HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Brian Ellis threw for three scores and ran for another as Alabama-Birmingham outlasted Southern Mississippi 50-49 in double overtime Saturday.
Golden Eagles running back Desmond Johnson scored from 2 yards out on the first possession of the second overtime, but UAB's Pat Shed answered with a 13-yard TD run. Ellis converted the two-point try with a pass to tight end Jeffery Anderson to seal the win for the Blazers (3-5, 2-2 Conference USA).
"It's always a tough decision," UAB coach Neil Callaway said of his decision to try for the two-point conversion. "But I made up my mind early on. We were running out of gas, we had some injury issues and we were going to have to go for two in the next overtime anyway, so I just figured I'd go ahead and get it decided."
Ellis hooked up with receiver Mike Jones for the duo's third touchdown of the game on the opening drive of overtime. Southern Miss (5-3, 2-2) responded with a fourth-and-goal touchdown pass from Austin Davis to Quentin Pierce from the 7-yard line to extend the game.
Fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns by Shed and Ellis gave the Blazers a 35-21 lead, but Southern Miss tied the game on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Davis to Kelvin Bolden with 28 seconds left in regulation.
The Blazers made the most of the Golden Eagles' season-high four turnovers to hand Southern Miss its second straight one-point home loss.
Ellis completed 22 of 34 pass attempts for 241 yards, and played the hero despite three first-half interceptions. Shed finished with a season-high 176 yards rushing and two scores. Jones had eight catches for 86 yards.
"We came out in the second half and we did what we were supposed to do all along - refused to lose," Ellis said. "That's what we came out here to do and that's just what we did."
Davis threw for 388 yards and accounted for 394 of Southern Miss' 582 yards of total offense. Freshman running back Kendrick Hardy had career highs of 147 yards rushing and two touchdowns, but was injured halfway through the third quarter and was not available for key short-yardage situations in the waning minutes of the game.
"It's a devastating game for our team," Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora said. "We left many, many, many plays out on the field, but I don't want to take anything away from UAB. They made the plays when they had to and we didn't - simple as that."
UAB scored touchdowns on six of its final nine possessions and Southern Miss scored on five of its last six and seven of its last nine.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
University of Alabama-Birmingham 50, University of Southern MS 49
Auburn, 51, Ole Miss 31
Mississippi State University 24, Kentucky 17
Alcorn 27, Southern University 20
Texas Southern 38, Mississippi Valley 7
Jackson State 30, Prairie View 13
North Alabama 31, Delta State 7 (Thursday)