Scores

Final

Southern Miss 31

(7-3, 4-2 C-USA)

(25) UCF 21

(7-3, 5-1 American)

12:00 PM ET, November 13, 2010

Bright House Networks Stadium, Orlando, FL

1 2 3 4 T
USM 3 14 7 731
#25UCF 14 0 0 721

Top Performers

Passing: A. Davis (USM) - 264 YDS, 4 TD

Rushing: R. Weaver Jr. (UCF) - 12 CAR, 112 YDS

Receiving: K. Bolden (USM) - 4 REC, 75 YDS, 2 TD

Austin Davis rallies Southern Miss, throwing for 264 yards, 4 TDs

Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Central Florida (No. 25 AP) couldn't protect its first national ranking. It wasn't even close against Southern Mississippi.

Austin Davis threw for 264 yards and matched a career high with four touchdown passes for Southern Miss, which tightened the race for the Conference USA East division title with a 31-21 victory that surely will bounce UCF out of the Top 25.

"We're disappointed in the outcome," Knights coach George O'Leary said. "We've just got to regroup and get ready for the next game."

Davis overcame an early two-touchdown deficit with scoring passes of 5 yards to Johdrick Morris and 23 yards to Kelvin Bolden that put Southern Miss (7-3, 4-2) up 17-14 at halftime. Bolden's second TD reception broke the game open early in the fourth quarter.

"Beating a ranked team, in their stadium ... that's hard to do, but we took it as a challenge," Davis said. "We could easily have packed it in when we were down 14-0, but we didn't. We fought back, got a few turnovers from our defense and really dominated the game from there."

Jeff Godfrey threw for 190 yards and two TDs for UCF (7-3, 5-1), which had averaged 41.4 points during a five-game winning streak that vaulted the Knights into the Top 25 for the first time in the school's 31-year football history.

The true freshman is one of the nation's top dual-threat quarterbacks. His ability to run -- as well as throw with accuracy -- is one of the reasons the Knights seemingly emerged from nowhere to earn a spot in the rankings.

Southern Miss did a terrific job of containing the speedy Godfrey, limiting him to 6 net yards rushing on 12 attempts.

"The No. 1 thing we had to do was cage him and contain him. We wanted to put pressure on him, but the big thing was to keep him from running," Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora said. "I don't remember too many times when he broke out and got off a long run on us."

UCF started its program in Division III in 1979 and has always operated in the shadows of the state's Big Three -- Florida, Florida State and Miami -- and even close geographical rival South Florida, a former CUSA member that left the league for the Big East five years ago.

The Knights have raised their profile in seven seasons under O'Leary, the former Georgia Teach coach who went 0-11 upon his arrival in 2004 but has since led the Knights to four winning records and three bowl appearances.

Davis completed 21 of 34 passes and Southern Miss did not turn the ball over, keeping itself in contention for the East title and a spot in the CUSA championship game on Dec. 4. UCF fell into a tie for first place in the division with East Carolina, one game ahead of the Golden Eagles with two to play.

"There has never been a point this season where I didn't think these kids didn't believe in themselves," Fedora said. "The two losses we had were one-point losses and could have gone the other way. ... No one cried about it, we just moved on."

Southern Miss fell 44-43 to East Carolina and 50-49 in two overtimes to UAB within a three-week span.

It looked like Fedora's team might be in for a long day when UCF scored on its first two possessions, with Ronnie Weaver racing 52 yards to set up Godfrey's 1-yard touchdown run and then breaking a 38-yarder during a nine-play, 99-yard march that Godfrey finished with a 4-yard TD pass to Brian Watters.

Instead of bowing their heads, the Golden Eagles battled back.

"Nobody blinked. Nobody panicked. We had adversity and found our way out," Fedora said. "This is the kind of football we envisoned at Southern Miss. It was fast, it was smart and it was physical."

The Golden Eagles began their comeback with Danny Hrapmann's 31-yard field goal.

Later, Davis threw a 10-yard scoring pass to DeAndre Brown to open a 24-14 lead in the third quarter, then dumped UCF into a 17-point hole with a 26-yard TD throw to Bolden after UCF wasted an opportunity to trim its deficit to seven when Jamie Boyle missed a 30-yard field goal try on the second play of the fourth quarter.

Godfrey completed 16 of 25 passes and was intercepted twice. His 40-yard TD pass to Jamar Newsome cut the Southern Miss lead to 10, but the Golden Eagles recovered an onside kick and ran the final 4:21 off the clock.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
USM
UCF
1st Downs2418
Total Yards414335
Passing264190
Rushing150145
Penalties6-659-65
3rd Down Conversions11-168-15
4th Down Conversions0-00-0
Turnovers12
Possession29:2130:39

Passing Leaders

Southern MissC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Davis21/342647.840
UCFC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Godfrey16/251907.622

Rushing Leaders

Southern MissCARYDSAVGTDLG
Hardy15694.6012
Davis12413.4015
UCFCARYDSAVGTDLG
Weaver121129.3052
Murray6132.208

Receiving Leaders

Southern MissRECYDSAVGTDLG
Bolden47518.8226
Brown36622.0153
UCFRECYDSAVGTDLG
Newsome510020.0140
Watters5448.8114

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERUSMUCF
TD12:18Jeffrey Godfrey 1 Yd Run (Jamie Boyle Kick) 07
TD05:40Brian Watters 4 Yd Pass From Jeffrey Godfrey (Jamie Boyle Kick) 014
FG01:16Danny Hrapmann 31 Yd 314
SECOND QUARTERUSMUCF
TD13:25Johdrick Morris 5 Yd Pass From Austin Davis (Danny Hrapmann Kick) 1014
TD03:36Kelvin Bolden 23 Yd Pass From Austin Davis (Danny Hrapmann Kick) 1714
THIRD QUARTERUSMUCF
TD05:40DeAndre Brown 10 Yd Pass From Austin Davis (Danny Hrapmann Kick) 2414
FOURTH QUARTERUSMUCF
TD11:17Kelvin Bolden 26 Yd Pass From Austin Davis (Danny Hrapmann Kick) 3114
TD04:21Jamar Newsome 40 Yd Pass From Jeffrey Godfrey (Nick Cattoi Kick) 3121