Hello, Herd fans!
Thursday night is important for the Herd, as far as the East Division race goes. That’s when Western Kentucky goes to Ruston to take on Louisiana Tech. The Hilltoppers are on a 13-game winning streak
So who reading this thought WKU was not a worthy candidate for C-USA expansion? I’ll skip the way-too-easy Florida International joke this time.
The notable and not so notable results last week:
Old Dominion 52, Charlotte 17: Beating Charlotte is not worth brownie points, but the Monarchs weren’t expected to beat up on anybody. The 17 points against is a program-best in C-USA play.
Florida International 33, Florida Atlantic 31: All hail Ron Cooper! In his first game as the Panthers’ Austin Taylor kicked a 32-yard field goal with 12:14 left to take the lead. More impressive: The Panthers killed the final 6 minutes, converting a third-and-11 along the way.
FIU LB Anthony Wint is the C-USA defensive player of the week for making 12 tackles and forcing a key third-quarter fumble. FAU’s Charlie Partridge is 11th on one of my favorite dark-humor web sites, Coaches Hot Seat.
Southern Mississippi 44, Rice 28: This game produced some silly stats as Allenzae Staggers caught TD passes of 75, 81 and 93 yards from Nick Mullens. He caught 6 passes for 292 yards, and Mullens threw for 591. That’s five-nine-one.
As you might guess, Staggers was a player of the week.
Hold your nose
Middle Tennessee 30, North Texas 13: Both teams scored a very late TD, so this game was a yawner by G-5 standards. NT (I still refuse to use “UNT”) ran for a net 5 yards.
Mean Green punter Eric Keena averaged 51.6 yards on eight punts, downing four kicks inside the MTSU 20. He deserved the special teams honor.
WKU 50, Houston Baptist 3: Yawn.
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
Temple 48, Charlotte 20
Ball State 31, FAU 27
UCF 53, FIU 14
Mountain West 8-8
Sun Belt 7-9
Note: Army and Massachusetts are independents and are not factored in. C-USA is 0-3 vs. those teams.
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 (led in 4th quarter)
Vanderbilt 31, Western Kentucky 30 (WKU went for 2 and the win)
Note: Marshall cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 3 points in the 4th quarter, but never got the ball back with a chance to tie or go ahead. Therefore, that game is not listed here.
Overall vs P-5: 1-17
This week’s offerings, in order of interest (MU-NT not included):
WKU (3-2, 1-0) at Louisiana Tech (2-3, 1-1), 8 p.m. Thursday (CBS Sports Network): In the Skip Holtz long-winded poor-mouth file, he told the world his team is 121st in the nation in giving up plays over 20 yards. That’s not a good omen in this game.
LINE: WKU by 2.5. TAKE THE TOPPERS, LAY THE POINTS.
Southern Miss (4-1, 2-0) at Texas-San Antonio (1-3, 0-1), noon (American Sports Network): Last call for UTSA’s darkhorse hopes comes two weeks after the Roadrunners ran into a ditch at Old Dominion. Southern Miss gained 702 total yards against what we now know to be a horrific Rice defense.
LINE: Southern Miss by 16.5. TOO MUCH IN THIS GAME; TAKE UTSA
FIU (1-4, 1-0) at Texas-El Paso (1-4, 0-2): An East Division co-leader (no, really) against a Miner team that has proved itself not ready for the limelight, having been outscored 169-35 over the last 4 games. The last 2 games came against Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech, so that kills UTEP’s darkhorse hopes.
LINE: UTEP by 5. MINERS WILL SEND PANTHERS BACK TO REALITY.
Massachusetts (1-4) at Old Dominion (3-2), 8 p.m. Friday: After this week, the vagabond Minutemen play their third C-USA team, Louisiana Tech, at Foxboro. This is a nonconference game, but respresents another proving ground for QB David Washington and the upstart Monarchs. Note time change due to Hurricane Matthew.
LINE: ODU by 7. OK, MONARCHS, KEEP US INTERESTED.
Charlotte (1-4, 0-1) at FAU (1-4, 0-1), noon Sunday: Somebody has to emerge from this 1-1. I guess that will be the Owls. Note time change due to Hurricane Matthew.
LINE: FAU by 14. SURELY, OWLS WON’T BLOW (BAD HURRICANE PUN) THIS ONE … RIGHT?
Last week vs. number: 3-2. Season: 17-23.