C-USA has had a tough season, but bounced back with some nice wins yesterday. We learned that North Texas is for real, that FIU is making its move, and that Mike Sanford perhaps saved his job with a close loss to Louisville.
The Week That Was
North Texas 44, Arkansas 17
Mason Fine was good but unspectacular, although he did drop some nice touch passes over the Arkansas defense. The story was the defense, which intercepted Arkansas quarterbacks (all three that played threw at least one) six times, including one of John Stephen Jones for a pick-six. Jones of course, is the grandson of billionaire Dallas Cowboys owner and Arkansas alumnus Jerry Jones. IT was a banner day in Fayetteville and the signature win for the league this season.
Coming into the year, North Texas’ defense was a huge question mark. That unit has turned into arguably the better performing side of the ball, with the league’s second best scoring defense at 18.7 allowed. It should be noted that nearly all of the opposition’s touchdowns in three games have come against the second unit. North Texas looks like a monster.
UAB 31, Tulane 24
UAB battled Tulane and “upset” the the Green Wave in Birmingham in front of a sparse crowd. This was a battle of power running but the Blazers showed out in their game, running for over 260 again. The loss to Coastal Carolina seemed like an anomaly, and if the Blazers continue to play like this, it will be like that Charlotte game from last year.
Florida Atlantic 49, Bethune-Cookman 28
A relatively easy win with some concerns. FAU got up early but then lot off the gas. Devin Singletary got on the scoreboard but did not run for big yards. He has not produced the kind of season we all expected, as FAU has slightly underperformed early.
FIU 63, Massachusetts 24
Things were easy for FIU, who are now going to play their own big matchup against Miami next week. Records for points, points in a half were set. The Panthers look like the best team in the division right now.
Louisville 20, WKU 17
Tough game that WKU led for most of. It ended with a miss off the right upright as time expired. The offense still looks out-of-sorts, but this was a much better performance than the loss to Maine. That said, Mike Sanford still had another loss added to his résumé.
(3) Georgia 49, Middle Tennessee 7
The championship contender took apart MTSU with little resistance. Not much was expected from the Blue Raiders in this one, but it is not nice seeing a senior-led team get blown out so easily.
Tennessee 24, UTEP 0
This reminded me of the last time a Mike-Canales-coached team went to Knoxville, also a 24-0 loss. UTEP did not threaten, or give the Vols any trouble and that was unsurprising. There is too much to work on in El Paso for the Miners to be any trouble for anyone anytime soon.
Kansas State 41, UTSA 17
UTSA’s offense is going back and forth between the two QB options and no one is happy about it. The message boards have given up on Frank Wilson, while some others are defending his situation. This was always going to be a tough year given the losses, which makes last season hurt more. Wilson also is without his expected starter at QB and it makes the battle between these two more difficult to take. UTSA has a rivalry game next week and could reasonably lose to the Bobcats.