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Conference USA News and Notes
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) -
EAST CAROLINA: The Pirates (4-1) improved to 2-0 in conference play with a 24-17 victory over Middle Tennessee at Floyd Stadium. Shane Carden amassed 365 yards and a touchdown on 43-of-57 passing efficiency to lead the way for ECU, which has now won five consecutive games over East Division rivals. Justin Hardy made eight catches for 85 yards and a touchdown to lead all receivers while Chris Hairston gained 94 yards on 18 rushes. Damon Magazu anchored the Pirates' defense with 11 total tackles and an interception. ECU held a sizeable, 511-334, edge in total yards of offense. The Pirates moved the chains 33 times and limited MT to 20 first downs. ECU will play at Tulane on Saturday.
FIU: The Panthers (1-4) ended their five-game losing slide and improved to 1-0 in league play as they held on for a 24-23 win over Southern Miss at Roberts Stadium. FIU blocked a 44-yard field goal attempt by Golden Eagles' kicker Corey Acosta on the final play of the game to clinch the decision. Silas Spearman rushed for a game-high 136 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 29 carries. E.J. Hilliard added another 93 yards and a score on 8-of-13 passing. Austin Taylor came up clutch as he put a 27-yard field goal try through the uprights to give the Panthers a one-point advantage with 6:53 remaining in regulation. The win was the first for the program under coach Ron Turner, who will look for his second victory as the Panthers' head coach on Saturday versus UAB.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC: After three unsuccessful tries, the Owls (2-4) picked up their first-ever C-USA victory as they dispatched UAB, 37-23, at Legion Field. Jaquez Johnson compiled a career-best 404 yards of total offense and three total touchdowns to spearhead the charge. Johnson threw for 299 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 23-of-36 passing efficiency and rushed for 105 yards while Jonathan Wallace contributed 105 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Jay Warren added 59 yards with a score on only seven rushes. William Dukes tied for the team-lead with four catches which he turned into 56 yards and a touchdown. FAU had an outstanding offensive performance as it racked up 579 yards and moved the chains on 11-of-17 third-down plays. UAB was limited to 307 total yards. The Owls had trouble on special teams which led to kicker Mitch Anderson being benched. His replacement, Dalton Schomp, had an extra- point attempt blocked. FAU will try to double its total of league wins in week seven when it visits Marshall.
LOUISIANA TECH: The Bulldogs (2-4) picked up their first-ever C-USA win and rose to the .500 mark in the league standings as they held on for a 38-35 win over UTEP at the Sun Bowl. Louisiana Tech took a commanding, 24-7, lead with 3:57 remaining in the first half and came up with scoring plays in crucial moments to end its three-game losing streak. Kenneth Dixon rushed for 200 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown run on 25 carries to pace the offense. Ryan Higgins completed 10-of-18 pass attempts for 110 yards and also scored two rushing touchdowns. After Higgins left the game with an injury in the third quarter, Scotty Young made his first appearance since Sept. 12. Blake Martin got into the mix as he scored on a 62-yard touchdown run. Louisiana Tech compiled 463 yards of total offense with 353 yards coming on the ground. The Miners produced 440 total yards on the Bulldogs' defense.
MARSHALL: The Thundering Herd (3-2) begin their C-USA schedule with a 34-10 rout of UTSA that helped them snap a two-game losing slide and improve to 3-0 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Marshall held a 404-254 edge in total yards of offense and did not commit a single turnover in the contest. Marshall opened up the game on a 24-0 run that put it out of reach in the first half. Rakeem Cato finished with 279 yards and two touchdowns on 22-of-32 passing efficiency. Tommy Shuler reeled in a team-best five catches for 52 yards, while Essray Taliaferro led the Thundering Herd on the ground with 58 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. MU will begin a two-game road trip this Saturday at FAU.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE: The Blue Raiders (3-3) fought back to tie up the game late in the third quarter, but fell to 1-1 in conference play as they were defeated, 24-17, by East Carolina at home. Logan Kilgore went 28-of-37 for 245 yards and a score while under center for Middle Tennessee but was also picked off twice in the team's first-ever C-USA loss. Kyle Griswould made six catches for 40 yards and Marcus Henry reeled in five receptions for 65 yards, however the Blue Raiders were limited to only 89 rushing yards on 32 carries. The Pirates moved the chains 33 times and limited MT to 20 first downs. The Blue Raiders will look to snap their two-game losing streak at North Texas on Saturday.
NORTH TEXAS: The Mean Green (2-3, 0-1) rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter only to lose, 24-21, to Tulane on a last-second field goal by the Green Wave's star kicker Cairo Santos. NT struggled offensively throughout the first three quarters, scoring only one touchdown after Derek Thompson's fumble was recovered in the end zone by offensive lineman Mason Y'Barbo. The Mean Green battled back late in the game as Brandin Byrd scored on a one-yard touchdown catch in the opening minute of the fourth frame to make it a one- possession game. Thompson tied the score with only 3:45 remaining as he connected with Darnell Smith on a 62-yard touchdown pass. NT made a costly error at the wrong time as it was flagged for a personal foul that moved Tulane 15 yards closer to the goal line on the final drive. Thompson went 29- of-42 for 326 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Smith made eight catches for 130 yards and a score. The Mean Green running game was ineffective, running for just 34 yards in the game. They will hope to improve to 1-1 in league play on Saturday when they take on former Sun Belt rival Middle Tennessee in Denton.
RICE: The Owls (3-2) left Tulsa as winners after Taylor McHargue completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Darik Dillard in overtime to lift Rice to a 30-27 win over the defending C-USA champion Golden Hurricane at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Tulsa rallied from a 24-10 deficit and tied the game with a field goal with just over a minute remaining in regulation to force the extra session. McHargue completed 13-of-21 passes for 177 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Jawon Davis ran for 58 yards on 10 carries, while Turner Petersen caught five passes for 78 yards and a score. Rice won the coin toss in overtime and elected to defend. The defense held the Golden Hurricane to a field goal to set up McHargue's heroics. Michael Kutzler registered 11 total tackles in the winning effort. The Owls will travel to the Alamodome on Saturday to challenge the UTSA Roadrunners.
SOUTHERN MISS: The Golden Eagles (0-5) lost their 17th game in a row dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season as they were handed a heartbreaking, 24-23 loss by FIU at home. USM was in position to end the longest active losing streak of any FBS program, but Corey Acosta had his potentially game- winning field goal attempt from 44 yards away blocked on the final play of regulation. Allan Bridgford converted 26-of-45 pass attempts for 243 yards and three touchdowns, but he was also picked off twice. Markese Triplett reeled in seven passes for 96 yards and two scores. Emmanuel Johnson recorded his first career interception in the setback. The Golden Eagles will have a bye week before they visit the Pirates of East Carolina on Oct. 19.
TEXAS-EL PASO: The Miners (1-4) fell to 0-2 in league action as they were downed, 38-35, at home by Louisiana Tech. UTEP trailed 21-7 with minutes left before halftime and cut the deficit to just three points on three different occasions, but could get no closer. The Bulldogs came up with a crucial field goal block in the fourth quarter that ended up being the final difference. Jameill Showers completed 18-of-33 pass attempts for 237 yards and three scores. He was also intercepted once and scored a touchdown on the ground. Jordan Leslie made five catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns and Aaron Jones had 121 yards on 18 carries. UTEP gained 440 yards of total offense and allowed the Bulldogs to gain 463 total yards in the game. The Miners will host Tulsa this week in what will be their only home game until Nov. 16.
TULANE: The Green Wave (4-2) stayed perfect against league foes as All- American kicker Cairo Santos put a 27-yard field goal attempt through the uprights as time expired to give them a 24-21 win over North Texas in a thriller at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Tulane let a 21-7 lead slip away after holding NT's offense in check for the first three quarters. Nick Montana led the offense down the field during crunch time to put Santos in position for the game-winning kick. Montana completed 18-of-28 pass attempts for 132 yards and a touchdown in the game. Ryan Grant made six catches for 60 yards. Lorenzo Doss had a huge day of the defensive side of the ball for the Green Wave, intercepting two passes and returning one for six points. Tulane held on for the win despite being held to only 227 yards of total offense. The Mean Green amassed 360 total yards in the loss, but had their chances of winning hindered by 11 penalties which cost them 105 yards. They will put their 2-0 C- USA record on the line this Saturday when they host the East Division leading ECU Pirates.
TULSA: The Golden Hurricane (1-4) tied their 2012 total of losses to league rivals as they were defeated, 30-27, in overtime by Rice in their C-USA opener at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Tulsa overcame a 24-10 halftime deficit with two field goals by Carl Salazar and a one-yard touchdown run by Trey Watts to force the extra session. After Salazar gave the Golden Hurricane their first lead at 27-24 with a 36-yard field goal in overtime, Rice won the game on a 25-yard touchdown pass. Watts carried the ball 34 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns to lead the offense. Cody Green converted 16 of his 32 pass attempts for 193 yards and was intercepted twice. The Golden Hurricane came out on the losing end despite generating 415 yards of total offense, compared to 344 for the visitors. Tulsa will look to bounce back this Saturday when it battles UTEP at the Sun Bowl.
TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO: Two weeks after winning their first-ever C-USA competition, the Roadrunners (2-4) fell to 1-1 in league play as they were routed, 34-10, by Marshall at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. UTSA's first two drives ended with interceptions and Eric Soza threw a third pick later in the contest as well. Soza finished 10-of-26 for 130 yards with no touchdowns. Although 11 different Roadrunners made at least one catch, Kenny Bias paced the group with only 27 receiving yards. UTSA was limited to only 97 yards rushing on 29 attempts. Marshall held a 404-254 edge in total yards of offense and did not commit a single turnover in the contest. The Roadrunners will try to end their two-game losing slide and win at the Alamodome for the first time in 2013 on Saturday when they welcome Rice to San Antonio.
UAB: The Blazers (1-4) collapsed down the stretch of their C-USA opener and dropped a 37-23 decision to FAU at home. UAB managed to tie the score at 23 with 5:06 remaining in the third quarter before the Owls tacked on a pair of touchdowns to pull away. Austin Brown hit on 18-of-33 pass attempts for 256 yards and a pair of touchdowns for UAB as it suffered its second consecutive loss. Darrin Reaves paced the squad with 48 yards rushing and 82 receiving yards on five grabs. FAU sliced through the Blazers' defense en route to 579 yards of total offense and moved the chains on 11-of-17 third-down plays. UAB, which held a 10-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, was limited to 307 total yards. UAB blocked three kicks in the game, one on a field goal attempt and a pair on extra point tries. The Blazers will play another of the conference's newcomers on Saturday when they head to FIU Stadium to face the Panthers.
10/07 11:27:54 ET
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