Southern Miss routs Memphis 44-7 for East title

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Austin Davis passed for 277 yards and two scores, and ran for another as Southern Mississippi breezed past Memphis 44-7.

Davis completed 14 of 26 passes to give the Golden Eagles (10-2) their first Conference USA Eastern Division title since 2006 and their first 10-win season since 1988.

Southern Mississippi will play at No. 8-ranked Houston in the conference championship game next Saturday.

The Golden Eagles forced three turnovers by Memphis and returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns. The second, by Kendrick Presley, was for 100 yards.

Memphis (2-10) managed just 21 rushing yards on 23 attempts, and narrowly avoided a shutout with a late defensive score when Mitch Huelsing recovered a Southern Miss fumble in the end zone for a touchdown with 6:54 remaining in the game.

The Tigers have won five games in the past three seasons combined.

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)