Southern Miss stumbles at Charlotte

Published 8:07 pm Saturday, October 27, 2018

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — By the time Southern Miss dug deep and started its comeback, it was too late to climb out of the hole it found itself in.

Juwan Foggie returned an interception 79 yards for a touchdown and Jonathan Cruz booted two field goals as Charlotte edged Southern Miss 20-17 on Saturday.

Foggie cut in front of Jordan Mitchell on a short slant route for his fifth interception of the season, then raced untouched to the end zone, his second pick-six, as Charlotte (4-4, 3-2 Conference USA) built a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

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Cruz kicked field goals of 40 and 39 yards. The first put the 49ers ahead 17-0 early in the third quarter, and the last made it 20-10 with 4:19 left in the fourth.

“We didn’t execute at a high enough level, but we fought. We fought for 60 minutes and gave ourselves a chance to get back in it,” Southern Miss coach Jay Hopson said. “Just a lot of missed executions today.”

Southern Miss (3-4, 2-2) rallied from the 17-point deficit to make things mildly interesting.

Backup quarterback Tate Whatley threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter — a 43-yarder to former St. Aloysius star DeMichael Harris and an 11-yarder to Mitchell with 1:11 remaining — to cut it to 20-17.
The ensuing onside kick went out of bounds, however, and Charlotte ran out the clock.

Southern Miss’ starting quarterback Jack Abraham threw for 210 yards with three interceptions before Whatley came in for the fourth quarter.

Whatley finished 6-of-8 passing for 87 yards, and also ran for a team-high 62 yards.

Harris led the Golden Eagles with seven receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown, while Tim Jones caught five passes for 96 yards. Mitchell caught three balls for 45 yards and a TD. Harris’ touchdown was the first of his career at USM.

Southern Miss’ Sherrod Ruff had six tackles, 5 1/2 tackles for loss and one sack.

Benny Lemay led Charlotte’s offense with 19 carries for 81 yards. The 49ers won despite being outgained 426 yards to 224.

Foggie had two interceptions, to go along with six total tackles and one tackle for loss.