Blocked kick lifts ECU past USM 25-20

By Jeff Shepard – bio | email

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) - C.J. Wilson returned a blocked extra point for the tiebreaking defensive two-point conversion that lifted East Carolina past Southern Mississippi 25-20 on Saturday and back into the Conference USA championship game.

Patrick Pinkney was 25 of 41 passing for 269 yards and Dwayne Harris and defensive tackle Linval Joseph had scoring runs for the Pirates (8-4, 7-1).

The defending league champions claimed home-field advantage for next week's title game against either No. 25 Houston or SMU by beating the Golden Eagles (7-5, 6-2) in Greenville for the first time since 1994.

Wilson burst through the middle to block Daniel Hrapmann's PAT, scooped it up near the 25-yard line and raced downfield while being escorted by a convoy of blockers to put the Pirates up 22-20.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)