Incoming C-USA commish Judy McLeod couldn't have come up with a better script for the close of the Conference USA football season.
Four teams remain, and the winners heading into the championship game will be decided on the field. None of the four have to rely on someone else. In a unique finish, they all control their own destiny.
The top two teams in the east square off on Friday, followed by the west on Saturday. Two days, two winners, leading right up to next weeks championship game which will be held at the school with the highest winning percentage in conference.
Western Kentucky vs. Marshall
Last year, these two played the highest scoring game in conference in which WKU won 67-66 in overtime. It was the only regular season loss for the Thundering Herd, who certainly have revenge on their minds. The game features a match-up of the top scoring offense in the conference (WKU) against the top scoring defense in the conference (Marshall). The game also is a match-up of two teams who have simply dominated Conference USA. WKU is riding a 10 game conference win streak, and Marshall has won 13 of 15 conference games.
Brandon Doughty leads the Hilltoppers with the highest completion percentage in all of college football (71%). The senior QB has simply been everything advertised and then some. All Marshall freshman QB Chase Litton does is win. He's 8-1 since taking over as starting QB, and is a terrific game manager. He's only thrown 4 INT's this season.
The game will be broadcast on FoxSports 1 Friday at 11:00 am CST.
Louisiana Tech vs Southern Miss
The winner of the west will be decided Saturday in Ruston in what has been called the "Rivalry in Dixie." Separated by 3 hours, the two schools are seeing the beginnings of a budding rivalry. This time it's to see who will represent the west in the championship game.
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Louisiana Tech comes in trying to become the 5th team to repeat as conference champ in Conference USA. They are led by a strong backfield in QB Jeff Driskel and power running back Kenneth Dixon. Driskel is no stranger to big games, and he's been a great leader for the La Tech offense, as he's thrown for more than 3,000 yards with 21 TD's, and only 5 INT's on the season. Dixon has been one of the best RB's in conference USA for years, and the downhill runner has continued to bowl over defenses all season long. Louisiana Tech lost to Western Kentucky early in the season for their only loss in conference.
Southern Miss has been a remarkable turnaround story led by Coach Todd Monken, who has changed the culture and brought back the winning attidude Southern Miss fans are used to. They have gotten it done on both sides of the ball this year, with the offense and defense leading the league in total yards. Yes, that's right, the conference's #1 offense and defense reside in Hattiesburg. Also, no one has won the conference more than Southern Miss over the years, and they look to avenge an early season loss to Marshall to get back to the championship game.
The Golden Eagles are led by Nick Mullens, QB, who is already shattering Southern Miss records as a Junior.
The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports regional networks at 11:00 CST Saturday.