Inside Marshall Sports

Conference USA notebook for 10/29

Hello, Herd fans!

There was some separating of the pretenders and contenders in the league last week. Old Dominion was exposed by Western Kentucky, Texas-San Antonio lost in a 5-overtime game and Florida International was brought back to Earth. Away we go …

Last week

Most notable

Middle Tennessee 51, Missouri 45: RB I’Tavius Mathers continues to be the real deal, as he ran for 215 yards and a TD in this 4-hour bout. He also added 8 receptions for 48 yards, and he was named offensive player of the week for the 3rd time. With 5 100-yard efforts in a row, he now leads the league with 940.

K Canon Rooker went 3 for 3 on field goals and 6 for 6 on extra points to be named special teams player of the week.

Western Kentucky 59, Old Dominion 24: The Hilltoppers scored 31 points in the 2nd quarter, a high in their FBS era that staked them to a 52-14 halftime lead. Mike White was a filthy 28 of 32 for 378 yards and 4 TDs, a passer rating of 221.7. That’ll work.

North Texas 35, Army 18: Army had punished Rice and UTEP, so the Mean Green looks a little better than the cellar-dweller it was made out to be. NT forced 7 turnovers and Eric Jenkins was named defensive player of the week with 2 interceptions (one brought back for a TD), 2 pass break-ups and a forced fumble. Jeffrey Wilson ran for 160 yards.

Hold your nose

Louisiana Tech 44, FIU 24: The Bulldogs have won 11 straight C-USA games in October, as Trent Taylor caught 11 passes for 156 yards and a TD. Carlos Henderson returned a kickoff 92 yards for another score. Crushing blow: Xavier Woods picking off Alex McGough and returning it 45 yards to the FIU 1. That resulted in a 34-17 lead.

FIU doesn’t have the greatest QB legacy — McGough, a junior, is now the school leader in career TD passes with 43.

UTEP 52, UTSA 49, 5 OT: OK, this was a thriller, but the Roadrunners really lost in the 4th overtime — they recovered a UTEP fumble, but missed a 42-yard field goal that would have won it. Tough, tough loss for a West Division darkhorse.

Rice 65, Prairie View 44: Rice led 42-7, so don’t read much into this. Still, there’s no such thing as a good game involving a down Rice team and Prairie View, especially with 21 penalties and 7 touchbacks.

C-USA best results vs. P-5

Southern Miss 44, Kentucky 35

Arkansas 21, Louisiana Tech 20 (Tech had ball with lead in 4th quarter)

Arizona 32, UTSA 28 (Roadrunners led in 4th quarter)

Vanderbilt 31, Western Kentucky 30 (WKU went for 2 and the win)

Middle Tennessee 51, Missouri 45

Overall vs P-5: 2-18

This week’s offerings, in order of interest (MU-Southern Miss not included):

Middle Tennessee (5-2, 2-1) at FIU (3-5, 3-1): Yeah, the Panthers are still tied for first. Is it me, or do these guys always play at home, at that lovely (cough, cough) stadium?

LINE: MTSU by 17. PANTHERS GO DOWN HARD.

Old Dominion (4-3, 2-1) at UTEP (2-5, 1-3): The Monarchs take the league’s longest possible journey, 1,988 miles by road. RB Jeremy Cox has rushed for 10 TDs scoring in all 6 games he has played.

LINE: ODU by 4. JOURNEY TOO LONG FOR THE MONARCHS.

North Texas (4-3, 2-1) at UTSA (3-4, 2-2): Time to see what the Mean Green is really made of in this battle of darkhorses. After this, NT plays Louisiana Tech, WKU and Southern Miss.

LINE: UTSA by 3.5. MEAN GREEN IN A MILD  UPSET.

WKU (5-3, 3-1) at Florida Atlantic (1-6, 0-3): The Owls have the chance to become the league’s first bowl-ineligible team.

LINE: WKU by 21.5. FAU HAS A WAY OF MAKING IT CLOSE(R).

Rice (1-6, 0-4) at Louisiana Tech (5-3, 3-1): These Owls just happen to start later, so they likely will be the 2nd bowl-ineligible team. This could get very, very ugly.

LINE: La Tech by 28. NOT ENOUGH POINTS FOR THE DOGS

Last week vs. line: 3-3 (including MU game). Season: 27-31.