NC State 17

(1-2, 0-1 away)

Southern Miss 37

(2-1, 2-0 home)

7:00 PM ET, September 16, 2006

M. M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS

1 2 3 4 T
NCST 0 10 0 717
USM 3 10 17 737

Top Performers

Passing: J. Young (USM) - 181 YDS

Rushing: D. Fletcher (USM) - 28 CAR, 177 YDS, 3 TD

Receiving: D. Bowens (NCST) - 4 REC, 76 YDS, 1 TD

Eagles soar past reeling Wolfpack

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) -- Freshman Damion Fletcher rushed for 177 yards and three touchdowns Saturday as Southern Miss upset North Carolina State 37-17.

Fletcher rushed for 53 yards in the first quarter alone and finished with the third-best rushing performance by a freshman in team history as the Golden Eagles picked up a rare home victory against a team from a Bowl Championship Series conference.

The last came in 2002 when Southern Miss knocked off Illinois of the Big Ten -- one of just five teams from a BCS leagues to travel to Hattiesburg since 2000.

The Wolfpack (1-2) has now lost two consecutive games to teams from minor conferences -- Akron of the Mid-American Conference last week and Southern Miss of Conference USA. Its sole win came against Division I-AA Appalachian State.

N.C. State failed to force a Southern Miss punt.

Fletcher rushed for a 7-yard touchdown in the first quarter to put the Eagles (2-1) up 10-0, then sealed the win with a pair of second-half touchdowns. Kicker Darren McCaleb added three field goals.

While Fletcher was running all over N.C. State, Southern Miss was shutting down Andre Brown. The tailback rushed for 248 yards against the Golden Eagles as the Wolfpack came from behind for a 20-17 win in Raleigh last year.

But he was held to 48 yards and an average of 3.7 per carry in Hattiesburg. Southern Miss also made it tough for quarterback Marcus Stone, picking off three of his passes, including one in the end zone.

The Wolfpack was able to score in the fourth quarter again Saturday, but by the time the offense started moving the game was well out of reach.

Southern Miss held N.C. State to 106 total yards in the first half and 274 in the game. The Eagles were out of reach at 37-10 as the fourth quarter started.

The Wolfpack also hurt itself with crucial penalties in the second half, including unsportsmanlike conduct, a late hit and holding.

Fletcher and the Golden Eagles were able to overcome a bad penalty of their own after the freshman was called for celebrating his first-quarter touchdown.

N.C. State ended up with the ball at the Southern Miss 49 and three plays later cut the score to 10-7 when Stone hit Donald Bowens with a 46-yard touchdown with 9:37 left in the half. The two teams exchanged field goals and Southern Miss led 13-10 at halftime.

Southern Miss began to pull away after the first kickoff of the second half. Fletcher ripped off a 24-yard run to start the third quarter and then quarterback Jeremy Young hit receiver Damion Carter on a 40-yard fly route after the Wolfpack defender tripped on the play.

Fletcher ran for 13 yards to the 1-foot line and put the Eagles up 20-10 on the next play with 13:21 remaining.

A slip also benefited the Eagles on the Wolfpack's first play of the next series. Bowens slipped while running a deep crossing pattern and Jasper Faulk took an easy interception and returned it 40 yards to the N.C. State 18. McCaleb hit a 32-yard field goal for a 23-10 lead.

The teams exchanged interceptions before Young scored from 1-yard out for a 30-10 lead with 1:32 remaining in the third quarter. Each team added a score in the fourth.