Nov. 26, 2005
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -
The Southern Miss football team earned bowl eligibility today, as it defeated Tulane, 26-7 on senior day.
With the win, Southern Miss improves to 6-5 overall, 5-3 in Conference USA, assuring itself of a non-losing season for the 12th consecutive season. Tulane falls to 2-9, 1-7.
Today's game was originally scheduled to be the season opener for both teams on Sept. 4, but Hurricane Katrina forced the game to be rescheduled.
Southern Miss took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, after Tulane punter Barrett Pepper mishandled the snap, giving the Golden Eagles possession at the 35-yard line. From there, the Golden Eagles used 10 plays before Cole Mason found the end zone on a one-yard run, the third touchdown of the season. Darren McCaleb kicked the extra point, giving him 235 career points, breaking the school's all-time scoring record set by Sammy Winder in his career from 1978-81.
The Golden Eagles made the score 10-0 in the second quarter, as McCaleb connected on a 33-yard field goal with 8:35 to play.
On Tulane's ensuing possession, John Eubanks intercepted Green Wave quarterback Lester Ricard's pass, giving the team possession at the 48-yard line. From there, McCaleb added a 41-yard field goal, giving Southern Miss a 13-0 advantage with 3:35 to play.
After holding Tulane to three and out on its ensuing possession, Southern Miss got the ball at its 44-yard line with 48 seconds remaining in the half. After a no-gain run by Cody Hull and incomplete pass, Dustin Almond found Shawn Nelson for a 21-yard pass to the Tulane 35-yard line with 14 seconds remaining. After an incomplete pass, Almond found Josh Barnes for 11-yards to the Green Wave 24-yard line with three seconds remaining. McCaleb then connected on a 41-yard field goal, to make the halftime score 16-0.
The Green Wave answered on their ensuing possession, as Ricard found Damarcus Davis for a 23-yard touchdown, to make the score 23-7.
In the fourth quarter, Caleb Hendrix got his first interception of the season, which set up McCaleb's 34-yard field goal with 6:19 remaining in the game, to make the final margin.
Southern Miss will now wait to learn if it is going bowling for the fourth-consecutive season.
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