HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - D'Angelo Williams ran for 123 yards and scored two touchdowns to keep Memphis' bowl hopes alive in a 24-22 win Saturday night over Southern Mississippi. Williams, who missed last week's loss to Tennessee with a sprained ankle, scored on a 4-yard run and a 29-yard pass from Maurice Avery. Memphis (5-5, 4-3 Conference USA) could go to its third straight bowl game for the first time in school history with a win over Marshall next Saturday.
Southern Mississippi (5-5, 4-3) trailed 24-9 in the fourth quarter when quarterback Dustin Almond helped the Golden Eagles close the gap. Almond hit Joe Singleton with a 15-yard touchdown pass midway through the final period, then hooked up with Josh Barnes on 30-yard scoring pass with 1:30 to play to cut the lead to 24-22. But Southern Mississippi came up short on the try for two when Cody Hull was stopped at the 1-yard line. Memphis recovered the ensuing onside kick and the Tigers ran out the clock. Southern Miss need a win over Tulane to earn its fourth straight bowl appearance and extend its streak to 12 consecutive winning seasons.
The Golden Eagles have lost three of their last four. It was the 32nd time Williams has cracked the 100-yard mark in his career. His 123 yards pushed him into fourth place all-time on the list for career rushing leaders in the NCAA. Memphis trailed after one quarter thanks to a 49-yard field goal by USM's Darren McCaleb. But the Tigers wasted little time getting on the board themselves when Avery directed a 12-play, 80-yard drive, that ended in his 1-yard scoring plunge giving Memphis a 7-3 lead. O.C. Collins picked off an Almond pass on the first play of the ensuing USM drive, setting Memphis up at the USM 43. Seven plays later, Williams scored the 50th rushing touchdown of his career from 4 yards out and the Tigers took a 14-3 lead into halftime. Williams' 29-yard TD catch put the Tigers up 21-3 before Southern Mississippi's comeback.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)