USM comes up short at Coastal, drops to .500 after 26-23 road loss
CONWAY, S.C. (WDAM) - The University of Southern MIssissippi twice held leads in the second half of its Sun Belt Conference football game Saturday night at Coast Carolina University.
But after the third of Briggs Bourgeois’ three field goals staked USM to a three-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Chanticleers needed just three plays to cover 75 yards to regain the lead for good and hold off the Golden Eagles for a 26-23 victory.
Reese White’s second touchdown run of the game, a 2-yarder, put Coastal ahead with 9 minutes, 20 seconds, to play.
But USM saw two drives stall in the midfield range, including a final possession that ended on a strip fumble on fourth down with less than 90 seconds to play and the Golden Eagles out of timeouts.
USM (5-5, 3-3 Sun Belt) dropped its second consecutive game and remains one win shy of the six needed for postseason eligibility.
Coastal (9-1, 6-1) won its third in a row and remained a game ahead in ‘Group A’ of the Sun Belt.
USM started Saturday’s game as lamely as it had played in a 42-14 loss the previous week to Georgia State University in Hattiesburg.
Aaron Begood and White each had a touchdown run for Coastal Carolina in the first quarter to help the Chanticleers jump out to a 17-0 lead.
But the Golden Eagles suddenly bowed up.
A 1-yard touchdown run by Kenyon Clay and a 15-yard touchdown pass from Trey Lowe III to Tiaquelin Mims sparked a 17-point quarter by the Golden Eagles to even the game at halftime.
Bourgeois twice kicked short field goals in the second half to give USM small leads, but in the end, USM could not stop Coastal when needed nor get in scoring position down the stretch.
Lowe, who started for the first time this season, completed 19 of 36 passes for a career-high 295 yards and a touchdown.
His Coastal counterpart, Jarrett Guest, hit 7-of-14 passes for 163 yards with two interceptions. Receiver Sam Pinckney had four catches for 106 yards.
USM will play the University of South Alabama at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the Golden Eagles’ final home game.
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