Southern Miss Wins Overtime Thriller

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ Southern Mississippi got back to its winning ways, though it took a few extra plays. A week after getting blown out by Louisville, Jeff Kelly threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Dawayne Woods in the second overtime as the No. 25 Golden Eagles beat Alabama-Birmingham 33-30 Saturday. ``We needed that,'' Southern Miss coach Jeff Bower said. It was the third touchdown of the day for Woods, who also scored on runs of 3 and 5 yards. He had 194 all-purpose yards, including 82 on a kickoff return. Kelly threw for two scores, both in overtime. ``We turned it on there at the end of the game,'' Kelly said. ``You just have to be ready whenever you have the ball to step up.'' UAB's Rhett Gallego kicked a 37-yard field goal to put the Blazers ahead 30-27 in the second overtime. Kelly and Woods took over from there. After UAB's Rod Taylor and Adrian Abrams stopped Woods on third-and-1 at the 16, a quarterback sneak by Kelly gained 3 yards and gave the Golden Eagles a new set of downs. Two plays later, Kelly threw to Woods, who was all alone on the left side and ran in untouched for the win. Bower called it a ``hide'' play. ``They actually tried the same thing on us earlier in the game,'' he said. Players from both Southern Miss (7-2, 4-1 Conference USA) and UAB (6-4, 2-3) kneeled on the turf in disbelief. It was the first meeting between the teams. ``Southern Miss made one more play than we did, and that was the difference in the game,'' UAB coach Watson Brown said. The victory marked the second win of the year at Legion Field for Southern Miss, which beat Alabama 21-0 earlier. Kelly, who threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dannye Fowler in the first overtime, completed 25 of 34 passes for 261 yards with one interception. UAB's Cory Conley had a 1-yard touchdown run in the first overtime. After going ahead 20-17 on a 20-yard field goal by Gallego with 7:58 remaining, the Blazers defense forced a Southern Miss punt. But the Southern defense also held, giving the Golden Eagles the ball at their own 29 with 3:43 left. Just a week after throwing four interceptions in a 49-28 loss to Louisville, Kelly keyed a last-ditch drive. Kelly ran for three times for 20 yards and completed four passes, including a 15-yard toss to Bobby Garner to set up the tying, 20-yard field goal by Brant Hanna. Hanna also had a 27-yard field goal. Gallego had a 29-yard field goal but missed on a 32-yard attempt. UAB scored once on special teams. Avery Warner blocked a punt by Southern's Mark Haulman in the end zone, and Percy Coleman fell on the ball for the touchdown.