Head Coach Jay Hopson and the Southern Miss Golden Eagles stunned the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs after trailing by double digits late in the fourth quarter, ultimately rallying for a 34-27 double-overtime win in Ruston, Louisiana.
Quarterback Kean Howard made his third straight start and in place of injured quarterback Kwadra Griggs.
After a quick first down on the opening play, the Southern Miss initial drive was halted. On the ensuing LA Tech drive, running back Boston Scott broke away for a 45-yard gain that set up a 23-yard field goal from kicker Jonathan Barnes. The Bulldogs obtained a three-point lead but weather temporarily spoiled the Rivalry in Dixie.
Lightning delays forced close to a 45-minute delay with 6:17 left to go in the first quarter. This was the fifth time in the last seven meetings that weather has impacted this matchup.
Southern Miss was then forced to settle for a field goal once the weather delay was lifted and after another drive was stopped short. With kicker Parker Shaunfield’s 45-yard field goal, the Golden Eagles ended the first quarter tied at three.
Scoring drives answered each other once again in the second quarter. LA Tech scored on a 15-yard run from Scott and Southern Miss scored on running back Ito Smith’s 23-yard receiving touchdown. This was Smith’s sixth straight game with a touchdown. However, the Bulldogs did manage to find their way ahead; at the expense of Howard throwing a pick-six to the Bulldogs’ safety Darryl Lewis late in the first half. This allowed LA Tech to take a 17-10 lead into halftime.
Southern Miss, still unable to reach the end zone, settled for two straight field goals from Shaunfield in the third quarter. One from 34 yards out, the other from 26, cutting the deficit to just one point.
LA Tech answered in the fourth quarter with a 45-yard field goal of its own from Barnes. Southern Miss followed with a what seemed to be a likely scoring chance. After a 40- yard gain from wide revier Korey Robertson that set the Golden Eagles inside of the opposing 5-yard line, Southern Miss fumbled on the goal line and allowed the Bulldogs to recover. LA Tech flipped the field with an 82-yard play and let quarterback J’Mar Smith finish the drive with a two-yard touchdown run. This gave LA Tech a 27-16 lead with 4:08 left to play.
Shaunfield nailed a 49-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter, his longest of the season. Southern Miss followed by attempting a game- defining onside kick that linebacker Paxton Schrimsher recovered for the Golden Eagles. Soon thereafter, Howard found Robertson for a 22- yard touchdown pass. Howard then found tight end Jay’Shawn Washington for the two-point conversion, ending regulation tied at 27 and forcing overtime.
The initial overtime period collapsed as both Smith and Howard threw interceptions for their respective teams.
In double-overtime, Howard connected with Robertson for a 25-yard game eventual game winning touchdown.
The Nasty Bunch stood tall, sending the Bulldogs packing as they were unable to answer the call. With that, Southern Miss stunned LA Tech late – 34-27.
Robertson finished with nine receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns and Howard finished 32- of-53 throwing three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Southern Miss has now won ten of its last 13 meeting with the Bulldogs and holds a 16-8 all-time record against LA Tech in Ruston.
Next up the Golden Eagles face the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Saturday Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. in M.M. Roberts Stadium.