Conference USA News and Notes
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
EAST CAROLINA: Shane Carden completed 17-of-25 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns for the Pirates (2-0) as they handled Florida Atlantic, 31-13 in their Conference USA opener at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium last Thursday. The Pirates finished with 312 yards of total offense despite possessing the ball for just 25:57. Vintavious Cooper carried 20 times for 95 yards and a score while reeling in five passes for 49 yards. Davon Grayson and Justin Hardy each hauled in touchdown receptions. ECU has now won four straight C-USA games at home. It will continue its season on Saturday when it hosts Virginia Tech.
FIU: The Panthers (0-2) were completely dominated as they suffered a 38-0 loss to former C-USA member UCF on Friday. Jake Medlock got the start under center for FIU and finished 16-of-25 passing for 128 yards for the Panthers, who suffered a 43-10 loss to Maryland in their season-opener. FIU averaged only 1.1 yards per carry and totaled 173 yards on offense. It allowed the Knights to rack up 390 yards of total offense and hold a 16-10 advantage in first downs. The Panthers will host Bethune-Cookman on Saturday.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC: The Owls (0-2) played two different quarterbacks in their lopsided, 31-13, loss to ECU, which was their first-ever league match as a member of Conference USA. Jaquez Johnson connected on 9-for-14 passes, for 62 yards and an interception, while Greg Hankerson went 14-for-26 for 116 yards, a touchdown and an INT. FAU was limited to only 282 yards of total offense in the contest. It averaged just 3.1 yards per carry as Jonathan Wallace led the team with 44 yards on 10 carries. The defense forced three fumbles and registered three sacks in the loss. D'Joun Smith made three pass breakups of would-be touchdowns. The Owls will play another road game on Saturday as they take on South Florida at Raymond James Stadium.
LOUISIANA TECH: The Bulldogs (1-1) bounced back from their season-opening loss at NC State with a 27-14 win over Lamar in their home opener at Joe Aillet Stadium. Kenneth Dixon was held out of action for precautionary reasons after taking a hit early in the second quarter. Tevin King picked up the slack as he tallied 182 yards to lead the offense. Scotty Young went 22-of-32 on pass attempts for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Kentrell Brice recorded nine tackles to lead the defense, which registered a total of six sacks. The Bulldogs will play their inaugural league bout as a member of the C-USA on Thursday when they host Tulane.
MARSHALL: The Thundering Herd (2-0) posted another impressive performance as they completed a 55-0 rout of Gardner-Webb at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Marshall's defense forced six turnovers, while its offense compiled 224 rushing yards, 285 passing yards and 26 first downs. Rakeem Cato completed 16- of-28 pass attempts for 230 yards and a touchdown while playing just over two quarters. Steward Butler was uncontainable as he contributed 151 yards and three touchdowns on only nine carries. Tommy Shuler made five catches for 85 yards and a score in the victory. MU is 2-0 for the first time since 1999, when it went 13-0. The Herd will continue their chase of perfection on Saturday against their former-MAC rival, Ohio, at Peden Stadium.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE: The Blue Raiders (1-1) suffered their first loss of the 2013 campaign as they were defeated, 40-20, by North Carolina at Kenan Stadium. MT allowed UNC's Bryn Renner to pass for 339 yards and the Tar Heels took a 23-0 lead into halftime. Jordan Parker was a top producer for the Blue Raiders with 22 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Logan Kilgore finished 21-of-35 through the air for 211 yards, but he was sacked three times and had three attempts picked off. MT returns home to Murfreesboro on Saturday to host the American Athletic Conference's Memphis Tigers.
NORTH TEXAS: Derek Thompson led North Texas (1-1) with 195 yards and two scores through the air on 19-of-29 passing, but it was not enough as the Mean Green were handed a 27-21 loss by Ohio at Peden Stadium. Thompson was also intercepted twice. His favorite target, Darnell Smith, recorded a game-high nine receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown, while Carlos Harris had 55 yards and a score on three receptions. NT tied the score at 21 with 12:51 remaining after going into halftime with a two-touchdown deficit. However, it was unable to counter a pair of fourth-quarter field goals by Ohio's Matt Green. North Texas will return home for a matchup against Ball State on Saturday.
RICE: The Owls (0-1) had a bye following their 52-31 loss to Texas A&M in week one. They will play Kansas at home on Saturday.
SOUTHERN MISS: The Golden Eagles (0-2) were overmatched again as they were handled, 56-13, by the 22nd-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln. Allan Bridgford went 21-of-35 passing for 222 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions in defeat for Southern Miss, which has not won a game since the Hawaii Bowl against Nevada on Dec. 24, 2011. The Golden Eagles produced only 62 rushing yards on 27 carries and allowed the Cornhuskers to amass 479 yards of total offense in the game. DeBarriaus Miller anchored the defensive unit with 14 total stops including one tackle for loss. USM will look to end its losing slide at Arkansas on Saturday.
TEXAS-EL PASO: Sean Kugler's head coaching debut with the Miners (0-1) was spoiled as they lost, 42-35, to New Mexico in overtime at the Sun Bowl. Jameill Showers went 15-of-20 for 119 yards and a touchdown under center. Aaron Jones paced the Miners on the ground with 127 yards and two touchdowns on 11 attempts. Nathan Jeffery scored two touchdowns and contributed 72 total yards. Traun Roberson paced UTEP's defense with 13 total stops and a forced fumble. Kugler will try to secure his first win with the program on Saturday when his squad visits New Mexico State.
TULANE: Despite a career-high 327 passing yards and three touchdowns from Nick Montana, the Green Wave (1-1) came up short and lost, 41-39, to South Alabama in a non-conference matchup at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Montana completed 29-of-47 passes, while Ryan Grant had a monster day receiving, setting career- best marks with 14 receptions and 187 yards, reeling in a pair of touchdowns. Orleans Darkwa had just 32 yards on 10 carries but found the end zone twice. Tulane allowed 168 rushing yards and amassed only 45 on the ground itself in the loss. The Green Wave had a chance to tie it up with 1:19 left after a 10- yard touchdown pass from Montana to Grant made it a two-point game, but their potentially tying two-point conversion attempt was denied. Tulane will have a short break as it begins its C-USA slate on Thursday at Louisiana Tech.
TULSA: The Golden Hurricane (1-1) scored 13 straight points to complete a late rally and defeat Colorado State, 30-27, in a non-conference thriller at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Carl Salazar connected on a 34-yard field goal attempt as time expired, his third made field goal. He missed both of his field goal tries in the team's season opening loss at Bowling Green. Trey Watts rushed for 152 yards on 22 carries, including an important 45-yard scamper during the game-winning drive for Tulsa Watts also added a team-high eight receptions for 58 yards. Cody Green completed 21-of-39 pass attempts for 212 yards and three touchdowns but was also intercepted once. Derek Patterson caught three passes for 61 yards and a score. The Golden Hurricane will be big underdogs on Saturday when they face instate rival Oklahoma.
TX-SAN ANTONIO: The Roadrunners (1-1) had no answer for Oklahoma State's passing attack and suffered a 56-35 loss to the 13th-ranked Cowboys at the Alamodome. Missed opportunities in the first half hurt UTSA, which fell behind by 35 points before scoring four fourth-quarter touchdowns. Eric Soza completed 24-of-41 passes for 308 yards with three touchdown passes and two interceptions. The defense failed to register any takeaways and allowed a total of 605 yards. The Roadrunners gained 135 yards on the ground with Evans Okotcha leading all players with 35 yards on 11 carries. UTSA has another tough upcoming bout on Saturday when it is scheduled to visit Arizona.
UAB: The Blazers (0-2) fell behind by 21 points in the first quarter and eventually lost, 56-17, to the No. 9 LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge. UAB allowed LSU's Zach Mettenberger to throw for a school-record five touchdown passes. For UAB, Austin Brown finished the game with 136 yards passing, hitting 9- of-24 passes with the touchdown pass to Jamarcus Nelson. Darrin Reaves tallied 84 yards on 14 carries in the loss. Reaves also scored the 16th touchdown of his career, while true freshman running back Jordan Howard added 60 yards on the ground for UAB on 14 rushes. UAB will have a bye week before its 2013 home opener against Northwestern State on Sept. 21.
09/09 12:32:46 ET