Wide receiver Vincent Marshall sprints past Southern Mississippi defenders on a 69-yard pass reception during the first quarter.
Oct. 7, 2004
By JOEDY McCREARY
Associated Press Writer
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Backup quarterback Damion Carter threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Otho Graves in overtime, giving Southern Mississippi a 35-29 victory over Houston on Thursday night.
The Golden Eagles (4-0, 3-0 Conference USA), who blew a 14-point lead and trailed for most of the second half, forced overtime on starting quarterback Dustin Almond's 18-yard touchdown run with 1:22 remaining and Anthony Harris' game-tying 2-point conversion run.
Almond injured his left leg on the TD run, forcing sophomore Carter - who had attempted only two passes all season - into the game.
Southern Miss got the ball first in overtime and scored when Carter rolled right and hit Graves, who made a fingertip grab in the back of the end zone. Dustin McCaleb's extra-point was blocked.
Houston then advanced to the Southern Miss 15 before faltering with two plays for negative yardage, a false-start penalty and two incompletions.
Southern Miss fans stormed the field after Kevin Kolb's final pass sailed out of the end zone.
The Golden Eagles have won 12 straight Conference USA games since 2002.
Kolb was 19-of-36 for 345 yards and a touchdown for the Cougars (1-5, 1-3), who rallied from a 21-7 deficit and led 29-21 before Almond's touchdown run.
Vincent Marshall had four catches for 190 yards, turning several short slants into long gains for the Cougars, who haven't beaten Southern Miss since 1996.
Backup quarterback Kendal Briles - used by his father, Houston coach Art Briles as a multipurpose threat - caught 10 passes for 101 yards, and ran for 24 yards and a touchdown.
Houston had 518 yards to the Golden Eagles' 338.
Southern Miss - which entered giving up an average of 148 passing yards - allowed more than that (206) by halftime.
Almond was 16-of-28 for 169 yards with a touchdown to Antwon Courington for the Golden Eagles, who scored three of the first four times they touched the ball.
John Eubanks returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown for the Golden Eagles.
Dustin Bell had field goals of 37, 39 and a school-record 53 yards for Houston.