Conference USA News and Notes
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
EAST CAROLINA: The Pirates (6-4, 5-1) went into their bye week just one game behind UCF in the East Division standings. ECU's loss to the Knights earlier in the season will make it very hard for it to earn a trip to the league championship game. ECU has to defeat Tulane this week and Marshall on Nov. 23 and hope UCF loses out for a chance to become league champions.
HOUSTON: The Cougars (4-6, 3-3) continued to struggle under coach Tony Levine as they were defeated 41-7 by Tulsa at Robertson Stadium. Tulsa held a massive 505-262 edge in total yards and controlled the ball for the majority of the game with a nearly 16-minute edge in time of possession. David Piland completed only 15-of-32 pass attempts for 144 yards and was intercepted twice. Piland was pulled in the fourth quarter for Crawford Jones who completed 3- of-7 passes for 36 yards and the team's lone touchdown pass. With Charles Sims sidelined with an injury, Kenneth Farrow led the team on the ground with 15 carries for 54 yards. Sims is doubtful to return to action when the Cougars head to Huntington to play Marshall on Saturday.
MARSHALL: The Thundering Herd (4-6, 3-3) suffered a backbreaking, 38-31, setback to UAB at Legion Field. Marshall now has to win both of its final two games to become bowl eligible. The Herd, which came into the contest with the third best passing offense in the FBS with a 374.4 yard average, managed just 216 yards through the air in the loss. MU's total of 337 yards on offense was its season-low. Rakeem Cato threw for 216 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while completing 25-of-34 pass attempts. In the process, Cato set a new program single-season record with 343 completions. He also extended his streak of games with a touchdown pass to 14. Gator Hoskins made a touchdown catch for the third game in a row. The Herd return to Joan C. Edwards Stadium on Saturday to host the struggling Houston Cougars.
MEMPHIS: Justin Fuente managed to pick up the second win of his head coaching career as the Tigers (2-8, 2-4) downed Tulane, 37-23, a Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. The 37-point scoring output was the most by Memphis since it tallied 41 points against UT Martin in 2009. Jacob Karam completed 14-of-18 attempts for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Hayes paced the rushing attack with 51 yards on 16 attempts. Marcus Rucker reeled in four catches for 55 yards while Jesse Milleson made three grabs for 52 yards and a score. The Tigers' defensive unit came up big with four interceptions, a fumble recovery, and three sacks. Fuente will aim for the first winning streak of his career when Memphis visits Legion Field to play UAB on Saturday.
RICE: The Owls (4-6, 2-4) had a bye week after winning their second game in a row on Nov. 3. Rice returns to action this Saturday when it hosts SMU for its home finale.
SMU: The Mustangs (5-5, 4-2) were dominant in their 34-6 rout of Southern Miss at Ford Stadium. SMU outgained the Golden Eagles in total yards of offense, 435-178, as it cruised to its third win in four outings. Graham Gilbert completed 27-of-43 attempts for 249 yards with a touchdown and also rushed for 94 yards and two scores. Jeremy Johnson and Der'Rikk Johnson each made eight receptions in the contest. Johnson tallied 97 yards and Thompson finished with 66 yards. Zach Line was the most frequent ball carrier with 22 carries which he turned into 92 yards and six points. Margus Hunt made an impact on the other side of the ball with a tackle for loss, sack, and interception. The Mustangs can become bowl eligible this weekend when they go on the road to play Rice in a Lone Star State showdown.
SOUTHERN MISS: The Golden Eagles (0-10, 0-6) were held to a season-low 178 yards of total offense as they fell, 34-6, to the SMU Mustangs at Ford Stadium. The Golden Eagles achieved only 10 first downs and played three different quarterbacks in their 10th straight loss. Chris Campbell completed 8-of-18 attempts for 93 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Jamie Collins continued his strong play on the other side of the ball with seven tackles, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. USM will host Texas-El Paso for its home finale this Saturday.
TEXAS-EL PASO: Despite a strong effort, the Miners (2-8, 1-5) lost for the second time in a row as they were defeated 31-24 by UCF. UTEP overcame a 14- point deficit in the second half before the Knights' Latavius Murray broke away for a 47-yard touchdown run to bury its hopes. The Miners played tough and gave their fans a glimpse of the future with freshman Blaire Sullivan managing the offense. The rookie went 5-of-11 for 79 yards with an interception, but made an impact by rushing for 74 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Nathan Jeffery racked up 175 yards and two scores on 23 carries, while Jordan Leslie made two catches for 51 yards. Josh Fely and Shane Huhn made 10 tackles each for UTEP's defense. UTEP will try to avoid their third loss in a row when they visit Hattiesburg for a bout with the winless Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Saturday.
TULANE: The Green Wave (2-8, 2-4) were unable to overcome their four turnovers and lost 37-23 to Memphis on the road. Memphis held a 286-291 advantage in total yards of offense in the contest. The miscues limited the offense that had produced an average of 51 points per game over the team's last two outings. Ryan Griffin struggled under center with a season-high three interceptions and only 211 yards on 25-of-43 passing. Ryan Grant continued to excel by making 11 receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown. Darion Monroe had a strong showing on the defensive side of the ball with nine total tackles, two fumble recoveries, and a defensive score. Tulane will try to bounce back on Saturday when it hosts the East Carolina Pirates at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
TULSA: The Golden Hurricane (8-2, 6-0) kept their perfect league record intact by completing a 41-7 rout of Houston on the road. Tulsa led 41-0 before allowing a late touchdown to the Cougars. The Golden Hurricane gained 505 yards of total offense in the victory. It was the first time they gained more than 500 yards since Sept. 15. The Golden Hurricane forced four turnovers on the way to their 17th win in their last 18 C-USA games. Alex Singleton set a new school record for touchdowns with 18 by rushing into the end zone twice in the opening half. Ja'Terian Douglas had a team-high 87 yards on 12 carries. Trey Watts had 11 carries for 57 yards while Cody Green had 10 attempts and scored a pair of touchdowns. Green went 17-of-31 for 130 yards with an interception under center. Tulsa will face its toughest league opponent of the season on Saturday when it hosts UCF.
UAB: The Blazers (3-7, 2-4) picked up their second win in a row as they earned a 38-31 decision over Marshall at Legion Field. UAB's defense held MU to a season-low 337 yards of total offense as the team strung together wins for the first time in 2012. The Blazers rushed for over 200 yards for the third straight game as they ended with 209 and two TDs. Darrin Reaves rushed for 184 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 32 attempts. Austin Brown threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns but was intercepted three times in a 20-for-34 passing effort. Eight different receivers caught passes for UAB. The Blazers stay at home to host Memphis this weekend.
UCF: Although it was not pretty, the Knights (8-2, 6-0) managed to fend off the Miners and earn a 31-24 victory over Texas-El Paso in Texas. The win was the sixth in a row for the team. UCF saw a 14-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter before Latavius Murray put it back on top with a 47 yard touchdown run. Murray tallied 117 yards on 23 carries. Blake Bortles played well under center, completing 16-of-27 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown. Bortles also rushed for 39 yards and two scores. Rannell Hall made three catches for 72 yards while Jeff Godfrey reeled in three receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown. The Knights' defense forced four total turnovers. Ray Shipman anchored the unit with 14 total tackles. UCF needs just one more win to secure a spot in the league championship game. It will try to get that done this Saturday when it faces the only other C-USA team without a loss in league action, Tulsa.
11/12 10:49:38 ET