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Game Preview: Southern Miss vs. East Carolina

Oct. 18, 2013

The Last Meeting
East Carolina24
Southern Miss14
September 15, 2012
Hattiesburg, Miss.
Turnovers Plague Golden Eagles in 24-14 Loss to ECU
Southern Miss led 7-3 at halftime, but the Pirates forced freshman quarterback Anthony Alford into an interception and two fumbles on the first three Golden Eagle drives of the second half.

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss has a sizeable challenge this week, traveling 861 miles to Greenville, N.C., for a Conference USA showdown with perennial frontrunner East Carolina Saturday at 11 a.m. CT.

This will be the 39th installment of the Southern Miss-East Carolina football series, a rivalry that has grown over the years as the Eagles and Pirates have played each season since 1983 and both teams have proven capable of remaining consistently atop the conference.

This is the last scheduled meeting between these two teams as East Carolina is relocating to the American Athletic Conference next season. The series is the fifth-longest for the Golden Eagles in terms of total games played against a single opponent.

Southern Miss holds a 27-11 advantage over the Pirates but has dropped three of the last four games including a 24-14 loss last year.

The series has been highlighted by close games - 14 contests have been decided by seven or fewer points - and a knack for success in East Carolina for the Golden Eagles. Southern Miss has won 16-of-19 games in Greenville.

Southern Miss is averaging 303 yards and 12 points while allowing 379 yards and 37 points per game.

Quarterback Allan Bridgford eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark during the FIU game. On the year, the redshirt senior has completed 110-of-196 passes for 1,118 yards and six touchdowns. Freshman Tyre'oune Holmes has been the Southern Miss' best receiver making 32 catches for 224 yards.

Senior Kendrick Hardy and sophomore Jalen Richard have rushed for 202 and 194 yards, respectively, and are both averaging greater than four yards per carry.

On defense, the Golden Eagles have been led by DeBarriaus Miller, who has made 43 total tackles, one for a loss, and intercepted one pass and registered two quarterback hurries. East Carolina is averaging 455 yards and 34 points while allowing 360 yards and 25 points per game.

The Southern Miss defense will pay particular attention to East Carolina's Shane Carden, statistically the best quarterback in Conference USA, who has passed for 2,017 yards and 13 touchdowns on the year.

Justin Hardy has been Carden's favorite receiver, making 57 for 639 yards and three scores.

Senior Vintavious Cooper is the Pirates' top rusher with 459 yards and four touchdowns on 106 attempts. Cooper has also caught 28 passes for 270 yards, the second most on the team in both categories.

East Carolina's defense is an aggressive one that has racked up 17 sacks, seven interceptions, four forced fumbles and 37 tackles for loss in six games.

Among the more productive defenders for the Pirates are Terrel Stanley and Lee Pegues, who have a team-high 3.5 sacks apiece. Stanley has also made six tackles for loss.

Damon Magazu is the team leader in tackles with 39 and also has two interceptions, tied for most on the East Carolina squad with Adonis Armstrong.

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