BIRMINGHAM, AL (WDAM) - Spencer Brown’s 17-yard touchdown run gave the University of Alabama-Birmingham a 26-23 walk-off victory in overtime over the University of Southern Mississippi Saturday night at Legion Field.
USM (4-5, 3-3 Conference USA) had tied the score 20-20 on Stephen Anderson’s 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and taken a 23-20 lead on Parker Shaunfield’s third field goal of the game, a 37-yarder on the first possession of the extra period.
But starting at the 25-yard line, Brown covered the distance in three carries, including the game-winning touchdown as the Blazers (9-1, 7-0) won their eighth consecutive game and clinched C-USA’s West Division title.
USM freshman quarterback Tate Whatley started his second consecutive game in place of injured starter Jack Abraham, and his 19-yard touchdown pass to Quez Watkins in the first quarter helped the Golden Eagles grab a 13-0 lead.
But UAB, which cut the lead to 13-7 at halftime, clamped down in the second half, holding the Golden Eagles to 24 yards and outscoring USM 13-0 to take a 20-13 after three quarters. Whatley wound up being sacked seven times.
But a Ky’el Hemby’s interception at midfield midway through the fourth quarter set up Anderson’s game-tying touchdown.
The Golden Eagles had three interceptions, including one near game’s end that Ty Williams took from his 22-yard line to the UAB 36-yard line with 16 seconds to play.
But Whatley was intercepted in the end zone on what turned out to be the final play of regulation to send the game to overtime.
USM, which must win its final two games to qualify for postseason consideration, will return home for the final time to welcome Louisiana Tech University at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium.