HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - It might be safe to assume that Head Coach Larry Fedora didn't expect his team's eighth consecutive win to come this way, but it's also safe to assume he'll take it. With all zeros on the clock, the golden eagle defense came up with what could be the stop of the season, batting down a 2-point conversion attempt that would have won the game for UCF, and Southern Miss survived 30-29 at the Rock.
Southern Miss seemingly had things well in hand with 2:47 left in the game. The golden eagles were knocking on the door at the knight 11-yard line, but Jamal Woodyard fumbled and the door suddenly shut on Southern Miss and opened for UCF.
The knights used up all 2:47 of the remaining time, and drove down to the golden eagle 25-yard line. After a false start penalty that ran the clock down to only :02 seconds remaining in the ball game, UCF quarterback Blake Bortless threw one final prayer to the endzone that was answered by receiver J.J. Worton as time expired.
It looked as if the knights would add on the extra point and send the game to overtime, but the knights elected to go for the two-point conversion and the win. The black and gold defense held, and now Southern Miss needs only two more wins at UAB next week and against Memphis on senior night to punch its ticket to the Conference USA championship game.
Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis produced another stellar night, throwing for 366 yards and two touchdowns on 27-of-48 throwing. Running back Jamal Woodyard led the way for the black and gold ground game, rushing for 72 yards on 13 carries, while receiver Ryan Balentine caught 6 passes for 122 yards.
Bortless, who came into the game for injured starter Jeff Godfrey in the first quarter, completed 24-of-34 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns. Worton caught 11 passes for 114 yards and the final touchdown of the game.