Around C-USA:


 

Oh so close. Three near misses that would have been big wins for each program and the conference.

It started Friday night with SMU falling to TCU 41-24 in Dallas. But for at least 2 ½ quarters the game was much closer then the final score might indicate and SMU actually held a l7-14 lead in the 3rd quarter. But #4 TCU responded with 3 straight td’s to take a 35-17 lead on their way to the 41-24 final. Not many people were giving UAB much of a chance when they ventured to Knoxville to take on Tennessee. They left with what has to be a dose of confidence after taking the Vol’s to double OT before falling 31-29.

One week after their Hail Mary win comeback win over Troy the UAB QB duo of Bryan Ellis and David Isabelle almost led the Blazers to another stunner. Ellis completed 29 of 55 for 373 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Isabelle ran 16 times for 73 yards and completed 4 of 5 for 56 yards and a touchdown. Ellis hit Pat Shed on a 14-yard pass to pick up a first down in the second overtime but his 7-yard pass to Patrick Hearn came up 4 yards short of the end zone, and Josh Zahn scored on a 21-yard field goal to put UAB up 29-26 before Matt Simms threw a 25-yard touchdown to Denarius Moore on Tennessee’s first play of double-overtime for the game winning td.

UCF battled thru two rain/lightning delays of 86 and 75 minutes and led the game for 59 minutes and 36 seconds before Carson Coffman ran in from seven yards out with twenty-four seconds remaining for the KSU winning score. UCF missed two field goals and had to settle for three points on two other deep drives, allowing Kansas State (4-0) to stay within striking distance. And when the Wildcats drove the length of the field and scored in the final minute, it left the Knights (2-2) with an empty feeling.

Even with the devastating loss of QB Case Keenum, Houston still has some potent offensive weapons as they demonstrated in their 42-23 win over Tulane. Bryce Beall rushed for 123 yards and a career-high four touchdowns as Houston held off a Tulane rally 42-23, Saturday. The Cougars (3-1, 2-0 C-USA) jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first half, but Tulane pulled within five, 28-23, in the fourth quarter before Beall put it away with his fourth touchdown, a 25-yard run with 3:58 remaining in the game. Freshmen Terrance Broadway, who was making his first career start finished 19 of 28 for 174 yards and one interception

NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 17:  Bryce Beall #25 of the Houston Cougars is tackled by Chinonso Echebelem #24 of the Tulane Green Wave at the Louisiana Superdome on October 17, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

One week after their big home win over Kansas, Southern Miss had to hold on for dear life at the end to preserve a 13-12 win over Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La. The Golden Eagles (3-1) led 13-3 in the fourth quarter and appeared on their way to victory against a Bulldogs offense that struggled until late. Deron Wilson picked off Louisiana Tech quarterback Tarik Hakmi at the Southern Miss 20-yard line with 2:31 left on the clock to seal the win. Austin Davis threw for 233 yards and one score for Southern Miss.

Sophomore RB Zach Line is averaging 7.8 yards per carry for SMU and has 53 carries for 415 yards on the season.

Houston and East Carolina both ran in the national top 10 in scoring offense. Houston is seventh with their average ppg of 44.3 and the Pirates check in at number nine with 42.3

Tulsa is 9th in passing offense averaging 310 yards per game and 5th in total offense at 523 total yards per game.

UAB is tied for tenth nationally in sacks with 12 team sacks

Best team win week 2:

Marshall survived a two point conversion attempt by Ohio with no time left on the clock to pick up their first win of the season. Ohio’s Boo Jackson connected with Terrence McCrae on a 36-yard touchdown, cutting the lead to 24-23 with no time left. The Bobcats elected to go for the two-point conversion, but Jackson’s pass sailed through the back of the end zone to secure Marshall’s win.

Worst team loss week 2:

The UCF win at Kansas State would have been considered an upset nationally but it was still a heart breaking loss for the Knights. A loss they have to feel they let slip thru their grasp. UCF missed two field goals and had to settle for field goals on two other golden TD scoring opportunities. In addition, the winning KSU TD actually came on a busted play shovel pass.

C-USA Power rankings:

  1. East Carolina (2-1) – Still number one after a bye week.
  2. Southern Miss (3-1) – Dodged a bullet at Louisiana Tech.
  3. UCF (2-2) – Time to move past the tough loss and focus on the C-USA race.
  4. Houston (3-1) – Maybe not all is lost for this team.
  5. SMU (2-2) – Looked good for 2 ½ quarters vs TCU.
  6. Tulsa (2-2)– Got rid of some of the bad taste with a win over an overmatched opponent.
  7. UTEP (3-1) – Held server at home vs Memphis. Barely
  8. Memphis (1-3) – Tough loss at UTEP.
  9. UAB (1-3) – Almost pulled off the stunner in Knoxville.
  10. Rice (1-3) – Would have hoped for better showing at home vs Baylor
  11. Marshall (1-3) –  First win under their belts by the skin of their teeth.
  12. Tulane (1-2) – Couldn’t get past the Houston without Keenum.

Blind Squirrel’s C-USA picks for this week

Last week’s pick’s record (9-0) (17-3 overall)

Tulane at Rutgers: Another road game for Tulane that doesn’t look like a good match-up on paper. Will the QB change that seemed to spark Tulane vs Houston help?                                  My pick: Rutgers 27 – Tulane 17

East Carolina at North Carolina: The Pirates have taken to the new offensive system quickly with their only loss at Virginia Tech. UNC has played a brutal early schedule with losses to LSU and Georgia Tech. My pick: East Carolina 31 – UNC 24

UTEP at New Mexico: To say that New Mexico is struggling is an understatement. They are 0-4 and have been outscored by and average of 56 to 10 on the season. UNM has played a tougher schedule and they are playing at home. My pick: UTEP 31 – UNM 27

SMU at Rice: Although they are 1-3 win only a win over North Texas, Rice hasn’t been blown out in any of the losses to Texas, Northwestern or Baylor. SMU is starting to click in the passing and rushing game. My pick: SMU 35 – Rice 21

Tulsa at Memphis: Memphis got their only win in their only previous home game vs Middle Tennessee. Can they keep pace with the Tulsa offense? Possibly, the Tulsa offense is potent but the Golden Hurrican defense has given upt a ton of points. My pick: Tulsa 42 – Memphis 28

Marshall at Southern Miss: Marshall goes back on the road after getting their first win last week over Ohio. Southern Miss is back home where they are very tough. The Golden Eagles need to be careful not to get caught looking ahead to October 9th matchup vs East Carolina.                          My pick: Southern Miss 31 – Marshall 17

Written by John Huber @Fort80 on Twitter

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