Hello, Herd fans!
Four conference games this week, and not a minute too soon. Nonconference play has not treated C-USA well.
The best and worst of last week:
Best 3 results
Middle Tennessee 41, Bowling Green 21: The Falcons may not be as good as advertised before losing to Ohio State by 67 and beating North Dakota by 1, but so what? Marshall fans know how tough a win it is to escape BG with a win. I’Tavius Mathers was named offensive player of the week for his 157 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 1 receiving. DT Shaquille Huff (8 tackles, 2 for loss, sack, fumble recovery) was defensive player of week.
Western Kentucky 31, Miami (Ohio) 24: This was not a 1-score game — Miami scored with 1:17 left and didn’t recover the onside kick. Notable items: (a) Mike White was back, throwing for 268 yards and 2 TDs, and (b) ex-MU commit Quinton Baker rushed for 103 yards and a score. Nicarius Fant (48-yard punt returns) was the special teams player of the week.
Arizona State 32, Texas-San Antonio 28: UTSA gave up the last 20 points, but it looked more like the Roadrunners were overwhelmed in the trenches down the stretch. QB Dalton Sturm could only escape the pass rush so long. I’m impressed with that guy.
Worst 3 results
Akron 65, Marshall 38: Need I say more?
Florida 32, North Texas 0: Lean Green gains 53 total yards.
Eastern Michigan 37, Charlotte 19: Oh, it’s worse that that — the MAC doormats lead 34-6 after 3 quarters. Best news: the game lasted just 2 hours, 54 minutes.
C-USA vs. G-5
Southern Methodist 34, North Texas 21
Texas-El Paso 38, New Mexico State 22
Appalachian State 31, Old Dominion 7
Colorado State 23, Texas-San Antonio 14
Akron 65, Marshall 38
Middle Tennessee 41, Bowling Green 21
Western Kentucky 31, Miami (Ohio) 24
Eastern Michigan 37, Charlotte 19
Troy 37, Southern Miss 31
Mountain West 7-4
Sun Belt 4-6
Note: Army and Massachusetts are independents and are not factored in.
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)
Indiana 34, Florida International 13 (near-miss by loosest definition; FIU had ball in Indiana territory down by 7 in 4th quarter)
Arizona 32, UTSA 28 (led in 4th quarter)
Overall vs P-5: 1-14
This week’s offerings, in order of interest (MU-Louisville not included):
Louisiana Tech at Middle Tennessee, 7 p.m., ASN — Bulldogs were outgained by Texas Tech 666-572 last week, and the Blue Raiders have Brent Stockstill and the aforementioned Mathers. Let the good times roll!
ODDS: MTSU by 5.5. TAKE THE BLUE RAIDERS.
Southern Miss at UTEP, 8 p.m., Campus Insiders — The Golden Eagles handed last week’s game to Troy with a kickoff return fumble and a botched punt snap, when it comes down to it. UTEP, in the words of coach Sean Kugler, got “kicked in the groin” by Army. Eagles should kneecap a West Division darkhorse, but nothing’s automatic in the desert.
ODDS: Southern Miss by 10. TAKE THE EAGLES
Vanderbilt at Western Kentucky, 4:30 p.m., CBS Sports — Commodores flicked aside Middle Tennessee in Nashville, and make the short trip to play before a charged-up Hilltopper crowd. If this game runs long, Marshall fans have to hit the Internet to watch opening kickoff.
ODDS: WKU by 7.5. REALLY? TAKE VANDY.
UTSA at Old Dominion, 3:30 p.m., local in both markets — An interesting battle of teams with low expectations from the outside. As indicated, I’m impressed with Dalton Sturm and I think the Roadrunners will get through this long roadie nicely.
ODDS: ODU by 3.5. TAKE THE ROADRUNNERS.
Central Florida at Florida International, 7 p.m., beIN Sports — Remember when FIU beat the Knights last year in Orlando and celebrated like it was the Super Bowl, only to see UCF then go 0-12? Neither scenario repeats this year.
ODDS: UCF by 6.5. FIU LOSES, BUT SOMEHOW COVERS.
Ball State at Florida Atlantic, 6 p.m., C-USA TV — Hey, Charlie Partridge, what was that mess in Manhattan? The Owls have had some injuries and shuffling on the offensive line, I see. When I see (or write) “shuffling” and “offensive line” in the same sentence, I think, “uh, oh.”
But I can’t pull the trigger on Ball State.
ODDS: Ball State by 3.5. TAKE THE OWLS.
North Texas at Rice, 6 p.m., C-USA-TV — I care because North Texas is on Marshall’s schedule.
ODDS: Rice by 7.5. PUH-LEEZE … TAKE THESE OWLS, TOO.
Charlotte at Temple, noon, ESPN3 — I care because Charlotte is on Marshall’s schedule.
ODDS: Temple by 27.5 THROW IN THESE OWLS, AS WELL.
Last week vs. number: 2-10. Season: 10-17.