Gore, goal line stands carry Southern Miss to overtime victory against Louisiana

Published 10:57 pm Thursday, November 9, 2023

LAFAYETTE, La. — Southern Miss won by doing what Louisiana-Lafayette couldn’t Thursday night — covering the last few yards to the end zone.

Frank Gore Jr. rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 3-yard score in overtime, as Southern Miss beat Louisiana 34-31.

This was Southern Miss’ second win in a row after it lost the previous six games. It beat Louisiana for the 11th consecutive time, continuing a streak that started in 1994. USM head coach Will Hall also improved his record to 8-1 against teams from Louisiana.

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Southern Miss (3-7, 2-5 Sun Belt Conference) stopped Louisiana (5-5, 2-4) twice on downs at the 1-yard line and avoided giving up another touchdown on a bizarre play early in the third quarter.

USM quarterback Billy Wiles fumbled inside the 10 and the ball was scooped up by linebacker Antoine Baylis. Baylis head for the end zone but he also fumbled just before he crossed the goal line. Southern Miss recovered for a touchback to keep the score tied at 14.

Gore also had a receiving touchdown and amassed his rushing yards on a season-high 33 carries. He had his third consecutive 100-yard game, and fifth this season.

Southern Miss also came from behind twice before eventually pulling out the win. Chandler Fields threw two touchdown passes, a 51-yarder to Harvey Broussard and a 7-yarder to Trayv’on Culbert, to put Louisiana ahead 28-21 with 5:55 left in the game.

Fields was 24-of-38 passing for 260 yards and two touchdowns.

The Golden Eagles answered with a 10-play drive capped by Ethan Crawford’s 9-yard TD pass to Jakarius Caston to tie it with 1:26 left.

In overtime, the Cajuns got the ball first and settled for a 34-yard field goal by Kenneth Almendares. On Southern Miss’ possession, a pass interference penalty on third-and-7 gave the Golden Eagles a first down at the 7, and Gore took it into the end zone two plays later for the walk-off touchdown.