Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Ty Gaston

CFB Week 6 Conference Notes: Conference USA

UPCOMING GAMES (ALL TIMES CT)FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8
Charlotte at FIU (CBSSN) 6 pm

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9
Old Dominion at Marshall (CBSSN/FB) 1 pm
Florida Atlantic at UAB (Stadium) 2:30 pm
Middle Tennessee at Liberty (ESPN3) 2:30 pm
North Texas at Missouri (SEC Network) 3 pm
UTSA at WKU (Stadium) 6 pm
UTEP at Southern Miss (ESPN3) 6 pm

 

QUICK HITTERS

A LOOK AT WEEK SIX
Twelve Conference USA teams are in action in Week Six, with league play in full swing with five league games. Additionally, two C-USA teams are slated for non-conference tilts, as Middle Tennessee travels to Lynchburg, Virginia, to take on Liberty and North Texas makes the trip to Columbia, Missouri to take on SEC foe Missouri. Charlotte travels to FIU in C-USA play on Friday night, while Florida Atlantic  heads to Birmingham to take on UAB at Protective Stadium. WKU opens conference play by hosting 5-0 UTSA on Saturday night in Bowling Green. Louisiana Tech and Rice both have byes this week.

Charlotte (3-2, 1-0 C-USA), who fell 24-14 at Illinois last week, travels to Miami to take on FIU (1-4, 0-1 CUSA) on CBS Sports Network at 6 p.m. CT on Friday night. The 49ers carried a 14-10 lead into halftime last week in Champaign, but were not able to hold on as they concluded non-conference play at 2-2. FIU is reeling a bit, having dropped four straight, including a 58-21 loss last week in the Shula  Bowl to rival Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton.

Saturday’s action kicks off as Old Dominion (1-4, 0-1 C-USA) travels to Huntington, West Virginia, to battle Marshall (2-3, 0-1 C-USA) on CBS Sports Network/ Facebook at 1 p.m. CT. ODU fell 28-21 on the road in El Paso last week against UTEP, unable to hold on to a 21-20 advantage in the fourth quarter. Marshall has dropped three straight since starting 2-0, including a loss at Middle Tennessee last week, 34-28. The Herd turned the ball over six times en route to its third straight defeat.

At 2:30 p.m. CT Florida Atlantic (3-2, 1-0 C-USA), makes the journey to Birmingham to take on UAB (3-2, 1-0 C-USA) on Stadium. FAU exploded for 58 points and 704 yards of total offense last week at home against rival FIU to open conference play with  a bang. UAB opened its brand new 45,000 seat home, Protective Stadium, last week against Liberty, but were beaten 36-12 by the Flames. The Blazers look to bounce back, and build off their league-opening performance back on Sept. 18, when they beat North Texas 40-6 in Denton.

Those same Liberty Flames (4-1) play host to another C-USA foe in Middle Tennessee (2-3) on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. CT on ESPN3. Middle Tennessee picked up a huge conference win over Marshall last week, forcing six turnovers, the most a Blue Raiders team has caused since 2018 (seven). Middle Tennessee will have its hands full with Liberty QB Malik Willis, who is thought of by some as the top signal-caller in the 2022 NFL Draft class.

North Texas (1-3), fresh off its bye week, travels to take on SEC foe Missouri (2-3) at 3 p.m. CT on SEC Network. The Mean Green have dropped three straight since winning their season-opener back on Sept. 4. They fell 24-17 at Louisiana Tech their last time out and are looking to bounce back on a big stage. Missouri was blown out at home last week by Tennessee, 62-24.

UTSA (5-0, 1-0 C-USA) is one of just 17 unbeaten teams in the FBS, and is receiving votes in both the Associated Press Top 25 (10 votes) and the USA Today Coaches Poll (13 votes) for the second straight week. The Roadrunners have a stiff test in the form of one of  the most prolific offenses in the country on Saturday night at 6 p.m. CT, when they travel to Bowling Green, Kentucky, to battle WKU (1-3) on Stadium. UTSA held off UNLV at home last week 24-17, while WKU fell on the road at No. 17 Michigan State, 48-31.

C-USA Offensive Player of the Week, QB Bailey Zappe, threw for 488 yards with three scores in East Lansing, while WR Jerreth Sterns caught 17 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown in a losing effort. UTEP (4-1, 1-0 C-USA) is off to its best start since 2010, and has the opportunity to pull within one game of bowl eligibility when the Miners travel to Hattiesburg Saturday night to take on Southern Miss
(1-4, 0-1 C-USA) at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN3. UTEP came from behind to beat Old Dominion last week, 28-21, while Southern Miss’ valiant comeback effort fell just short at Rice (24-19).

UTSA IMPROVES TO 5-0
UTSA improved to 5-0, tying its best-ever start in program history (2012) with a 24-17 win over UNLV on Saturday. The Roadrunners entered the week receiving votes in both the Associated Press Poll and USA Today Coaches Poll, and are one of just 17 unbeaten teams remaining in the FBS. QB Frank Harris was efficient, completing 24-30 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns. WR De’Corian Clark had a monster day as well, hauling in seven grabs for 109 yards and a score.

FAU ROLLS IN SHULA BOWL
Florida Atlantic opened conference play with an emphatic 58-21 win over rival FIU in the 20th edition of the Shula Bowl in Boca Raton. QB N’Kosi Perry was stellar for the Owls, completing 18-21 passes for 329 yards with three touchdowns, and also carried for another  score. The Owls rolled up 704 yards of total offense and shut the Panthers out in the second half in the win.

UTEP IS 4-1 UTEP opened conference play with a win Saturday night when the Miners held off Old Dominion 28-21 in El Paso. The Miners are off to a 4-1 start, surpassing their win total from 2020 through just five games. It also marks the first time UTEP has won four games in a single season since 2016 and it is their first 4-1 start to a season since 2010 (under then-head coach Mike Price). WR Jacob Cowing led the way again, surpassing 100 yards receiving for the fourth time in 2021. He hauled in four catches for 118 yards in the win.

ZAPPE, STERNS CONTINUE TO PUT UP BIG NUMBERS FOR WKU
WKU QB Bailey Zappe threw for 488 yards and three touchdowns in a losing effort at No. 17 Michigan State Saturday night. Zappe’s 46 completions tied for fourth-most in a single game in C-USA history. WR Jerreth Sterns hauled in 17 catches for 186 yards and a score, and his 17 grabs tied for fifthmost in a single game in C-USA history.

ALI LIKES THE END ZONE
Marshall RB Rasheen Ali continued his incredible start to 2021, as the Cleveland native found the end zone three more times last week for the Thundering Herd in a 34-28 loss at Middle Tennessee. Ali carried 19 times for 113 yards and the three touchdowns, scoring from 12, one and two yards out, respectively The redshirt freshman leads the FBS in rushing touchdowns with 11 through five games.

ZAPPE CONTINUES TO CHUCK IT
WKU QB Bailey Zappe, who leads the nation in passing yards per game (428.0), was fantastic last week for the HIlltoppers as they fell at No. 17 Michigan State. Zappe completed 46-64 passes for 488 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers. Zappe has completed 72.7% of his passes (133-183) for 1,712 yards with 16 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He also has a rushing touchdown. His 46 completions tied for fourth-most in a single game in C-USA history.
1. Case Keenum, Houston (56) on 12/5/09 at ECU
2. David Piland, Houston (53) on 9/8/12 vs. LA Tech
3. Case Keenum, Houston (51) on 10/3/09 at UTEP
4. Bailey Zappe, WKU (46) on 10/2/21 at Michigan State
Brandon Daughty, WKU (46) on 8/29/14 vs. Bowling Green

JERRETH STERNS STAYS HOT
WKU WR Jerreth Sterns is the FBS leader in a pair of categories entering Week Six. The former Houston Baptist wideout is the national leader in receiving yards per game (136.5) and in receptions per game (10.0). Sterns has caught 40 passes for 546 yards and five touchdowns in four games in 2021. He hauled in 17 passes for 186 yards and a score last week at Michigan State, which tied for the fifth-most in a single game in C-USA history.

1. Tommy Shuler, Marshall (19) on 9/29/12 at Purdue
James Cleveland, Houston (19) on 12/5/09 at ECU
3. Tommy Shuler, Marshall (18) on 12/23/14 vs. NIU
Emmanuel Sanders, SMU (18) on 9/19/09 at Washington State
5. Jerreth Sterns, WKU (17) on 10/2/21 at Michigan State
Lucky Jackson, WKU (17) on 12/30/19 vs. Western Michigan
Trent Taylor, LA Tech (17) on 9/24/16 at MTSU
Justin Hardy, ECU (17) on 10/12/13 at Tulane
Damaris Johnson, Tulsa (17) on 11/21/09 at Southern Miss

COWING COMES UP BIG AGAIN
UTEP WR Jacob Cowing is among the nation’s leaders in receiving and kept his torrid pace up in last week’s C-USA win over Old Dominion. Cowing caught four passes for 118 yards to help lift the Miners to 4-1 on the season. The Maricopa, Arizona, native has 24  catches for 585 yards (24.4 yards per reception) with four touchdowns in five appearances.

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