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CFB: Week 8 Conference Notes – Conference USA (C-USA)

UPCOMING GAMES (ALL TIMES CT)

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21
UAB at WKU (CBSSN) 7 pm

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22
Rice at LA Tech (ESPN+) 2 pm

FIU at Charlotte (ESPN3) 2:30 pm

North Texas at UTSA (Stadium) 2:30 pm

Florida Atlantic at UTEP (ESPN+) 3 pm

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK, PRESENTED BY BLENDERS EYEWEAR (WEEK 7)

OFFENSE
QB DYLAN HOPKINS, UAB
Redshirt Junior, Maryville, Tennessee Hopkins put up 334 yards of total offense and two touchdowns in UAB’s 34-20 victory over Charlotte. He completed 15-of-23 for 231 yards and a touchdown, and added 10 carries for 103 rushing yards and another touchdown. It was his second career 100-yard rushing performance and his third straight game this season throwing for 200-plus yards. Hopkins is leading C-USA in passer efficiency and is completing 67 percent of his passes for 1,170 yards, six TDs and two interceptions.

DEFENSE
LB KD DAVIS, NORTH TEXAS
Senior, Ennis, Texas
Davis finished the day with a career-high 19 tackles, including 11 solo stops and a half-tackle for-loss in Saturday’s win over Louisiana Tech to lift the Mean Green to a 3-0 start in conference play. Davis’ 19 tackles bested his 18 in last year’s win over Rice and the Ennis, Texas, native now has 361 career tackles, which moved him into fifth on the program’s all-time list past Burks Washington and Zach Orr. Davis’ 19 tackles are the third-most by a FBS player in a game this season and the most tackles by a North Texas player since 2003.

SPECIAL TEAMS
P, TOM ELLARD, WKU
Freshman, Melbourne, Australia
Ellard had his best game yet in a WKU uniform and set up the defense for success all night by helping the Hilltoppers win the position battle with his dynamic punting. Ellard punted five times for a total of 233 yards, which set his average at 46.6. He recorded a career-long punt of 4 yards, and pinned MTSU down inside the 20-yard line two times. His efforts helped WKU hold the Blue Raiders to just 17 points as the Tops went on to win 35-17 for their 600th victory in program history.

QUICK HITTERS

A LOOK AT WEEK 8
Ten C-USA teams are in action again this week, with all five scheduled games being league contests. Friday night sees a key matchup between UAB and WKU in Bowling Green at 7 p.m. CT on CBS Sports Network. A four-game slate on Saturday starts with a 2 p.m. CT matchup between Rice and Louisiana Tech in Ruston, a pair of 2:30 p..m CT fixtures that pits a pair of 3-0 league foes in North Texas at UTSA and FIU travels to Charlotte, and finally a 3 p.m. kickoff in Boca Raton between UTEP and Florida Atlantic.

UAB (4-2, 2-1 C-USA) travels to Bowling Green to take on WKU (4-3, 2-1 C-USA) on Friday night at 7 p.m. CT on CBS Sports Network. Both are jockeying for position in the standings in this pivotal league contest featuring the best defense in C-USA (UAB allowing 17.3 ppg) and the best offense in C-USA (WKU scoring 40.0 ppg). Both are coming off of victories last week, as UAB dispatched of Charlotte 34-20 at home, while WKU went on the road and handled rival Middle Tennessee 35-17.

The Saturday slate gets kicked off at 2 p.m. CT on ESPN+ as Rice (3-3, 1-1 C-USA) is on the road again this week, as they travel to Ruston to take on Louisiana Tech (2-4, 1-1 C-USA). Both will be looking to get back into the win column this week as Rice fell 17-14 on the road last week at Florida Atlantic, while Louisiana Tech dropped its road game 47-27 at North Texas.

North Texas (4-3, 3-0 C-USA) is on the road this week in a rivalry game at UTSA (5-2, 3-0 C-USA) in a battle of the top two teams in the league standings on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. CT on Stadium. UTSA took care of business last week on the road at FIU, 30-10, while North Texas rolled up a program-record 475 rushing yards in its 47-27 win last week at home over Louisiana Tech. North Texas leads the all-time series 5-4, and have won four of the past five meetings, including last season’s 45-23 win in Denton over the 11-0 Roadrunners in late November.

FIU (2-4, 0-2 C-USA), fly north to take on Charlotte (1-6, 0-3 C-USA) Saturday afternoon, also at 2:30 p.m. CT on ESPN3. FIU put up a strong fight against defending champion UTSA last week, but ultimately the Roadrunners pulled away with a 30-10 win, while Charlotte hung with UAB before the Blazers stretched their lead to win 34-20 in Birmingham.

The final game of the night is another conference duel between Florida Atlantic (3-4, 2-1 C-USA) and UTEP (3-4, 1-2 C-USA) in El Paso at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN+. FAU pulled out a hard-fought win at home over Rice, 17-14, while UTEP enters play following a bye. The Miners fell 41-31 in Week 6 at Louisiana Tech its last time out.

BLAZERS OVERCOME SLOW START TO MOVE TO 2-1 IN LEAGUE PLAY
UAB (4-2, 2-1 C-USA) outscored Charlotte (1-6, 0-3 C- USA) 24-6 in the second half on its way to a 34- 20 victory on Saturday afternoon. RB DeWayne McBride (137) and QB Dylan Hopkins (103) each topped the century mark on the ground and combined for three scores. McBride, who found pay dirt twice, extended his streak of consecutive games with a rushing touchdown to 12 contests. The Blazers limited the 49ers to 327 yards of total offense and just 12 first downs. S Grayson Cash picked off a pair of passes to lead the UAB secondary, and LB Noah Wilder racked up a team-high 11 tackles.

WKU DEFENSE SHINES AS HILLTOPPERS DOMINATE IN RIVALRY WIN
WKU (4-3, 2-1 C-USA) rode a stout defense to its fourth-straight victory in the “100 Miles of Hate” series, a 35-17 decision over rival Middle Tennessee (3-4, 0-3 C-USA). The Blue Raiders finished the game 3-16 on third down, including converting just one of their first 11 attempts. DB Kahlef Hailassie made plays all across the field, recording seven tackles, 2.5 TFL, a pair of pass breakups and a forced fumble. Freshman S Darius Thomas put the game on ice with a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown. QB Austin Reed completed 32-49 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns, and WR Malachi Corley recorded his third 100-yard receiving effort in the last four games, hauling in 10 passes for 100 yards
and a score.

MEAN GREEN SET PROGRAM RECORD FOR SINGLE-GAME RUSHING
North Texas (4-3, 3-0 C-USA) made history with a program-record 475 yards rushing in a 47-27 defeat of LA Tech (2-4, 1-1 C-USA). It marked the Mean Green’s eight-straight conference victory. UNT, who eclipsed 300 yards rushing before the end of the first half, had five individuals run for at least 60 yards and was led by RB Ayo Adeyi with 122. The Mansfield, Texas, native busted off a 92- yard run to give the Mean Green a 21-3 lead. Oscar Adaway III (16-113-1), Kaylon Horton (3-97-1) and Ikaika Ragsdale (7-62-1) also found their way into the end zone on the ground. LB KD Davis broke his own program record for single-game tackles with 19 total stops on Saturday. DL Mazin Richards also etched his name in the record book, becoming the first UNT student- athlete to tally three sacks in a game since Jarrian Roberts in 2015.

FLORIDA ATLANTIC HOLDS OFF RICE IN BAT- TLE OF OWLS
After scoring 17 unanswered points from the second quarter on, Florida Atlantic (3-4, 2-1 C-USA) edged out Rice (3-3, 1-1 C-USA) on Saturday night. FAU picked off QB TJ McMahon twice in the end zone in the fourth quarter, courtesy of Dwight Toombs and Armani Adams, to thwart Rice’s comeback efforts. FAU broke up seven passes and recorded three interceptions in total. LB Eddie Williams posted a team-high eight tackles. QB N’Kosi Perry completed 14-26 passes for 126 yards and the go-ahead touchdown to Jahmal Edrine in the final frame. RB Larry McCammon III ran for 99 yards on 24 totes, including a five-yard score to put FAU on the board in the second quarter.

HARRIS, BARNES UTSA DEFENSE LEAD THE WAY TO 3-0 C-USA START
UTSA (5-2, 3-0 C-USA) took care of business on “Vice Night” in Miami, knocking off FIU (2-4, 0-2 C-USA) 30-10 on Friday night. QB Frank Harris, RB Kevorian Barnes and the Roadrunner’s defense led UTSA to a 3-0 start in league play for the second straight season.

Harris completed 24-35 passes for 303 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, while Barnes had a career day. The redshirt freshman out of San Augustine, Texas, carried 20 times for 128 yards with the first two touchdowns of his young career. Defensively, the Roadrunners held FIU to 323 yards of total offense and just 10 points, 23 under their season average, in the win. DL Nick Booker-Brown led the way with six total stops, a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss for the Roadrunners.

HARRIS IS TOTALLY OFFENSIVE
UTSA QB Frank Harris ranks fifth in the FBS in total offense (352.4 yards per game). The redshirt senior ranks sixth nationally in passing yards per game (328.6). Harris is also ninth nationally in completions per game (25.57), 14th in points responsible for (122), and 23rd in points responsible for per game (17.4). Harris has completed 179-260 passes for 2,300 yards with 15 touchdowns and has also carried 55 times for 244 yards and five more scores in seven games thus far in 2022.

REED MAKING MAJOR IMPACT FOR WKU
WKU QB Austin Reed ranks third nationally in total offense (358.3 yards per game). The graduate transfer ranks fifth nationally in passing (330.6), second in points responsible for (156), fourth in points responsible for per game (22.3), fourth in passing touchdowns (21), second in completions per game (30.00) and seventh in completion percentage (70.7%). Reed has completed 210-297 passes for 2,314 yards with 21 touchdowns and only five interceptions, while also carrying 55 times for 151 yards and four more scores in seven games thus far in 2022.

DEBO IS DOMINANT
UAB RB DeWayne McBride leads the nation in rushing yards per game (155.6), leads the FBS in scoring per game (13.2 ppg), is fourth in all-purpose yardage per game (155.60), 10th in rushing yards per carry (6.71) and fourth in rushing touchdowns (11). McBride has carried 116 times for 778 yards with 11 touchdowns in just five games played thus far in 2022.

TAKEAWAYTOPS

WKU enters Week 8 second nationally in turnovers forced (17 in seven games), behind just Liberty, who have 18. The Hilltoppers are tied for eighth nationally in interceptions with 10. WKU has brought four of their 17 forced turnovers back for touchdowns, which leads the FBS.

MTSU’S PATTERSON PICKING IT
Middle Tennessee DB Decorian Patterson is tied for the fourth nationally in interceptions with four through seven games.

ROADRUNNER WR TRIO SHOWING OUT
UTSA may have the best receiving trio in the nation – as WRs De’Corian Clark, Zakhari Franklin and Joshua Cephus are each within the top-20 in receiving yards (678, 654 and 604, respectively) and have combined for 16 touchdowns.

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