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Blocked field-goal try dooms Troy

NEW ORLEANS BOWL

December 22, 2008|ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW ORLEANS — Michael McGee blocked a potential score-tying field-goal attempt in overtime, lifting Southern Mississippi to a 30-27 comeback victory over Troy in the New Orleans Bowl on Sunday night.

Troy held Southern Mississippi to Britt Barefoot's 39-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime, but that wound up being enough for the Golden Eagles to win their third New Orleans Bowl in as many appearances.

The Trojans, winners of the Sun Belt Conference, led, 27-17, after Jerrel Jernigan's six-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.

Southern Mississippi responded with Austin Davis' 35-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Massey on fourth and two with 7:20 left in regulation. Barefoot tied it with his 46-yard field goal with 2:50 to go.

Southern Mississippi (7-6) was forced to play most of the game without leading receiver DeAndre Brown, who broke his left leg in the end zone after his attempt at a leaping catch was knocked down in the first quarter. Only one series earlier, Brown had set a single-season school record for receptions with 67 on a nine-yard catch.

Without his top target, Davis completed 20 of 34 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns, including a 64-yard scoring pass to New Orleans native Gerald Baptiste on a flea flicker in the first quarter.

Southern Mississippi career rushing leader Damion Fletcher carried 14 times for 78 yards and a touchdown on an eight-yard end run. Fletcher also caught three passes for 23 yards. Baptiste finished with five catches for 88 yards.

Troy (8-5) took the early lead on Jorrick Calvin's 17-yard fumble return and never trailed until overtime.

Jernigan had nine catches for 65 yards, breaking a 40-year-old Troy record for single-season receptions. He had 77 catches, passing Danny Grant, who caught 72 passes in 1968.

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