FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- Brandon Hassell rushed for three
touchdowns and threw for another as TCU kept its postseason chances
alive by beating Southern Mississippi 42-17 Saturday.
TCU (5-5, 3-4 Conference USA) still needs a win next Saturday
against Tulane to become bowl eligible.
Southern Mississippi (5-4, 4-3) lost quarterback Dustin Almond
early in the third quarter with an undisclosed injury. Jeremy Young
replaced Almond, who threw for 116 yards before being knocked out,
and led the Golden Eagles on two short scoring drives.
The Golden Eagles lost their third straight conference game for
the first time since joining Conference USA in 1996.
Hassell threw for 250 yards and a score. He also had two 1-yard
touchdown runs and one of nine yards for the Horned Frogs, who have
played in six straight bowl games.
TCU's Robert Merrill rushed for 149 yards and Cory Rodgers had
seven receptions for 106 yards. Quincy Butler had a 99-yard
interception return that gave TCU a 42-17 lead in the fourth.
Hassell's 1-yard touchdown run gave TCU a 28-7 cushion early in
the third, but Southern Mississippi rallied with the help of two
big special teams plays.
After a 52-yard kickoff return by Southern Mississippi's Darrell
Bennett, Sherron Moore's 2-yard touchdown run brought the Golden
Eagles within 28-14.
Yamil Ortega then blocked a John Braziel punt that set up Darren
McCaleb's 24-yard field goal with 3:51 left in the third.
But TCU took a 35-17 lead early in the fourth on Rodger's 1-yard
Southern Mississippi, whose bowl hopes are in peril after a 5-1
start, couldn't rally in the fourth. The Golden Eagles need to win
one of their final two games against either UAB or No. 4 California
to become bowl eligible. Both games are at home.