Golden Knights Drop C-USA Opener to Southern Miss


Sept. 26, 2006

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ORLANDO (AP) - Jerome Lyons returned an interception for a touchdown, leading Southern Miss to a 19-14 victory over UCF in the Conference USA opener for both schools Tuesday night.

The linebacker cut in front of receiver Mike Walker and grabbed Steven Moffett's pass, then trotted four yards untouched into the end zone to give the Golden Eagles a 19-7 lead with 10:24 left.

Moffett threw a 6-yard scoring pass to Javid James, cutting UCF's deficit to 19-14 with 5:51 remaining. The Golden Knights (1-3, 0-1 C-USA) got the ball back at their 39-yard line with 4:11 left, but Moffett was sacked three times. They turned the ball over on downs at the 33.

Southern Miss (3-1, 1-0) then ran out the clock.

Lyons' interception return punctuated the offensive struggles for both teams. They combined for seven punts and only 94 yards in the first quarter, and neither team had a third-down conversion until the third.

Southern Mississippi's Jeremy Young found Chris Johnson with a 54-yard touchdown pass with 4:18 left in the second quarter. Darren McCaleb added a 19-yard field goal 17 seconds before halftime to push the lead to 10-0.

UCF cut it to 10-7 when Kevin Smith dived over a pile from the 1 on the Golden Knights' first possession of the second half.

Smith, who had 129 yards on 30 attempts, could have scored another touchdown on the next possession, but fumbled the ball away into the end zone when LeVance Richmond hit him and recovered the ball.

McCaleb turned that into a 34-yard field to give Southern Miss a 13-7 lead.