HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Danny Hrapmann kicked five field goals and Southern Miss (No. 22 BCS, No. 25 AP) hung onto its Conference USA title hopes and avoided an upset with a 30-29 win over Central Florida on Saturday night.
Central Florida's J.J. Whorton caught a 25-yard touchdown pass as time expired, but Southern Miss safety Jacorious Cotton got a hand on Blake Bortles' 2-point conversion pass to seal the win.
Hrapmann made all five field-goal attempts, including kicks of 42, 44 and 48 yards, and made both of his extra point attempts to propel Southern Miss to its first 9-1 start since 1962.
Bortles came on in relief of UCF starter Jeff Godfrey and completed 24 of 34 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.
Central Florida (4-6) has lost four of its last five games and six out of eight.
Southern Miss was turned away in the red zone four times and never established a running game, managing 127 yards on the ground.
The Knights held Southern Miss to three third-down conversions on 14 attempts. One of those conversions came with Southern Miss trailing 23-22 on 3rd-and-7 from the Southern Miss 23. Davis found Briggs down the sideline for a 34-yard pass, and five plays later, connected for a 4-yard, go-ahead touchdown.
Southern Miss won at least a share of the Conference USA East title, but still needs to win one of its last two against UAB and Memphis to earn a berth in the championship game.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Southern Miss safety Jacorious Cotton got a hand on Blake Bortles' 2-point conversion attempt.
Gameball goes to... Danny Hrapmann. The Eagles kicker connected on all five field goals and one extra point.
Stat of the game... 9-1. Southern Miss is off to its first 9-1 start since the 1996 season.