We had some big performances and a few disappointments. Mason Fine threw for seven TDs and then wore a T-Rex costume to go viral. WKU lost at home to FAU and the wonderful little story of a team on the rebound is now one of could-have-been.
FIU 24, Old Dominion 17
FIU kept ODU at bay in a dull affair in Florida. The Panthers kept the anemic ODU offense off the board for two quarters after allowing an early TD. ODU scored 10 in the fourth but this was never really in doubt. FIU moves to 5-4 and 3-3 in conference. There is a small hope fo ra division title, but two more wins would all-but-guarantee a bowl appearance. Six may be just too few. ODU is pretty much done and may be playing out the string on Bobby Widler’s time there.
Charlotte 34, Middle Tennessee 20
Charlotte went through a little confidence crisis that seemed to be fixed up at about half time of the game last week against North Texas. In this one, the 49ers were without star RB Benny LeMay but managed to keep the offense humming. Aaron McAllister ran for 104 in LeMay’s place. Charlotte is 4-5, 2-3. There is a very small chance at the division title — maybe — but the real item to play for is bowl eligibility. It will probably take seven wins, but this has been a good start to the Healy era.
North Texas 52, UTEP 26
Mason Fine dressed as a T-Rex after throwing seven scores against UTEP. He had five TD passes at half-time, making it back-to-back games of five or more scores. North Texas really dropped an opportunity game last week vs Charlotte, but still has a good chance at the division. They need help, but it remains possible. NT is at 4-5, 3-2 on the season. UTEP continues to struggle and things are not looking so great in the rebuild.
Marshall 20, Rice 7
Marshall went down to Houston to take on the nation’s best winless team. Rice briefly led before Marshall answered and never looked back. The Herd are 6-3, 4-1 on the season and control their fate. Yes, they dropped one game in league play but that loss to Middle will not come into play if they can win out vs Tech, Charlotte, and FIU. Meanwhile, the pressure on Bloomgren will increase if only slightly. There are only so many moral victories a team can manage.
Florida Atlantic 35, WKU 24
The defense has been the calling card for WKU this season and while they defended well in spots, FAU was too much too often. The Hilltopper offense has come alive in recent weeks but turnovers from Ty Storey really killed any attempts at a comeback. FAU does not control their fate in the division by virtue of the loss to Marshall earlier, but this keeps them in position to pounce should the Herd stumble.
Tennessee 30, UAB 7
We wrote about the opportunity that was squandered. Tennessee dominated from start to finish even though they are not a great team. UAB is 6-2 and has only the one-loss in conference to WKU. As the Blazers get ready to face the gauntlet of USM, Tech and NT (with UTEP mixed in for a respite) we will see how good this team really is. The concern is the turnovers from the QB position. The run game has not been as powerful as in years past, so that means Tyler Johnston has to do more. UAB controls their fate from here on.
Texas A&M 45, UTSA 14
Time was that UTSA fans looked forward to these games because they felt their team would be surprisingly competitive. Now? Well they simply hope they get out of this healthy and with a reasonably un-embarrassing score. This one was just that. No one comes away impressed, but no one is overly embarrassed. Roadrunner football! The future looks like this: a winnable ODU, then a gauntlet of quality teams in Southern Miss, FAU, and Tech.