Sept. 27, 2010
Three league games and three non-conference contests highlight this week's docket in Conference USA. SMU and Rice will meet for the 88th time on Saturday, making it the most-played rivalry in C-USA. Southern Miss will host Marshall in the CBS College Sports Game of the Week Saturday night in Hattiesburg. Tulsa and Memphis will face each other at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. East Carolina, Tulane and UTEP each have non-league contests scheduled.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
BRYAN ELLIS - UAB
QB, Jr., Byron, Ga. (Peach County)
Making the first start of his UAB career, Ellis passed for 373 yards and a TD in a 32-29 double-overtime loss at Tennessee. Ellis nearly orchestrated a huge comeback win for the second week in a row after leading the Blazers back from a 23-0 deficit a week earlier vs. Troy. On Saturday, UAB trailed 23-7 at halftime before storming back to tie the game and extend it to double OT. Ellis has passed for 733 yards and four touchdowns in the past two games. He is the first Blazer QB ever to throw for more than 350 yards in back-to-back outings.
LOYCE MEANS - HOUSTON
DB, Sr., Houston, Texas (Madison)
Means recorded his second and third interceptions of the year on consecutive defensive drives to halt Tulane's second-half resurgence. He returned the second pick 42 yards for a touchdown to give UH a final score of 42-23. The Green Wave had scored 10 second-half points to bring the game within five points before Means' first interception, which he returned 13 yards. He also had four tackles, one pass break up and a QB hurry.
DAKOTA WARREN - UTEP
K, So., Austin, Texas (Ventura College)
Warren kicked three field goals, including the game-winning 18-yarder as time expired, lifting UTEP to a 16-13 win over Memphis. Warren also connected from 57 and 50 yards as he became only the second UTEP player since 1950 to hit two 50-yard field goals in a game, joining former NFL standout Chris Jacke, who hit a pair of 51-yarders at New Mexico in 1988. The 57-yard field goal by Warren against the Tigers is tied for the fourth-longest in UTEP history and is the second-longest by a sophomore.
SMU became the third Conference USA school to set a new stadium attendance record during the first month of the season when it drew a record crowd to the game vs. TCU on Sept. 24. The attendance of 35,481 in Gerald J. Ford Stadium that night established a new record, breaking the mark of 34,749 set in the 2009 home-opener against Stephen F. Austin.
On opening weekend, Houston and East Carolina set new stadium attendance records. Houston defeated Texas State on Sept. 4 in front of a sell-out crowd of 32,119 at Robertson Stadium, while East Carolina debuted the newly-expanded Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Sept. 5 vs. Tulsa in front of a sold out crowd of 50,010 in Greenville.
UTEP'S WARREN EARNS C-USA, NATIONAL RECOGNITION
In addition to being named C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week, UTEP sophomore K Dakota Warren earned a helmet sticker from ESPN for his role in the Miners' last-second victory over Memphis on Saturday night. Warren kicked an 18-yard field goal as time expired to give UTEP the win. Warren had two other kicks in the game: a 50-yarder and 57-yarder. They are his first two 50-plus field goals in his UTEP career as he became the first Miner since Chris Jacke in 1988 to hit two 50-yarders in one game.
Warren was also named as one of the Lou Groza Award's Three Stars of the Week.
THE COMEBACK KID
One week after engineering a 99-yard game-winning drive to defeat Troy on a 44-yard `Hail Mary' touchdown pass, UAB junior QB Bryan Ellis nearly did it again.
Trailing at Tennessee, 23-7, the Blazers fought back and forced double-overtime before falling to the Volunteers, 32-29. Ellis threw for 373 yards and a touchdown in his first career start.
Ellis has passed for 733 yards and four touchdowns in the past two games. He is the first Blazer QB since Darrell Hackney in 2005 to throw for 300-plus yards in back-to-back games and the first UAB signal-caller ever to throw for 350 yards in two straight outings.
When SMU and Rice play this Saturday it will be the 88th meeting between the two Texas schools and former SWC rivals, making it the most-played rivalry in Conference USA. Four of the five longest rivalries in C-USA take place over the next three weeks. The fifth-longest was renewed last week when Houston defeated Tulane. Here's a look at the longest-running rivalries in C-USA:
MOST PLAYED SERIES
87 Rice-SMU (SMU 46, Rice, 40, 1 tie)
60 USM-MEM (Southern Miss 38, Memphis 21, 1 tie)
36 TUL-HOU (Houston 21, Tulane 15)
36 HOU-Rice (Houston 26, Rice 10)
35 USM-ECU (Southern Miss 26, East Carolina 9)
TOP FIVE TREVOR
UTEP's Trevor Vittatoe is the seventh player in Conference USA history to throw for 10,000 yards. Against Memphis last week, he passed Tulsa's Paul Smith (2005-07) to move into fifth place on the all-time C-USA passing list. Vittatoe is also fifth in touchdown passes (83) and eighth in total offense (10,495 yards).
C-USA Career Passing Leaders
Player (School) Years Yards
1. Case Keenum (Houston) 2007 -present 13,586
2. Kevin Kolb (Houston) 2003-06 12,964
3. Chris Redman (Louisville) 1996-99 12,541
4. Gino Guidugli (Cincinnati) 2001-04 11,453
5. Trevor Vittatoe (UTEP) 2007-present 10,669
C-USA Career TD Pass Leaders
Player (School) Years TDs
1. Case Keenum (Houston) 2007-present 107
2. Chase Clement (Rice) 2005-08 99
3. Kevin Kolb (Houston) 2003-06 85
4. Chris Redman (Louisville) 1996-99 84
5. Trevor Vittatoe (UTEP) 2007-present 83
*Marshall senior DE Vinny Curry is the only FBS player in the country with six sacks. His six solo sacks have generated 36 lost yards by opponents. UAB senior DE Bryant Turner is tied for second among FBS players with five sacks.
*With nine rushing touchdowns in the first four games of the season, Houston junior RB Bryce Beall is tied with Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon for the lead among all FBS players.
*UTEP sophomore WR Marlon McClure and Oregon State WR James Rodgers are the only players in the FBS ranks listed in the top-20 in all-purpose yards, kickoff returns and punt returns. McClure has 497 all-purpose yards in four games (1 rush, 113 rec., 85 PR and 298 KR). McClure's 187 all-purpose yards versus Memphis last week were the second-most in his career behind the 215 at Houston on Sept. 10.
*Rice freshman K Chris Boswell booted two more field goals against Baylor on Saturday to give him nine on the season. The nine field goals are already the most by an Owls kicker since Mike Ruff had nine in 1995. With 10 field goals, only Colin Wagner of Penn State and Michael Taylor have more this season than Boswell.
*The top three active FBS players in yards per catch hail from C-USA. SMU's Aldrick Robinson is first at 17.2 yards per reception, followed by Kris Adams of UTEP at 17.0 and DeAndre Brown of Southern Miss at 16.7.
EAST CAROLINA PIRATES
The Pirates were idle last week as they prepare to meet North Carolina on Saturday in Chapel Hill. Junior QB Dominique Davis has accounted for 12 of ECU's 16 touchdowns this season, throwing for nine scores and running for three others. Senior RB Jonathan Williams has scored in each of the three games this season, running for two touchdowns against Virginia Tech on Sept. 18 for his second career multiple-score game. Over his last 10 games, junior CB Emanuel Davis has averaged 6.9 tackles per contest. In its last eight games, East Carolina has forced 18 turnovers and turned those into 14 scores, including nine touchdowns.
The Cougars moved to 2-0 in C-USA play with a 42-23 win over Tulane on Saturday, their eighth straight win over the Green Wave. That is the longest current win streak by one C-USA team against another league rival. In his first collegiate start, freshman QB Terrance Broadway was 19-of-28 for 174 yards. Junior RB Bryce Beall carried a career-high 24 times for 123 yards and a career-best four touchdowns. It was his third multiple TD game this season and the seventh of his career. With two interceptions, senior CB Loyce Means recorded his first multi-interception game of the 2010 season and the second of his career (vs. Tulsa, Nov. 15, 2008). He returned his second INT 42 yards for a touchdown for his second career score.
MARSHALL THUNDERING HERD
Marshall scored a thrilling 24-23 win over long-time rival Ohio Saturday in the "Battle for the Bell." The Thundering Herd has now won 12 of the last 14 meetings with the Bobcats and six straight in a series that dates back to 1905. The win also was the first under new head coach Doc Holliday. Sophomore WR Antavious Wilson led all receivers with seven catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns. Junior QB Brian Anderson was 21-of-30 for 295 yards and three TDs. Junior DE Vinny Curry recorded 11 tackles, six solo, a game-high two sacks for a loss of 13 yards and recorded 2.5 tackles for loss to go with two quarterback hurries
The Tigers did not trail until the final gun, falling at UTEP on Saturday night, 16-13. Freshman QB Ryan Williams threw for 144 yards, completing 20-of-30 pass attempts along with a touchdown to junior WR Jermaine McKenzie. True freshman RB Jerrell Rhodes registered a career high with 90 yards on 23 carries. Freshman DB Mohammed Seisay recorded an interception for the second straight game to set up up the Tigers only touchdown. That was the fifth-straight time that Memphis had scored off of a turnover as the Tigers forced four against MTSU last weekend and scored off all four miscues.
The Owls lost to old SWC rival Baylor on Saturday, 30-13. Junior QB Nick Fanuzzi started and hit on 27-of-38 passes for 204 yards. Sophomore RB Sam McGuffie rushed for a season-high 64 yards and added seven catches for 33 yards. His 11-yard scamper in the fourth quarter was his first rushing touchdown this season for Rice. Freshman K Chris Boswell had two more field goals (from 43 and 42 yards) to give him nine on the season, already the most by a Rice kicker since 1995. Junior DB Chris Jammer had three tackles and forced turnovers on back-to-back Baylor drives in the third quarter with a forced fumble and an interception.
The Mustangs fell to No. 4 TCU on Friday, 41-24. Sophomore RB Zach Line set career-high for carries (17) and yards (139) for his second 100-yard game of the year. He scored on a 29-yard run, his fourth rushing TD of the season. Sophomore WR Darius Johnson had five catches for a career-best 72 yards. Senior WR Aldrick Robinson caught a season-best five passes, including his 20th career touchdown (now fourth in C-USA history). Senior P/K Matt Szymanksi had a career-best 74-yard punt in the fourth quarter; it is the ninth-longest in SMU history
SOUTHERN MISS GOLDEN EAGLES
The Golden Eagles held on to win at Louisiana Tech on Saturday, 13-12, as freshman DB Deron Wilson intercepted a pass at the 20-yard line to end a potential scoring threat. Junior QB Austin Davis accounted for 302 total offensive yards, tallying 233 yards passing (22-of-38) with one TD, while adding 69 yards rushing on 18 carries. Junior WR Kelvin Bolden enjoyed the best day of his Golden Eagle career with a pair of catches for 79 yards. His first catch was a 23-yard TD catch from Davis and the other was a 56-yard late in the contest which helped seal the victory for the Eagles. Senior LB Korey Williams led the team in tackles with eight, including five solo stops. He registered one tackle for loss and his first career inception on Louisiana Tech's second drive of the contest.
TULANE GREEN WAVE
Tulane fell at Houston on Saturday, 42-23. Senior QB Kevin Moore came off the bench to replace an injured Ryan Griffin and led the Green Wave on four scoring drives. Moore was one of four Green Wave players to complete a pass on the day and finished 12-of-26 for 156 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. Playing for the first time this season, sophomore WR Devin Figaro set career-highs with four receptions for 95 yards, including a 36-yard TD catch. Sophomore FS Shakiel Smith tallied a career-best 13 tackles (7 solo, 6 assists) while sophomore MLB Trent Mackey and junior DE Dezman Moses followed with 11 and 10, respectively.
TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE
The Golden Hurricane posted a 41-14 win over Central Arkansas on Saturday. Junior QB G.J. Kinne completed 22-of-33 passes for 232 yards and three TDs, and connected with 10 different receivers in the game. Sophomore RB Alex Singleton rushed for a game-high 99 yards on 12 carries for a 7.8-yard average per carry. One week after recording his first rushing TD, freshman RB Trey Watts had his first receiving score. In a defensive performance that saw Tulsa hold UCA to just 319 yards of total offense, junior LB Curnelius Arnick had a team-high 10 tackles, including one stop for -2 yards.
UAB lost a heart-breaking 32-29 double-overtime decision at Tennessee. The Blazers picked up 544 yards compared to the Vols' 287 yards, had eight more first downs and converted seven more third down attempts. Junior QB Bryan Ellis made his first start and completed 29-of-55 passes for 373 yards and one TD, along with a pair of two-point conversions to senior TE Jeffery Anderson. Senior WR Frantrell Forrest had seven receptions for 109 yards and a score. Senior DE Bryant Turner is tied for No. 4 in sacks in the latest NCAA statistics. Turner now has seven sacks on the season and 18 for his career. He is No. 6 all-time at UAB in sacks. UAB registered five sacks against Tennessee.
The Knights led nearly the entire game before a Kansas State touchdown with 24 seconds left gave the Wildcats a 17-13 win. UCF outgained K-State, 344-272, and had nine more first downs. The Knights also limited K-State RB Daniel Thomas, who entered the game as the nation's second-leading rusher, to just 76 yards on 22 carries. Freshman QB Jeff Godfrey just missed becoming only the second QB in UCF history to run for at least 100 yards, picking up 99 yards on 17 carries. Junior RB Ronnie Weaver finished the game with 22 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown. It is his second-career 100-yard rushing game, topping his career-high 123 yard performance against SMU on Oct. 4, 2008.
UTEP improved to 3-1 with a 16-13 win over Memphis. The Miners overcame a sluggish offensive performance by moving 95 yards on 12 plays in the final 3:13 to break a 13-13 tie with Dakota Warren's third field goal. Senior QB Trevor Vittatoe completed 16-of-33 passes for 171 yards, and senior RB Donald Buckram rushed 13 times for a team-leading 59 yards in his first action of the season. Buckram had missed the first three games with a bruised knee. UTEP has held three of its first four opponents under 300 yards of offense for the first time since 1991 and have limited three of their first four opponents to 13 points or fewer for the first time since 1987.