Week 5 Conference Notes: Conference-USA

UPCOMING GAMES (ALL TIMES CT)

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2

Charlotte at Illinois (Big Ten Network) 11 am

FIU at Florida Atlantic (Stadium) 2:30 pm

UNLV at UTSA (ESPN+) 5 pm

LA Tech at No. 23 NC State (ACC Net Extra/ESPN+) 5 pm

Southern Miss at Rice (ESPN3) 5:30 pm

Liberty at UAB (CBSSN) 6 pm

Marshall at Middle Tennessee (Stadium) 6 pm

WKU at No. 17 Michigan State (Big Ten Network)6:30 pm

Old Dominion at UTEP (ESPN+) 8 pm

QUICK HITTERS

A LOOK AT WEEK FIVE

Thirteen Conference USA teams are in action in Week Five on Saturday, with league play kicking into gear. There are four conference games slated for Saturday, Oct. 2, in addition to five non-conference tilts, which are highlighted by Charlotte traveling to Illinois, and a pair of 3-1 teams in UAB and Liberty doing battle in
Birmingham, as the Blazers open Protective Stadium. North Texas is the lone C-USA school with a bye this week.

Charlotte (3-1), fresh off a thrilling 42-39 win over Middle Tennessee, travels to Champaign to take on Illinois (1-4) on Big Ten Network at 11 a.m. CT. The 49ers picked up a win over a power-five opponent to open the season, knocking off Duke in Week 1, and are looking to make it 2-for-2 in 2021. Illinois, who opened the season with a win over Nebraska, have lost four straight, including a 37-30 defeat at the hands of UTSA, also in Champaign.

The Shula Bowl, a battle between FIU (1-3) and Florida Atlantic (2-2) kicks off at 2:30 p.m. CT on Stadium. FIU has dropped three straight, and despite holding a 17-point fourth quarter lead last week on the road at Central Michigan, fell 31-27 in Mount Pleasant. Florida Atlantic made a cross country trip to Colorado Springs, and fell 31-7 at Air Force. This is the C-USA opener for both teams.

At 5 p.m. CT UTSA (4-0), who is receiving votes in both primary national polls, hosts UNLV (0-4) on ESPN+. The Roadrunners continue to rise, knocking off Memphis on the road 31-28 after trailing 21-0 in the first quarter. The win was the second massive road victory for UTSA in 2021 thus far, and ended a 17-game home winning streak for the Tigers, dating back to 2018. UTSA K Hunter Duplessis made a game-winning 42-yard FG as time expired to push the Roadrunners to 4-0. UNLV is winless in head coach Marcus Arroyo’s tenure (0-10 dating back to 2020), but the Rebels were extremely competitive last week on the road at No. 22 Fresno State, eventually falling 38-30 last Friday night.

Louisiana Tech (2-2) concludes its non-conference schedule Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. CT, when the Bulldogs travel to take on No. 23 NC State (3-1) on ACC Network Extra/ESPN+. The Bulldogs held off a rally by North Texas and won 24-17 at home in their C-USA opener, despite being without starting QB Austin Kendall, who missed the game due to medical reasons. NC State defeated No. 9 Clemson 27-21 in double overtime at home last week.

Southern Miss (1-3) travels to Houston to take on Rice (1-3) in each team’s C-USA lidlifter at 5:30 p.m. CT on ESPN3. The Golden Eagles lost at No. 1 Alabama 63-14 last week, and are led by freshman QB Ty Keyes. Rice picked up its first win of 2021 last week, defeating Texas Southern 48-34 in Houston. Rice RB Jordan Myers found the end zone four times last week for the Owls, carrying 26 times for 160 yards in the win.

UAB (3-1) is set to open its brand new 45,000 seat Protective Stadium on Saturday night at 6 p.m. CT when the Blazers host Liberty (3-1) in a non-conference tilt on CBS Sports Network. UAB picked up an impressive 28-21 win at Tulane, while Liberty fell 24- 21 on the road at Syracuse last week.

Marshall (2-2) travels to Murfreesboro to take on Middle Tennessee (1-3, 0-2 C-USA) on Saturday night at 6 p.m. CT on Stadium. The Thundering Herd fell 31-30 on the road at Appalachian State last Thursday, and have dropped two straight. Middle Tennessee fell in a thriller in Charlotte, 42-39, and certainly appear to have found their new starting QB in Chase Cunningham, who threw for 379 yards and five touchdowns, and added 65-yards on the ground in his first career start.

WKU (1-2) nearly came back to beat Indiana last week in front of 25,171 at Houchens-Smith Stadium in Bowling Green, falling 33-31. The Hilltoppers take a swing at another Big Ten team, No. 17 Michigan State (4-0) in East Lansing at 6 p.m. CT on Big Ten Network. The Spartans held off Nebraska 23-20 in overtime at home last week.

UTEP (3-1) hosts Old Dominion (1-3) to wrap up Saturday night for C-USA teams, as both teams open league play in El Paso at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN+. The Miners came back to knock off rival New Mexico 20- 13 last week at home, while Old Dominion’s furious second half rally at home against Buffalo fell just short. ODU trailed 35-7 and scored what appeared to be a game-tying touchdown in the final minute – however a penalty pushed the extra point back, and it was eventually missed, as the Monarchs fell 35-34 in heartbreaking fashion.