News and notes from around Conference USA

Around the world of Conference USA...

Here is a look at the football match-ups this week for Conference USA:

Louisiana Tech  (2-2, 1-1)

Up next: vs. Louisiana Lafayette

An important in-state match up for many reasons, including recruiting, puts the Cajuns coming in to Ruston this week.  Louisiana Tech is now 2-2 and recovered from the heartbreak of a triple OT loss at Kansas State with a win over FIU last week.  The Bulldogs and Jeff Driskel hope this game will continue to propel them toward their goal of playing for a conference championship.  Kenneth Dixon leads the team with 524 yards and 5 TD's.  

Southern Miss  (2-2, 0-0)

Up next: vs. North Texas

The non-conference portion of the Golden Eagles schedule is over, and they came out right where they had hoped.  Though the injury bug has bit, this much improved team is looking like one that will assert itself as one that will have a say in the conference race.  The offensive numbers have been staggering.  From conferenceusa.com, The Golden Eagles now have accumulated 28 offensive plays of 20-plus yards in 2015 (five rushing, 23 passing), seven of which have produced touchdowns. Southern Miss has produced 13 touchdowns that have taken less than two minutes off the game clock.  Nick Mullens threw for 447 yards last week in a close loss at Nebraska in which the Golden Eagles had a chance to pull the upset.  

Rice   (2-2, 1-0)

Up next:  vs Western Kentucky

Rice looks to rebound after getting knocked around by in-state foe Baylor 70-17.  The Owls are also looking to get a leg up in the C-USA race by hosting conference favorite Western Kentucky.  The offense has been good for Rice, the problem is going to be finding a way to slow down the potent Western Kentucky offense.  Find a way to slow them down, and the Owls could pull it off in a track meet.  Rice has been getting it done on the ground this year, leading the conference with an average of 228 yards per game rushing.

North Texas  (0-3, 0-0)

Up next: At Southern Miss

North Texas is desperate for a win.  After a brutal start, the Mean Green need to find a way to find some defense.  They'll face another high powered attack though on the road in Southern Miss this week.  North Texas receiver Carlos Harris is one of the league's best, and leads the team with 18 receptions for 276 yards and 2 TD's.  They'll need to find a way to establish a running game too to try and keep the Southern Miss offense off the field as much as possible.  

UTSA   (0-4, 0-0)

Up next:  At UTEP

Perhaps no team is more eager to see the non-conference season come to a close than the Roadrunners.  Considered one of the toughest non conference slates, UTSA is certainly happy to be back in conference for a new start. Despite the 0-4 record, UTSA has a lot of positives going for it, starting with the running game.  Last week, Jarveon Williams rushed for 170 yards making the Roadrunners the #3 ranked running attack in conference.  They'll need a strong offensive performance again, but they have to feel good about their chance to get in the win column this week.

UTEP   (2-2, 0-0)

Up next: vs. UTSA

UTEP is 2-2 but their wins have not been impressive.  A close call with Incarnate Word last weekend can't bring a tremendous amount of optimism in El Paso.  They seemed to have solved the QB question, though, and that's a good place to start.  Ryan Metz came on and led a couple of TD drives and appears to have taken the reins.  Both teams will be desperate to get off to a good start in conference so expect a nice Texas shoot-out in El Paso this weekend.

Western Kentucky   (3-1, 1-0)

Up next: At Rice

The offensive stampede continues in Bowling Green.  Last weekend Western Kentucky's Brandon Doughty threw for 457 yards and 6 TD's.  As if that wasn't incredible enough, he had over 350 by HALFTIME.  Remarkably, that's the 5th time in the last 6 games he's thrown for over 400 yards.  His 6 TD, no INT performance makes him stand alone with FBS QB's this season.  On the year, he's thrown for 1,591 yards and 11 TD's.  Until someone slows him down, this is still the team to beat in C-USA.

Marshall   (3-1, 0-0)

Up next: vs Old Dominion

Marshall has been a tough one to figure out.  At times, they seem to be moving along just fine.  Then, at other times, they seem to be completely lost without Rakeem Cato.  The good news is that the Thundering Herd are getting it done on the defensive end.  Their defense leads the league in scoring average, and also leads the nation in three and outs produced.  If they can get some better production on offense, they'll be a serious contender for the C-USA East.

FIU   (2-2, 0-1)

Up next: At U-Mass

FIU steps out of conference one more time and makes a trip up north to face a struggling U-Mass team.  FIU has also been getting it done on defense, only giving up 9 TD's on the season.  They are much improved, and have to be thinking about a possible bowl berth.  QB Alex McGough has thrown for over 1,000 yards and 9 TD's, and gives them enough offense to win games.  This would be a big road win for a team eager to get to a bowl.

FAU   (1-3, 1-0)

Up next: BYE Week

Middle Tennessee   (2-2, 1-0)

Up next: vs. Vanderbilt

A big in-state game for MTSU as the battle for the Nashville area comes to Murfreesboro.  MTSU got off to a good conference start by putting up 70 on Charlotte.  Vandy has been playing better, but they've already lost to another C-USA team WKU to start the season.  Brent Stockstill is another of many good QB's in this conference, and he's thrown for over 1,200 yards and 12 TD's.  He'll try to get it going against the Commodores this Saturday.

Charlotte   (2-2, 0-2)

Up next: vs Temple

The undefeated Temple Owls come in to Charlotte for a Friday night contest that should draw some interest.  The 49ers had a rough welcome to C-USA, so maybe a non-conference game will help them out at home.  The up-tempo offense has been good, and RB Kalif Phillips has been really good.  He rushed for 165 yards last week and they'll continue to look to get him even more involved in the offense.  

Old Dominion   (2-2, 0-0)

Up next: At Marshall

Old Dominion makes their first trip in conference to a tough place to place in Marshall.  ODU lost a couple of tough ones at home and star RB Ray Lawry has been grounded of late.  Though he has 475 yards on the season, he has not been able to get going the past two weeks and NC State really was able to put the clamps on him.  It won't be easy for ODU against a stingy Marshall defense.  Look for the Monarchs to try and open things up through the air to see if they can loosen up the defense.  

Notes around C-USA:

-C-USA has announced connection with a new bowl, the Arizona Bowl, that will take place in Tuscon on Dec. 29th.  The game will feature two teams from either the Mountain West, C-USA, or the Sun Belt conference.  LINK

-For the full TV schedule for week 5 in C-USA, click here:  LINK

-The Southern Miss volleyball team improved to 15-5 with a win over Charlotte today.  League leading Western Kentucky is 16-2

-ASN is scheduled to bring over 125 televised basketball games from C-USA:  LINK


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