USM tops University of Louisiana-Monroe, clinches postseason eligibility

Published: Nov. 26, 2022 at 5:42 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (WDAM) - University of Southern Mississippi running back Frank Gore Jr. turned in the top rushing performance in his career Saturday in a must-win game for the Golden Eagles.

Gore averaged 8.3 yards per carry as he rang up a career-best 199 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries to spur the Golden Eagles to a 20-10 victory at the University of Louisiana-Monroe at Malone Stadium.

Gore topped 1,000 yards for the first time in his Golden Eagles career, hitting 1,053 yards in 11 games this season. He also had two catches for 26 yards, giving him 225 total yards in the game.

USM (6-6) hit the magical “sixth win” mark, qualifying the Golden Eagles for postseason play for the first time in three years.

USM’s offense turned in one of its most productive days of the season, roiling up 448 total yards, including 265 on the ground.

But USM could not translate the yardage into points, allowing the Warhawks (4-7) stay close.

The Golden Eagles scored the game’s first 10 points and turned that into a 10-7 halftime lead.

USM led 10-0 after one quarter on a 29-yard pass from Trey Lowe III to Jakarius Caston and a 20-yard field goal by Briggs Bourgeois.

Louisiana got on the scoreboard in the second quarter on a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chandler Rogers to running back Andrew Henry.

The teams exchanged field goals, with UL-Monroe pulling even on Calum Sutherland’s 37-yard field goal in the third quarter.

A Bourgeois’ 24-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter gave USM a 13-10 lead.

The Golden Eagles then came up with two of the game’s biggest plays.

A blocked punt by Brendan Toles set USM at the ULM 33-yard line. On the first offensive snap, Gore covered the distance to give the Golden Eagles a 10-point lead with 7 minutes, 23 seconds, to play.

Lowe had one of his better days, hitting 10-of-16 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown.

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