HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Old Dominion took a 31-21 lead midway through the third quarter on a Jonathan Duhart 64-yard touchdown but Southern Miss scored 35 unanswered points to pull away 56-31 over ODU Saturday night in Hattiesburg.
Old Dominion (5-6, 3-4) led 17-14 at the break but Southern Miss opened the third quarter with a Michael Thomas 24-yard touchdown pass from Nick Mullens.
The Monarchs retook the lead at 24-21 with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Shuler Bentley to Duhart and then after an ODU fourth down defensive stand, hit Duhart for a 64-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the ensuing drive for a 31-21 ODU lead.
Southern Miss (8-3, 6-1) reeled off 35-straight points as Jalen Richard scored on touchdown runs of 10, 4 and 54, Ito Smith scored from 19 and Mullens rushed from nine yards out.
Southern Miss got on the board first with a six play, 45 yard drive capped by a one-yard touchdown run from Jalen Richard to go up 7-0.
On the following Southern Miss drive, quarterback Nick Mullens fumbled and Martez Simpson recovered and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at seven.
Southern Miss went back in front on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Nick Mullens to Casey Martin for a 14-7 lead.
Old Dominion tied the score at 14 with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Shuler Bentley to Zach Pascal. Jeremy Cox had a big 16-yard run and Bentley converted a fourth and 2 to Jonathan Duhart for a first down to keep the drive alive.
Following a Southern Miss missed field goal, ODU drove 77 yards on 17 plays and kicked a 20-yard field goal by Chris Kirtley to take a 17-14 halftime lead. Bentley hit Duhart for a pair of first down completions and one to Pascal, and gained nine yards on a fourth and five to keep the drive alive.
Bentley completed 22-of-41 passes for 228 yards and three scores while Jeremy Cox set career-bests with 21 carries for 98 yards. Duhart also added a career-best with nine catches for 134 yards.
Fellonte Misher and Martez Simpson had 11 tackles apiece for ODU, as Simpson had the 33-yard touchdown on the fumble return and Misher an interception.
ODU hosts Florida Atlantic next Saturday at noon on ASN.
Notes – ODU’s game captains were Troy Butler, Fellonte Misher, Zach Pascal and TJ Ricks … Martez Simpson’s 33-yard fumble return was the longest fumble return in school history and the longest defensive touchdown in ODU history … It is the second-straight season ODU has scored a defensive touchdown … Poncho Barnwell scored on a fumble recovery last season at Vanderbilt … It is also the longest defensive touchdown in school history … Zach Pascal now has a reception in 35-straight games … It was Pascal’s fifth touchdown catch of the year … Fellonte Misher intercepted his third pass of the year to stop a Southern Miss drive … It was the seventh INT of his career, third in school history … Misher’s 52-yard INT return was the second longest in school history … Bunmi Rotimi recorded a sack for the third-straight game … Redshirt freshman Lawrence Holley played for the first time in his career … Chris Kirtley recorded his first career touch back in the 3rd quarter … Jeremy Cox had a career-high 16 carries and career-best six catches … Cox also rushed for a career-best 99 yards … Jonathan Duhart had a career-high nine catches and a career-long 64-yard touchdown catch … Shuler Bentley passed for a career-high 228 yards and tied his career-best with three touchdown passes.