Fletch reaches rushing milestone, but Southern Miss falls

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Martin Hankins threw four touchdowns passes, including two in the final minutes, to rally Memphis to a 29-26 conference win over Southern Mississippi on Saturday.

Hankins hit Carlos Singleton on a 52-yard scoring pass with 1:04 to play to seal the win for the Tigers (5-5, 4-2 Conference USA).

The Golden Eagles (5-5, 4-3) led 26-14 after Brandon Sumrall's 86-yard interception return for a score with 10:22 to play. But Hankins, who finished with 396 yards, completing 35-of-48 passes, guided the Tigers on a pair of 76-yard touchdown drives to grab the win.

The first of those two drives ended in a 12-yard scoring strike to Earnest Williams with 4:21 to play. The Tigers then forced Southern Miss to punt on the ensuing drive.

Another highlight in the game came when Damion Fletcher scored for Southern Miss on a 5-yard run in the first quarter and became just the third player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons. Fletcher needed just 10 yards coming into the game to join Derrick Nix and Ben Garry as the only Golden Eagles with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

Fletcher ran for 97 yards and the one score in the game, but it just wasn't enough.

Memphis came into the game with the league's No. 2. passing offense and it was obvious early in the match up when Hankins found Duke Calhoun on a 65-yard scoring pass just over five minutes into the game.

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