HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Shane Carden threw for 171 yards and a TD and East Carolina capitalized on three third-quarter turnovers to beat Southern Mississippi 24-14 Saturday in the Conference USA opener for both teams.
The Pirates (2-1, 1-0 C-USA) trailed 7-3 at halftime, but forced Southern Mississippi's (0-2, 0-1) freshman quarterback Anthony Alford into an interception and two fumbles on the first three Golden Eagle drives of the second half. That led to three third-quarter touchdowns.
After an interception early in the second half, East Carolina's defense held on fourth-and-1 at its 16-yard line. Carden took over and led the Pirate offense 84 yards in four plays for a 10-7 lead.
A fumble by Alford on the very next drive led to an 8-yard TD run by Carden. Another fumble on the next possession was scooped up by Montese Overton and returned 16 yards for East Carolina's last score.
USC athletic director Pat Haden spoke Tuesday about the decision to fire head coach Steve Sarkisian, calling it "very difficult," while also defending his handling of the situation.
Steve Sarkisian has been plagued of late by apparent substance-related circumstances, including arriving to team facilities appearing intoxicated Sunday, according to sources.
Steve Spurrier, the visor-slinging, slick-talking "Head Ball Coach" who is the second-winningest coach in Southeastern Conference history, announced his resignation on Tuesday.
Florida Gators quarterback Will Grier has been suspended for the year after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance found in a supplement, coach Jim McElwain announced Monday.
Tennessee defensive tackle Shy Tuttle will miss the rest of the season with a broken fibula and torn ankle ligament.
Former NFL safety Tyler Sash died from an accidental overdose after mixing two powerful pain medications, and a history of injuries was a contributing factor, a medical examiner said.