halftime score 14-3.

Memphis expanded its lead to 21-3 on its first second half possession, as Williams scored on a 29-yard reception from Avery, with 12:16 to play in the third quarter.

Southern Miss made the score 21-9 on a five-yard touchdown run by Cody Hull with 3:17 to play. The extra-point attempt was blocked by Tiger Brandon McDonald.

Memphis made the score 24-9 on a 27-yard field goal by Gostowski, with 13:53 remaining.

The Golden Eagles made the score 24-16 with 7:41 to play, as Almond found Joe Singleton for a 15-yard touchdown, the first of his career. With that touchdown pass, Almond tied the school record for touchdowns responsible for, matching Jeff Kelly's 60 in his career from 1998-2001. McCaleb's extra point also tied the school's all-time scoring record, matching Sammy Winder's 234 he set from 1978-81.

Southern Miss got closer, as Almond found Josh Barnes for a 30-yard touchdown with 1:30 to play. With that touchdown, Almond broke Kelly's school record for touchdowns responsible for, giving him 61 in his career. It was also his 20th touchdown pass of the season and 16th multiple touchdown game of his career.

The Golden Eagles went for two and missed, but a pass interference call went against Memphis' Jamaal Rufus, giving the team another opportunity. But Cody Hull's two-point conversion run came up just shy of the goal line.

The Golden Eagles tried an onside kick, but Memphis recovered. Southern Miss had three timeouts, but were unable to stop the Tigers to have an opportunity to win the game.

Southern Miss closes out the regular-season on Saturday, Nov. 26, hosting Tulane in a 2 p.m., contest.

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