Conference USA in Review, Week 1

September 2, 2014 by Derek Redd

Overall record: 7-6

Record vs. FBS teams: 5-5

Record vs. Power 5 teams: 0-5

C-USA in the Polls: AP — Marshall (ARV) ; Coaches — Marshall (ARV)

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Devon Johnson — The first-time collegiate running back announced his arrival with a 19-carry, 151-yard, two-touchdown performance in Marshall’s win over Miami (Ohio). His second touchdown was one of the most important offensive plays of the game, a 27-yard rumble on fourth and 2 that ended a 17-0 Miami run and made it a two-score game again. He then carried half the defense on his back as quarterback Rakeem Cato executed a beautiful play fake to score Marshall’s final touchdown.

UTSA — All the Roadrunners did last weekend was spoil Houston’s first game in its brand-new stadium, pummeling the Cougars, 27-7. So the team that was languishing in the WAC two seasons ago whipped the team that decided it was too good for C-USA and jumped to the American in 2013. I’ll be stunned if Larry Coker’s team isn’t the West Division representative in the conference title game.

Brandon Doughty — So here are the Western Kentucky quarterback’s numbers following the Hilltoppers’ 59-31 win over MAC favorite Bowling Green: 46 completions in 56 attempts, 569 yards, six touchdowns, no interceptions. WKU’s regular-season finale at Marshall might be the first time you ever see a scoreboard flash “TILT.”

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Florida International — First, the Panthers made waves when the athletic department declined to credential the Miami Herald’s FIU beat writer for the team’s opener versus Bethune-Cookman. The Herald, the only major outlet that really covers the team, rightfully responded by pulling all of its writers from FIU coverage. All they missed was the Panthers’ second straight loss to the Football Championship Subdivision team, this time a 14-12 clunker where the Panthers botched a game-winning field goal attempt. And the worst program in Conference USA continues to live down to its title.

Driphus Jackson — Jackson’s day versus Notre Dame didn’t make anyone forget former quarterback Taylor McHargue. Jackson completed just 13 of 24 passes for 163 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and added 61 rushing yards on 11 carries. Granted, starting the season versus the 17th-ranked Irish was no easy task. But even when McHargue’s numbers weren’t prolific, the Owls kept rolling.

Southern Miss offensive line — The Golden Eagles’ O-line surrendered a trio of sacks, while USM’s running game mustered just 71 yards on 33 carries in a 49-0 loss to Mississippi State. When I watched USM last season in its loss to Marshall, I thought QB Nick Mullens had a bright future. The sophomore might not get to see that future if his line can’t keep him upright or provide a decent running game.

Redd’s C-USA Title Prediction That’s Guaranteed to Fail: UTSA at Marshall

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