With a fierce rivalry near the end of the 2021 season and a Conference USA opponent in Ruston amongst a crowd of ten thousand, Frank Gore Jr. threw two touchdowns on four completions and Southern Mississippi (USM) beat Louisiana Tech 35-19 on Friday night.
The Golden Eagles move to 2-9 on the season, while picking up their first Conference USA win of the season and currently at 1-6 for their conference record. Southern Miss improved to 36-17 all-time against LA Tech, having won 12 of the last 17 meetings, while moving to 17- 9 in games played in Ruston.
Gore was one of three players at quarterback that totaled 110 passing yards as the Golden Eagles dumped Louisiana Tech (3-8, 2-5) in its last home game of the year. The freshman started his second game at quarterback for the Golden Eagles and began in the wildcat formation.
“Like I said before, these kids play their heart out, compete and the effort they give for this university,” said USM Head Football Coach Will Hall, after winning his second game. “We saw a shift last week and accountability change in identifying the problem and making an effort to fix.”
Though listed as a running back, Gore was 4-of-8 passing for 75 yards with a pick and ran for a score. His TD passes — the first of his career — of 9 and 39 yards to Jason Brownlee contributed to a 21-9 halftime lead.
Trey Baldwin’s 43-yard fumble recovery for a score brought the Bulldogs within 21-19 with 11:58 left, but Antavious Willis threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Grayson Gunter a little more than five minutes later for 28-19 Southern Miss lead.
Willis, a redshirt freshman defensive back, was 3-for-3 passing for 32 yards. Running Back Dajon Richard ran for 120 yards on 22 carries for Southern Miss.
Southern Miss closes out their 2021 season at 2pm against Florida International on Saturday, November 27 in Hattiesburg.
(Associated Press & Southern Miss Athletics contributed)