Nov 15, 2003
By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP Sports Writer
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Dustin Almond put the game away with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Alan Whitney off a faked field goal with less than two minutes left and Southern Mississippi defeated Tulane 28-14 on Saturday.
The Golden Eagles (7-3, 6-0) have won four straight and are a half-game behind first-place TCU in Conference USA.
The unbeaten ninth-ranked Horned Frogs visit Hattiesburg on Thursday night for a game with BCS ramifications that will decide the C-USA title.
J.P. Losman was 21-for-36 for 244 yards and two touchdown for Tulane (4-7, 2-5), which has lost six of seven.
The Golden Eagles looked like they would rout the Green Wave early, jumping out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter.
But Southern Miss couldn't put Tulane away, and when Losman hit Chris Bush with a 17-yard touchdown the score was 20-14 with 7:26 left.
The Golden Eagles put together the long, time consuming drive they needed, but stalled at the Tulane 34 with about a minute and a half left - more than enough time for the dynamic Losman to mount a last-minute rally.
Southern Miss kicker Darren McCaleb lined up for a 51-yard field goal on fourth-and-4 with Almond holding as usual.
But instead of letting McCaleb kick, Almond took the snap, rolled right and hit a wide-open Whitney, who rumbled in for a touchdown with 1:27 left.
For Whitney, a freshman reserve tight end, it was his second catch of the season and first career touchdown.
The 2-point conversion pass from Almond to Marvin Young made it 28-14.
Almond finished 11-for-16 for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Anthony Harris
ran for 111 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries. Harris has gone over 100 yards
in three of four games since moving from fullback to tailback.
The Golden Eagles scored on their first three possessions in "The Battle for the Bell."
Almond was on target early, hitting Antwon Courington deep down the middle for 60 yards on his first pass.
He hooked up with Courington again for 22 yard and two plays later Harris ran in from 3 yards out to make it 7-0.
Almond was 5-for-7 in the first quarter for 129 yards and a 33-yard touchdown to DaRon Lawrence.
But the Southern Miss offense went cold and Losman drew the Green Wave to 17-7 when he hit Roydell Williams for a 3-yard TD with 15 seconds left in the first half.
Williams had eight catches for 93 yards.