(20) Cincinnati 31 Southern Mississippi 21

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ Ben Mauk passed for 334 yards and four
touchdowns and DeAngelo Smith intercepted three passes to lead
20th-ranked Cincinnati to a 31-21 win over Southern Miss in the
Papajohns.com Bowl.

The victory gives the 10-and-3 Bearcats their second 10-win
season and first since 1951, and all but assures them a spot in the
final rankings for the first time.

Mauk completed 30 of 52 passes and overcame three interceptions
to become only the third Bearcats player to have a 3,000-yard
passing season. It was a nice finish for the former Wake Forest
starter and for first-year Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly, but a
difficult one for Southern Miss coach Jeff Bowers. It was his final
game after 17 seasons at his alma mater, a stay that ranks behind
only that of Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden and Frank Beamer among
current coaches. Bower was forced to resign after a disappointing
regular season, leading to the hiring of Oklahoma State offensive
coordinator Larry Fedora. The Golden Eagles finish 7-and-6.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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