Pirates rally to clip Eagles|Overcome 20-point deficit to top USM

Published 10:01 pm Sunday, October 10, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
The start may have been ugly, but the ending was pretty as the Pirates overcame a 20-0 first quarter deficit to win a 44-43 shootout over Conference USA East rival Southern Miss at “The Rock” on Saturday night.
The win is the biggest of the Ruffin McNeill era up to date and puts East Carolina (3-2, 3-0) in the driver’s seat in the east division of Conference USA.
After ending the first quarter down 20-0, the Pirates answered with a 17-0 run in the second quarter which was highlighted by a 46-yard TD pass from Dominique Davis to Lance Lewis, a Michael Barbour 30-yard field goal and a Dwayne Harris 7-yard TD reception with under a minute left in the half.
Davis was largely inconsistent as he finished the game hitting on only 18 of his 36 pass attempts but threw for 304 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Harris and Lewis led ECU in receiving as Harris pulled in nine catches for 99 yards and a score, while Lewis ended the game with only two catches, but both were 46-yard scores.
Lewis’ second TD cut the Eagles’ (4-2, 1-1) led to 27-24 with 10:37 to go in the third.
East Carolina gained its first lead of the game when Jonathan Williams returned a kickoff 99 yards to put his team up 31-30 midway through the third.
Like most of the second half, the two teams continued to trade scores and at the 8:11 mark in the fourth USM cornerback Jamie Collins picked off Davis and returned it 32 yards to give the Eagles the lead again at 43-38.
The Pirates never hung their heads as they executed their second comeback of the game and pieced together an eight play, 72-yard drive that ended with a Michael Bowman 32-yard TD pass and a 44-43 lead.