USM tops Louisiana-Monroe, 24-7, to snap a 7-game losing streak
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi football team snapped a seven-game losing streak Saturday with a 24-7, victory over the visiting University of Louisiana-Monroe at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
Two first-quarter touchdown passes and a salty first-half defensive effort helped USM grab a 17-0 halftime lead, and the Golden Eagles (2-7, 1-5 Sun Belt Conference) were on their way to their first win over a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent this season.
Junior running back Frank Gore Jr. ran for 131 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, passing two USM legends in the process to move from fifth to third on USM’s career rushing list.
Gore, who is just the third USM player to rush for more than 3,600 yards in a career, passed Derrick Nix (3,584 yards) and Ben “Go-Go” Garry (3,595 yards).
Saturday’s 100-yard game was Gore’s fourth of the season and the 12th in his career. He broke a tie with another legendary USM running back, Sam Dejarnette, to move into fifth place by himself on the career list for 100-yard games.
Gore’s effort helped the Golden Eagles’ offense pile up 444 yards total offense. UL-Monroe (2-7, 0-6 SBC) managed just 260 yards, including 73 yards rushing.
USM led by 17 points after one quarter.
Linebacker Hayes Maples of Oak Grove High School ended UL-Monroe’s first offensive possession when he intercepted a pass that set up the Golden Eagles at the Warhawks’ 38 yard line.
One play later, USM used a little trickeration, with quarterback Billy Wiles throwing a lateral/pass to back Chandler Pittman of Magee. Pittman then found Latreal Jones of Taylorsville down the sideline for a 7-0 lead.
ULM responded with a drive that reached the Golden Eagles’ 15-yard line, but the USM defense stiffened, and the Warhawks missed a 32-yard field goal attempt.
One play later from its own 20, Wiles connected with Jakarius Caston at the USM 33-yard line, and Caston did the rest, zipping the remaining 67 yards to complete an 80-yard scoring play and give the Golden Eagles a 14-0 lead.
Andrew Stein would tack on a 31-yard field goal with a little more than three minutes left in the first quarter.
USM lost a chance to add to its lead when Wiles was picked off after the Golden Eagles had driven to the ULM 11-yard line in the second quarter.
The Warhawks got on the board in the third quarter on a 68-yard touchdown pass from Jiya Wright to Dariyan Wiley.
Tossing in a 40-yard pass play in the first half, 108 of UL-Monroe’s total offense came on two plays.
Gore added a 1-yard touchdown run half way through the final period.
USM faces a short week of preparation, heading into a 6:30 p.m. kickoff Thursday to face the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
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