GREENVILLE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Dawayne Woods caught a touchdown pass and rushed for another as Southern Mississippi put East Carolina's bowl hopes in jeopardy with a 28-21 Conference USA victory over the Pirates.
Jeff Kelly threw a seven-yard TD pass to Woods in the second quarter and scored on a four-yard run for the Golden Eagles (6-3, 4-2 C-USA), who put themselves into the bowl equation with the victory.
East Carolina (6-5, 5-2) had a chance to clinch a berth in the Mobile Alabama Bowl with a win, but instead it closed the regular season with back-to-back defeats and will likely need help from other teams to play in the postseason.
The Pirates, who turned the ball over five times, had a chance to clinch the Conference USA title last week, but lost to Louisville.
One team that could push the Pirates out of contention is Southern Mississippi, which still has games left with Alabama and Texas Christian.
Southern Mississippi scored 25 points in the second quarter to erase an early 10-point deficit.
Woods, who carried 23 times, caught a TD pass from Kelly and scored on a six-yard run sandwiched around a 45-yard field goal by Mark Haulman.
Kelly's TD run made it 22-10 before East Carolina answered on a 51-yard TD pass from running back Richard Alston to Torey Morris.
Brant Hanna added field goals of 21 yards in the second quarter and 41 yards in the fourth for Southern Miss.
Kelly completed 18-of-25 passes for 167 yards.
East Carolina jumped to a quick 10-0 lead on a one-yard TD run by Leonard Henry and a 43-yard FG by Kevin Miller. Miller kicked a 29-yard field goal in the third quarter.
David Garrard of East Carolina was 18-of-28 for 199 yards and was picked off once.
Southern Miss won at East Carolina for the 12th time in its last 14 visits.