Recap: Southern Miss vs. Appalachian St
Hattiesburg, MS (SportsNetwork.com) - Dasman McCullum came up with a game- saving special teams play, as he blocked an extra-point attempt in the closing seconds to help the Southern Miss Golden Eagles defeat the Appalachian State Mountaineers, 21-20, in a non-conference thriller at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
Nick Mullens led Southern Miss (2-2) offensively by completing 22-of-35 pass attempts for 268 yards and a touchdown, but he was also intercepted twice. Michael Thomas reeled in four catches for 71 yards, while Brian Anderson anchored the Golden Eagles' defensive unit with a game-high 16 tackles. McCullum also played well defensively, recording 10 total stops, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
While under center for the Mountaineers (1-2), Taylor Lamb hit on 28-of-40 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns with the same number of interceptions. Marcus Cox tallied 119 yards and a score on 22 rushes, while Simms McElfresh reeled in seven catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Malachi Jones also made seven grabs on his way to 61 yards and a score.
The Golden Eagles received the opening kickoff before engineering a seven- play, 60-yard drive which ended with a 15-yard touchdown run by Payne that gave the hosts an early 7-0 lead.
USM extended its advantage on the scoreboard to 14-0 at the 13:28 mark of the second period, as Payne scored on a three-yard rush.
The Mountaineers finally responded, as Cox ran five yards across the goal line with 8:33 left before the intermission. Zach Matics then sent his extra-point attempt through the uprights to reduce the visitors' deficit to 14-7.
After a scoreless third quarter, ASU tied the score with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Lamb to Jones with just over five minutes left in regulation.
The Golden Eagles responded with a six-play, 65-yard drive which ended with a 31-yard touchdown throw from Mullens to George Payne. Corey Acosta's successful extra-point attempt gave USM a 21-14 advantage on the scoreboard with 2:22 remaining in the contest.
The Mountaineers managed to drive the length of the field over the next two minutes to set up a two-yard touchdown pass to McElfresh from Lamb. However, Matics was unable to force an overtime, as McCullum managed to block the extra-point attempt to clinch the decision for the hosts.
Matics missed two field goal attempts in the second half and had a 36-yard try blocked in the first period.
Despite the loss, ASU moved the chains 29 times compared to only 16 first downs by the Golden Eagles. USM was outgained, 455-329, in total yards of offense and overcame nine penalties, which sent it back 103 yards.Game Notes