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CFB: Week 11 Conference Notes – Conference USA (C-USA)

UPCOMING GAMES (ALL TIMES CT)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12
Rice at WKU (ESPN+) 1 pm

Charlotte at Middle Tennessee (ESPN3) 2:30 pm

North Texas at UAB (Stadium) 2:30 pm

LA Tech at UTSA (ESPN+) 2:30 pm

Florida Atlantic at FIU (Stadium) 6 pm

UTSA, UNT ARE BOWL ELIGIBLE, TWO MORE ON THE VERGE
UTSA (6-2) and North Texas (6-4) are bowl eligible, while both Rice (5-4) and WKU (6-4) are just one win away heading into Week 11 (WKU needs seven wins this season to reach conditional bowl eligibility since they play a 13-game schedule).

FIVE STILL ALIVE FOR C-USA CHAM- PIONSHIP GAME CHASE
Though UTSA (5-0 C-USA) and North Texas (5-1 CUSA) are in the driver’s seats for the 2022 Ryan C-USA Championship Game, there are a total of five teams still in the race. WKU (4-2 C-USA), Rice (3-2 C-USA) and Florida Atlantic (3-2 C-USA). Head-to-head tie- breakers advantages are listed below:
UTSA – wins over WKU and North Texas
North Texas – wins over WKU and FAU
Florida Atlantic – win over Rice
WKU – N/A
Rice – N/A

North Texas can clinch a spot in the title game with a win over UAB coupled with a WKU win over Rice this week, while UTSA can clinch a spot and the ability to host with two more wins (this week at home against Louisiana Tech and at Rice on Nov. 19).

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK, PRESENTED BY BLENDERS EYEWEAR (WEEK 10)

OFFENSE
QB AUSTIN REED, WKU
Graduate Student, St. Augustine Beach, Florida
Reed had his best game as a Hilltopper Saturday, leading the Tops to a dominant 59-7 victory on the road at Charlotte. Reed threw for 409 yards and six touchdowns on the day, both season highs for the Florida native. All six of his touchdown passes were to six different receivers, and Reed did not throw any interceptions on the day. He completed 23-38 passes on the afternoon, including a long of 64 on which he and Malachi Corley connected for a touchdown. Reed’s first two passing attempts of the game were both touchdowns. One a 46-yard touchdown strike to Jaylen Hall, the other a seven-yard score to Daewood Davis.

DEFENSE
DB MYLES BROOKS, LA TECH
Junior, Pflugerville, Texas
Brooks recorded two interceptions, two tackles and a pass breakup in the Bulldogs’ 40-24 win over Middle Tennessee on Saturday. He became the
first Bulldog to record a multi-interception game since BeeJay Williamson did so last season against Southeastern (9/11/2021). Brooks’ first interception came at the 14:27 mark of the third quarter, then two drives later, he picked off a Middle Tennessee pass at the La Tech five-yard line and returned it 49 yards to the Middle Tennessee 46. The Pflugerville, Texas, product is just the fifth Conference USA player to record multiple interceptions in a game this season. Brooks is tied for the team lead in interceptions with three, which is tied for second among all C-USA players.

SPECIAL TEAMS
K, JARED SACKETT, UTSA
Redshirt Senior, Fort Worth, Texas
Sackett was 3-3 on field goals and made all three extra-point attempts to help lead UTSA to a 44-38 double-overtime victory over UAB on Saturday. The senior kicker split the uprights from 29 and 31 yards, before drilling a 46-yarder, all in the second quarter, to help the Roadrunners build a 16-10 halftime lead. Sackett’s extra point in the first overtime following a touchdown catch by Tykee Ogle-Kellogg sent the contest to a second overtime. The Fort Worth native is 12-16 on field goals this season and he ranks fourth in C-USA and 30th nationally with 1.33 field goals per game.

A LOOK AT WEEK 11
Ten C-USA teams are in action yet again this week, with all five scheduled games being league contests. A five-game slate on Saturday kicks off with a key 1 p.m. CT matchup in Bowling Green between WKU and Rice, a 2:30 p.m. CT matchup that sees Middle Tennessee host Florida Atlantic, another 2:30 p.m. kickoff in Birmingham between North Texas and UAB, a third 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff in San Antonio between UTSA and Louisiana Tech and finally a 6 p.m. CT kickoff in Miami in the Shula Bowl as Florida Atlantic travels to FIU.

Rice (5-4, 3-2 C-USA) travels to Bowling Green to take on WKU (6-4, 4-2 C-USA) on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT on ESPN+. Both teams enter Week 11 following significant wins – Rice on the road 37-30 at UTEP, and WKU on the road at Charlotte, 59-7. Both teams are just one win away from bowl eligibility, and this week’s winner also stays mathematically alive in the conference race for a spot in the 2022 Ryan C-USA Championship Game.

There are a trio of games at 2:30 p.m. CT, one of which is on ESPN3 as Charlotte (2-8, 1-5 C-USA) is on the road this week as the 49ers travel to take on Middle Tennessee (4-5, 1-4 C-USA). Charlotte was beaten 59-7 at home last week by WKU. The Blue Raiders dropped a difficult decision last week at Louisiana Tech (40-24), and like FAU, need to win two of its last three to reach bowl eligibility.

North Texas (6-4, 5-1 C-USA) is on the road this week, as the Mean Green travel to Birmingham to battle UAB (4-5, 2-4 C-USA) on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. CT on Stadium. North Texas dominated FIU in the Mean Green’s homecoming game last week with a 52-14 victory in Denton, while UAB fell for the third consecutive week, this time 44-38 in double overtime to UTSA. All five of the Blazers’ losses have come by one score

Louisiana Tech (3-6, 2-3 C-USA) hosts league leader UTSA (7-2, 5-0 C-USA) in Ruston on Saturday afternoon, also at 2:30 p.m. CT, on ESPN+. UTSA enters play following a big 44-38 double overtime win at UAB last week, while Louisiana Tech knocked off Middle Tennessee 40-24 at home in Ruston. UTSA can take one step closer to a repeat appearance in the 2022 Ryan C-USA Championship Game, while LA Tech is looking to keep its bowl eligibility hopes alive with a win.

The final game of the day is another conference duel between Florida Atlantic (4-5, 3-2 C-USA) and FIU (4-5, 2-3 C-USA) in Miami at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN+. Florida Atlantic is coming off a bye, and beat UAB at home 24-17 in Week 9, while FIU lost 52-14 in Denton last week. FAU is still mathematically alive in the chase for a spot in the championship game, and both teams are two wins shy of bowl eligibility.

UTSA OUTLASTS UAB IN 2OT THRILLER TO REMAIN PERFECT IN LEAGUE PLAY
UTSA (7-2, 5-0 C-USA) improved to 2-1 this season in overtime games with a 44-38 double overtime win over UAB (4-5, 2-4 C-USA) in Birmingham Saturday. The Roadrunners remain atop the C-USA standings at 5-0 and inch closer to clinching a spot in the 2022 Ryan C-USA Championship Game.
QB Frank Harris led the way again for UTSA, completing 22-31 passes for 285 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions despite losing leading receiver De’Corian Clark to injury in the first half. WR Zakhari Franklin caught seven passes for 93 yards and two scores, while RB Kevorian Barnes carried 16 times for 114 yards and a touchdown in the win. Defensively, DB Ken Robinson led the Roadrunners with 12 tackles.

AUNE LEADS UNT TO WIN OVER FIU, 5-1 MARK IN C-USA
North Texas (6-4, 5-1 C-USA) took care of business at home, remaining in the driver’s seat for a spot in the 2022 Ryan C-USA Championship Game with a 52-14 win on homecoming over FIU (4-5, 2-3 C-USA). QB Austin Aune led the way, completing 25-34 passes for 414 yards with five touchdowns, all of which all came in the first half (tying for second-most in a half in C-USA history).

WR Jyaire Shorter was efficient for the Mean Green, catching two passes for 92 yards, both of which went for touchdowns. The Mean Green rolled up 623 yards of total offense (8.1 yards per play) in the win. Defensively, UNT picked off a pair of passes and held FIU to 258 yards of total offense and 4.1 yards per play. UNT is now 10-1 in their past 11 C-USA contests.

REED SHOWS OUT FOR WKU IN DOMI- NANT WIN AT CHARLOTTE
WKU (6-4, 4-2 C-USA) was dominant in its 59-7 win at Charlotte (2-8, 1-5 C-USA) on Saturday afternoon. Hilltoppers QB Austin Reed completed 23-38 for 409 yards and six touchdowns to six different receivers, with no interceptions. Reed threw five in the first half alone, which equaled his performance earlier this season in a win over FIU, and that mark is tied for the second-most in a half in C-USA history. WR Malachi Corley paced an active group of WKU receivers, hauling in six catches for 162 yards and a touchdown. Seven receivers in total caught touchdown passes for the Hilltoppers. Defensively, WKU, who came into play this week with the second-most turnovers forced in the country (21) forced three more on Saturday.

WKU is now 4-2 and is still alive in the chase for a spot in the 2022 Ryan Conference USA Championship Game, though they will need some help, as they fell head-to-head to both UTSA (5-0) and North Texas (5-1), which factors into potential tiebreakers. WKU hosts Rice (3-2) in a key league game next week that will see the winner remain in the chase and earn bowl eligibility.

LA TECH KNOCKS OFF MTSU
Louisiana Tech (3-6, 2-3 C-USA) picked up a comfortable win on Saturday at home over Middle Tennessee (4-5, 1-4 C-USA), 40-24. The Bulldog defense forced five Blue Raider turnovers, including a pair of interceptions for DB Myles Brooks. LA Tech WR Tre Harris caught seven passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns, while RB Marquis Crosby carried 24 times for 123 yards in the victory for Sonny Cumbie’s Bulldogs.

RICE WINS KEY INTERSTATE BATTLE TO STAY IN C-USA RACE, 37-30 OVER UTEP
Rice (5-4, 3-2 C-USA) picked up a huge home win on Thursday night, 37-30 over UTEP (4-6, 2-4 C-USA) to get within one game of bowl eligibility, and to remain in the C-USA title game race. The Owls drove 75 yards in seven plays in 2:10 to win the game with a Bradley Rozner 23-yard touchdown catch from QB TJ McMahon. McMahon completed 21-31 passes for 334 yards with three total touchdowns (two passing) in the win, while Rozner hauled in six catches for 142 yards and the game-winning touchdown. The pair played a major role in Rice rolling up 502 yards of total offense at an 8.0 yards per play clip. Defensively, LB Myron Morrison led the way with nine tackles, a sack and a quarterback hurry, pacing the Owls’ defense who allowed just 313 yards of total offense and held UTEP to just 4.9 yards per play. Rice has reached five wins for the first time since the 2015 season and is seeking its first bowl appearance since 2014.

HARRIS IS TOTALLY OFFENSIVE
UTSA QB Frank Harris ranks third in the FBS in total offense (353.0 yards per game). The redshirt senior ranks sixth nationally in passing yards per game (313.7). Harris is also 10th nationally in completions per game (25.33), 13th in completion percentage (69.1%), 11th in points responsible for (160), and 13th in points responsible for per game (17.8). Harris has completed 228-330 passes for 2,823 yards with 21 touchdowns (16th in FBS), only six interceptions and has also carried 79 times for 354 yards and five more scores in nine games thus far in 2022.

DEBO4DOAK

UAB RB DeWayne McBride leads the nation in rushing yards per game (160.9), ranks fifth in the FBS in scoring per game (10.5 ppg), is fourth in all-purpose yardage per game (161.38), third in rushing yards per carry (7.03) and fourth in rushing touchdowns (14). McBride has carried 183 times for 1,287 yards with 14 touchdowns in just eight games played thus far in 2022.

REED MAKING MAJOR IMPACT FOR WKU
WKU QB Austin Reed ranks seventh nationally in total offense (333.3 yards per game). The graduate transfer ranks fifth nationally in passing yards per game (317.3), ranks third in the FBS in points responsible for (210), fifth in points responsible for per game (21.0), third in passing touchdowns (28), fifth in completions per game (27.60) and 20th in completion percentage (67.8%). Reed has completed 276-407 passes for 3,171 yards with 28 touchdowns and only six interceptions, while also carrying 70 times for 160 yards and six more scores in 10 games thus far in 2022.

TAKEAWAYTOPS

WKU enters Week 11 tied for the national lead in turnovers forced (24 in 10 games). The Hilltoppers are tied for seventh nationally in interceptions with 13. WKU has brought five of their 24 forced turnovers back for touchdowns, which also leads the FBS.

A FIRST IN BOWLING GREEN THIS WEEK
Saturday’s game between Rice and WKU will be the first meeting this year (and only scheduled in the regular season) between teams who have a female head athletic trainer – Rice’s Deanna Doheny and WKU’s Jessica Judd.

World Elite Syndicate

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