Charlottesville, VA (WWBT)- The Virginia Cavaliers suffered their first loss last weekend and returned home to face Southern Mississippi in hopes of getting back in the win column. The Golden Eagles, however, had other ideas, and notched their first win over a BCS conference opponent in five years.
Michael Rocco threw three interceptions and Southern Mississippi took care of the ball down the stretch as the Cavaliers fell, 30-24. The Eagles would strike first when Austin Davis hit Kelvin Bolden for a 32 yard touchdown to put them up 7-0. Rocco would get UVA on the board with a six yard rushing touchdown, and the score sat at 7-6, after a two point conversion try failed. Kevin Parks would give the Wahoos the lead with a nine yard score with 2:05 to play in the first quarter, running over defenders and getting an extra push over the goal line to put the score at 13-7. Three minutes into the second, Davis hit Ryan Balentine for a 20 yard score, with the receiver doing most of the work. Balentine cut across the field and dove for the pylon to earn the six points, and the PAT put USM back in front, 14-13. Davis would hit Bolden again for a four yard score to put the Cavs in a 21-13 hole at the break.
Robert Randolph scored the first points of the second half with a 21 yard field goal, but Southern Miss would answer with two field goals of their own and held a 27-13 lead. There was no quit in the Cavaliers, as David Watford found Jeremiah Mathis in the endzone with 5:18 to play. It marked Watford's first collegiate touchdown pass, and he connected with Kris Burd for the two point conversion, all of a sudden pulling Virginia to within three. The Virginia defense would force the Golden Eagles into a 3rd and 23 situation, but in one of the biggest plays of the game, Davis dumped it off to Tracy Lampley, who took the ball 41 yards down the sideline, setting up a field goal to extend the lead to 30-24. The Cavaliers final possession would not end in points and fall to 2-2 on the year.
This marks the second straight meeting between the two teams that the Eagles have come out on top and the second heart-breaker against them for the Wahoos. The two squads met in Hattiesburg in 2009, with UVA blowing a 17 point lead to eventually lose to Southern Mississippi.
Virginia returns to action at home next weekend against Idaho. Kickoff is set for 3:30 pm at Scott Stadium.