Oct. 6, 2008
Oct. 6 C-USA Football Notebook
IRVING, Texas - Tulsa’s 63-28 win over Rice on Saturday made the Golden Hurricane the first Conference USA team to open a season at 5-0 since Southern Miss won its first five games of the 2004 season. Only the undefeated 1998 Tulane team (12-0) and the 2003 TCU team (10-0 before losing at Southern Miss on Nov. 20, 2003) have started a season better than 5-0 since the league’s inaugural season in 1996.
HURRICANE STILL GOLDEN
Tulsa scored over 60 points for the second straight game and tallied 42 second half points in capturing a 63-28 victory over the Rice at H.A. Chapman Stadium on Saturday.
Tulsa moved to 5-0 on the season for the first time since 1945, and has a 2-0 record in the Conference USA West Division. The Hurricane rushed for 386 yards and passed for another 191 yards.
Tarrion Adams led the Hurricane rushing attack with 112 yards, followed by Charles Opeseyitan’s 94 yards, A.J. Whitmore with 83 yards and Jamad Williams with 47 yards. David Johnson completed 13-of-25 passes for 177 yards and four touchdowns.
Saturday, October 4
Army 44, Tulane 13
UCF 31, SMU 17
UTEP 40, Southern Miss 37 (2 OT)
Tulsa 63, Rice 28
Friday, October 3
Cincinnati 33, Marshall 10
Thursday, October 2
Memphis 33, UAB 30
Thursday, October 9
UAB at Houston (CBS C) 7:00 p.m.
Friday, October 10
Louisville at Memphis (ESPN) 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 11
East Carolina at Virginia (Raycom) 11:00 a.m.
UCF at Miami (Fla.) (ESPNU) 2:45 p.m.
Tulsa at SMU 7:00 p.m.
(15) Boise State at Southern Miss (CBS C) 7:00 p.m.
Tulane at UTEP 8:05 p.m.
LAST WEEK’S STARS
Here’s a look at some of the top performers in Conference USA games from Oct. 2-4:
34 Damion Fletcher, USM (260 yds.)
25 Ronnie Weaver, UCF (123 yds.)
23 Tarrion Adams, TLS (112 yds.)
21 Andre Anderson, TLN (107 yds.)
260 Damion Fletcher, USM (24 att.)
123 Ronnie Weaver, UCF (25 att.)
112 Tarrion Adams, TLS (23 att.)
107 Andre Anderson, TLN (21 att.)
101 Curtis Steele, MEM (14 att.)
3 Joe Webb, UAB
2 A.J. Whitmore, TLS
29 Bo Levi Mitchell, SMU (45 att.)
25 Trevor Vittatoe, UTEP (43 att.)
22 Chase Clement, Rice (42 att.)
22 Kevin Moore, TLN (35 att.)
351 Bo Levi Mitchell, SMU (29-of-45)
321 Chase Clement, Rice (22-of-42)
273 Kevin Moore, TLN (22-of-35)
266 Trevor Vittatoe, UTEP (25-of-43)
264 Austin Davis, USM (21-of-37)
4 Trevor Vittatoe, UTEP
4 Arkelon Hall, MEM
4 David Johnson, TLS
10 Aldrick Robinson, SMU (210 yds.)
9 James Casey, Rice (120 yds.)
8 DeAndre Brown, USM (110 yds.)
7 Five players tied
210 Aldrick Robinson, SMU (10 rec.)
142 Jarett Dillard, Rice (7 rec.)
123 Carlos Singleton, MEM (5 rec.)
120 James Casey, Rice (9 rec.)
110 DeAndre Brown, USM (8 rec.)
1 Nine players tied
260 Damion Fletcher, USM (260 rush)
210 Aldrick Robinson, SMU (210 rcv.)
166 Andre Anderson, TLN (107 rush, 59 rcv.)
160 Rashaud Slaughter, UAB (92 rush, 17 rcv., 51 kr.)
152 James Casey, Rice (31 rush, 120 rcv., 1 pr.)
148 Joe Burnett, UCF (94 pr., 20 kr., 34 fr.)
147 Josh Ferguson, UTEP (147 kr.)
142 Jarett Dillard, Rice (142 rcv.)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
TREVOR VITTATOE - UTEP
QB. So., Bedford, Texas (Trinity)
Vittatoe completed 25-of-43 passes for 266 yards with a season-high four touchdown passes in leading UTEP to a 40-37 double-overtime victory at Southern Miss. He completed passes to 11 different Miners and did not throw an interception. Vittatoe directed seven different scoring drives (five in regulation/two in OT), including a season-long 15-play, 76 yard TD drive to tie the contest late in the first quarter. He was especially impressive when the game was on the line, connecting on 4-of-7 for 31 yards and two touchdown passes in OT. Both of the TD passes in OT came on third down, the latter going to Kris Adams to lift UTEP to the win.
UN’TAVIOUS SCOTT - Tulsa
DE, Jr., Pahokee, Fla. (Reedley JC)
In a 63-28 victory over Rice, Scott, a junior transfer, totaled three tackles, including one stop for –5 yards. He also forced one fumble and recovered two other fumbles. Scott’s second fumble recovery led to a Tulsa touchdown, giving the Hurricane a 56-21 lead.
VINNY ZACCARIO - Memphis
K, Fr., Tampa, Fla. (Newsome)
Zaccario kicked the game-winning field goal with two seconds on the clock to give Memphis a 33-30 victory over UAB, the team’s first win in Birmingham since 1999. Zaccario is a walk-on true-freshman who started his second-straight game as the Memphis kicker after a hip flexor injury to junior Matt Reagan. He also booted a 34-yard field goal with 11 minutes remaining to finish the game with nine points after going 2-for-2 on field goals and 3-for-3 in PATs. Zaccario is the first kicker to start his Memphis career a perfect 5-for-5 in field goals since Ryan White went a perfect 16-for-16 in 1998.
S2 Patrick Pinkney, QB, ECU
S8 James Casey, WR, Rice
S15 Patrick Pinkney, QB, ECU
S22 Darius Passmore, WR, MAR
David Johnson, QB, TLS
S29 Chase Clement, QB, Rice
Jarett Dillard, WR, Rice
O6 Trevor Vittatoe, QB, UTEP
S2 Andrew Sendejo, FS, Rice
S8 Van Eskridge, DB, ECU
S15 C.J. Wilson, DL, ECU
S22 Charles Davis, DB, TLS
S29 Clinton McDonald, DL, MEM
O6 Un’Tavious Scott, DE, Tulsa
S2 T.J. Lee, WR, ECU
S8 Joe Burnett, DB, UCF
S15 Quinten Cotton, LB, ECU
S22 Wesley Scourten, WR, HOU
S29 Jose Martinez, PK, UTEP
O6 Vinny Zaccario, PK, Memphis
SCORES OF SCORES
Conference USA teams have notched an impressive 17 non-offensive scores so far in 2008, including eight interceptions that have been returned for TDs. The league also has three fumble recoveries for scores, two kickoff return TDs, a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown, a punt return TD and the rare blocked PAT that was returned for two points.
C-USA is only lacking a safety to have put points on the board in every way possible. East Carolina, Rice and UTEP account for 12 of the 16 scores, with each school notching four non-offensive scores apiece.
Conference USA quarterbacks are are among the NCAA leaders in passing touchdowns (through games of Oct. 4). Tulsa’s David Johnson leads FBS QBs with 23 TD passes. Here’s a look at the leaders.
MOST TOUCHDOWN PASSES IN 2008
23 David Johnson, Tulsa
19 Case Keenum, Houston
19 Tim Hiller, Western Michigan
18 Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
18 Graham Harrell, Texas Tech
Conference USA has three of the top four leaders in receptions in the FBS (through games of Oct. 4). Rice’s James Casey currently holds the national lead with 54 catches. Here’s a look at the leaders:
MOST RECEPTIONS IN 2008
54 James Casey, Rice
50 Eric Decker, Minnesota
46 Jarett Dillard, Rice
45 Emmanuel Sanders, SMU
44 Kerry Meier, Kansas
MOVING UP THE CHARTS
With his fourth touchdown pass against Rice, Tulsa QB David Johnson surpassed T.J. Rubley (1989) and James Kilian (2003) for 4th place on Tulsa’s season touchdown pass chart (23). It also marks the 4th consecutive game that Johnson has thrown for at least four touchdown passes.
UAB’s Joe Webb is currently second among the nation’s quarterbacks in rushing yards this season with 516, averaging almost 87 yards per game on the ground. Webb ranks fourth in rushing yards per game by quarterbacks. Here’s a look at the nation’s QB rushing leaders leaders as of Oct. 4:
MOST RUSHING YARDS BY A QB
585 Michael Desormeaux, Louisiana-Lafayette
516 Joe Webb, UAB
511 Colin Kaepernick, UNLV
487 Julian Edelman, Kent State
436 Robert Griffin, Baylor
BALL IN THE HALL
After Rice’s Chase Clement and Jarett Dillard connected for their 40th career touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter of the Owls’ 77-20 win over North Texas, both players knew exactly what happened. That touchdown pass set an NCAA record for career scoring passes involving the same duo. So who got the ball? Well, neither of them. The infamous touchdown ball was tucked away and shipped to the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. Clement and Dillard scored three touchdowns that night and each kept a ball from one of the other two scores.
Conference USA is currently ranked second among FBS conferences in total offense, with league teams averaging 109.0 yards per game. Only the Big 12, at 448.0 ypg., is higher. C-USA also trails only the Big 12 in touchdown passes per game, with C-USA teams throwing 2.08 per outing to the Big 12’s 2.57. C-USA has moved up to second among FBS conferences in scoring at 29.2 points per game, trailing only the Big 12 at 39.4 ppg.
Conference USA is the only FBS league that is averaging more passing plays than running plays. C-USA teams average 36.4 pass attempts per game, while averaging 34.2 rushing attempts. C-USA is running more total plays per game (70.6) than any other conference.
THEY CALL HIM SLICK
Tulsa WR Slick Shelley’s 25-yard punt return for a touchdown was Tulsa’s first since Jermaine Landrum’s 41-yard punt return for a touchdown against Arkansas State on September 20, 2003. It marked the third straight game in which Shelley has scored a touchdown. He has scored four during that same span.
TRACY ON THE MARK
Tulsa PK Jarod Tracy finished the game against Rice with 147 career PAT’s made in C-USA, which is now the second most all time. Tracy also finished the game with 152 career PAT kicks attempted in C-USA, which is also good for second most all time.
ADAMS FOR 100
On his 21st carry of the game against Rice, Tulsa RB Tarrion Adams surpassed the 100-yard mark for the 10th time in his career. This is Adams’ second consecutive 100-yard rushing game.
HIGH POWERED OFFENSE
Tulsa has scored at least 40 points in all five games this season and 10 out of its last 11 games. TU has scored at least 50 points in four consecutive games marking the first time Tulsa has achieved that feat since the 1919 season when Tulsa had five straight games with at least 50 points.
The last time Tulsa scored 60 or more points in consecutive games was in 1975 when Tulsa beat Drake 70-7 and Indiana State 62-7.
With 577 yards, it was the 6th consecutive game in which Tulsa has compiled at least 500 yards and the ninth time in the last 10 games in which Tulsa has reached that milestone.
For the second consecutive game, Tulsa compiled more rushing yards (386) than passing yards (191).
With its 30-37 double-overtime win over Southern Miss, UTEP stands at 2-0 in conference play for the third straight year, marking just the second time in school history that the Miners have done so. The Miners also achieved the feat from 1948-50, when they were members of the Border Conference.
The Miners improve to 3-0 all time in double overtime games. UTEP defeated Houston, 44-41, on Sept. 16, 2005, at the Sun Bowl. The Miners knocked off Rice, 35-28, on Nov. 13, 2004, in El Paso.
UTEP’s past two Conference USA road openers have gone to overtime. The Miners emerged with a 48-45 win at SMU on Sept. 29, 2007. Coincidentally, that contest was the last time UTEP had won on the road prior to Saturday.
ADAMS WITH THE WINNER
UTEP sophomore WR Kris Adams recorded his first career multiple touchdown game as a Miner, with the latter coming in double OT to propel UTEP to the win over Southern Miss. He also had a 10-yard score in the second quarter, marking his second straight week with a TD reception.
Memphis junior WR Duke Calhoun extended his receiving streak to 30 games with his six-yard reception in the second quarter against UAB. Calhoun holds the school record with the 30-game streak, and entered the UAB game ranked 11th nationally. He finished the contest with two receptions for 27 yards, and is ranked third all-time at Memphis in career receiving yards with 1,846.
HALL OF AN EFFORT
Memphis QB Arkelon Hall tossed a career-high four touchdown passes against UAB last Thursday. His previous career best was three TD passes earlier this season versus Rice. Hall completed 18 of 28 passes for 209 yards and four touchdowns. Hall is only the fifth Tiger QB in school history to log four touchdown passes in a single game, which ranks second all-time.
SINGLETON EXTENDS STREAK
Tiger junior WR Carlos Singleton extended his receiving streak to 27 games with his 13-yard catch midway through the first quarter in Memphis’ 33-30 win over UAB. Singleton now ranks third all-time with the 27-game streak. Singleton registered five catches for 123 yards and a TD in the win to notch the fourth game of his career over the century mark. It was his second game this season over 100 yards.
With a 21-yard carry in the first quarter against Memphis, UAB quarterback Joe Webb established a new UAB single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback. Webb went on to post a total of 93 yards in the game, giving him 516 rushing yards for the season. Webb also scored three rushing touchdowns in the game. The junior became the first UAB player to run for three touchdowns in a game since 2006. With his three rushing touchdowns, he now owns five rushing scores on the season. The UAB record for single-season rushing touchdowns by a quarterback is six, accomplished by former Blazer signal caller Daniel Dixon in 1999.
LONG DISTANCE KICK
Marshall K Craig Ratanamorn booted a 50-yard field goal in the second quarter against Cincinnati. It was the longest field goal for the Thundering Herd since Anthony Binswanger made a 50-yard attempt against UCF on Oct. 4, 2006 in Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The longest field goal in stadium history was a 53-yarder by Curtis Head in 2002. Barry Childers holds the school-record of 59 yards set in 1980.
HOME SWEET HOME
With their 31-17 win over SMU on Saturday at Bright House Networks Stadium, UCF has now won eight of its last nine games at home and is 6-0 vs. C-USA teams in the stadium.
PICKS A PLENTY
With Joe Burnett’s second-quarter interception, UCF has now picked off a pass in 13-consecutive games. Burnett now has 14 career INTs, to move into a tie for third place on the all-time C-USA career chart. He also broke the school record he previously shared with Keith Evans. Burnett is also second in the NCAA in career picks among active players.
Sha’reff Rashad moved into double figures in career interceptions with a pick in the fourth quarter. With 10 interceptions, Rashad is now tied with teammate Johnell Neal on UCF’s career list.
UCF freshman RB Ronnie Weaver carried the ball 25 times for a career-high 123 yards against SMU. The total marks UCF’s first 100-yard rusher in 2008 and the first since Kevin Smith accumulated 119 yards on 35 carries in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 29, 2007. Weaver’s 48-yard run in the second quarter was a career high and the longest run from scrimmage for UCF in 2008. Weaver’s seven-yard TD scamper in the third quarter was the first of his career.
BURNETT ON THE RUN
UCF’s Joe Burnett extended the Conference USA career punt return record to 1,181 yards. The NCAA’s active leader in punt return yardage returned four punts for 94 yards against SMU. Burnett moved into second place in C-USA history in total punt returns. He now has 84 punt returns, behind only Arnold Jackson of Louisville who finished with 100.
ALDRICK THROUGH THE AIR
The 210 receiving yards by WR Aldrick Robinson against UCF (10 catches) was the second-highest in a game at SMU (Jerry LeVias 213 vs. N.C. State in 1968). The 94-yard touchdown pass from QB Bo Levi Mitchell to Robinson was the second-longest passing play in SMU history (longest is 96 yards from Jeff Courtwright to Craig James against North Texas on 10/2/1982).
This was Robinspn’s third 100-yard receiving game of the season and he now has 7 TD catches this season, which ties for sixth in a season at SMU. Robinson also has 656 receiving yards on the season, which is 16th at SMU.
SMU WR Emmanuel Sanders had six receptions for 51 yards against UCF and now has 612 receiving yards for the season, becoming the first SMU player with 600 receiving yards in three seasons. His total is 18th-most in a season at SMU. The junior now has 2,105 career receiving yards, which is fifth at SMU and has 165 career receptions to move into a tie for fourth at SMU.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS
SMU KR Jessie Henderson had two kickoff returns for 36 yards against SMU and now has 96 kickoff returns, extending his SMU record and the mark is third in C-USA history. Henderson has 2,354 kickoff return yards, extending his SMU record and it moved him into third in C-USA history.
CAN’T CATCH FLETCH
Southern Miss junior RB Damion Fletcher rushed for a career-high 260 yards in the loss to UTEP. His previous high was 222 earlier this year against Louisiana-Lafayette. The 260 yards gave Fletcher 3,654 for his career, making him the new all-time leader at Southern Miss, passing Ben Garry (3,595), it was also his 18th career 100-yard game, the most in Southern Miss history.
NELSON MOVES UP LIST
Golden Eagle WR/TE Shawn Nelson caught seven passes for 57 yards and a touchdown against UTEP Saturday. His 10-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter was his third of the season and 16th of his career. He is now fourth all-time on the school touchdown list.
NCAA RECORD FOR DILLARD
With 3:06 to play in the first half against Tulsa, Rice WR Jarett Dillard caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Chase Clement. The pass reception was Dillard’s 51st touchdown reception, breaking the NCAA record of 50 TD receptions he shared with Troy Edwards of Louisiana Tech. The Clement-Dillard combination raised their NCAA record for touchdown passes by a duo to 42.
Dillard finished the game with seven receptions for 142 yards. It was his fourth straight 100-yard receiving game and 13th of his career. Dillard had six, 100-yard receiving games in 2006 and three all of last year. Dillard extended his streak to 42 straight games with at least two receptions with a pair of catches on the Owls’ second offensive series.
CHASE OWNS THEM ALL
Rice senior QB Chase Clement finished Saturday’s game against Tulsa with 321 passing yards and two touchdowns and now owns every Rice career passing record. The only record Clement did not have - passing attempts - was finally set against Tulsa. Clement now has 1,124 attempts for his career, breaking Randy Hertel’s record of 1,121.
HE ALSO DROVE THE TEAM BUS
Rice sophomore WR/TE James Casey passed for a score against Tulsa, ran for a two-yard touchdown in the first quarter and caught a six-yard touchdown pass in the fourth. For the game, Casey caught nine passes for 120 yards, carried the ball 109 times for 31 yards and completed his lone pass attempt for a score. The game marked Casey’s third 100-yard receiving game of the year.
Casey, who was listed as the Owls’ starter at tight end, started the Tulsa game in the backfield at running back.He also had his first career punt return during the game. He returned a 40-yard punt one yard before being brought down.
PICKS FOR SIX
Rice leads college football with four interception returns for touchdown (by four different defenders, including two true freshmen) this season. Arnaud Gascon-Nadon and Christopher Douglas each returned interceptions for scores against North Texas last weekend. The four interception returns for scores are the most since the 1992 Owls returned four back, with those four returns being divided between three players. This season, Rice has scored 57 points off 15 turnovers.
TD TIGHT END
Houston’s Mark Hafner continues to lead all of the nation’s tight ends in touchdowns after grabbing his eighth scoring reception of the season at East Carolina on Sept. 27. Arkansas State’s David Johnson and Idaho State’s Eddie Williams are second with five. Hafner was named the National Tight End of the Week by the John Mackey Award on Sept. 17 for his three-touchdown performance against Air Force on Sept. 13. Hafner has caught a TD in five straight games.
When Houston hosts UAB on Thursday night, it will be the Cougars first home game since August 30, a span of 40 days. With its Air Force game being moved to Dallas due to Hurricane Ike, UH will face the second-longest span in the FBS this season without a home game. Only Georgia, which will go 42 days without a game in Athens, but has a neutral site game with Florida in Jacksonville in-between, has a longer span.
EAST CAROLINA PIRATES
East Carolina went into its bye week at 3-2 after suffering their second-straight loss, 41-24, to Houston Sept. 27. The Pirates totaled 275 total yards and played both Patrick Pinkney and Rob Cass at quarterback in the ballgame. Kass entered at halftime and directed a 70-yard scoring drive that ended with senior WR Brandon Simmons’ 4-yard scoring run that made it 21-17 with 6:02 left in the third. But that would be as close as ECU would get the rest of the ballgame. Pinkney finished 10-for-20 passing for 100 yards with one TD and one INT. He has now thrown at least one TD in his last six games. Kass completed 5-of-8 passes for 49 yards, including a 41-yard strike to sophomore WR Dwayne Harris. Junior WR Jamar Bryant extended his current streak to 19 games (dating back to 2006 Papajohns.com Bowl) with at least one catch on his 12-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter. It was his first catch of the afternoon, third TD reception of the season and ninth TD of his career.
The Cougars rolled up 621 yards of total offense in a 41-24 win at East Carolina Sept. 27. The victory was the first for UH over a ranked opponent since defeating then-No. 20 Southern Miss on Nov. 9, 1996 and the first on the road over a ranked for since winning at then-No. 3 Texas on Nov. 10, 1984. Sophomore QB Case Keenum threw for a career-high 399 yards on 36-of-44 passing with three touchdowns. Included was an 84-yard scoring strike to sophomore WR Kierrie Johnson, the ninth-longest pass play in school history. Johnson (4 catches for 104 yards) joined freshman WR Patrick Edwards (11 rec., 146 yds., 1 TD) in giving the Cougars a pair of 100-yard receivers as both players established new career highs for yardage. Keenum has now passed for more than 300 yards in six straight games, the first time that has occurred at UH since Jimmy Klinger did it during the 1992 season. Freshman Bryce Beall gave UH a 100-yard rusher with career high of 22 carries and 132 yards with two TDs. Senior TE Mark Hafner caught an 11-yard TD late in the second quarter to increase his streak of consecutive games with a TD reception to five.
MARSHALL THUNDERING HERD
The Thundering Herd fell to Cincinnati on Friday night, 33-10. Freshman QB Mark Cann finished just 17-of-36 for 178 yards and one touchdown, but threw three interceptions. Junior TE Cody Slate led the Herd receiving corps with seven receptions for 96 yards, including a 57-yard scoring play. Senior WR Darius Passmore added seven receptions for 47 yards. Senior RB Chubb Small led Marshall on the ground with seven rushes for 62 yards. Junior K Craig Ratanamorn connected on a career-long 50-yard field goal for Marshall’s first points. Junior LB Mario Harvey had a big day to lead the defense, making nine tackles, recording a pair of sacks and forcing a fumble. The Herd will have 15 days off before returning to action at UAB on October 18.
Freshman walk-on K Vinny Zaccario kicked a 25-yard field goal with two seconds left to give the Tigers a 33-30 win at UAB, their third straight victory. Junior Arkelon Hall became just the fifth quarterback in Memphis history to throw four touchdowns in a game, completing 18-of-28 passes for 209 yards. Senior WR Earnest Williams recorded the first multiple-touchdown game of his career, scoring the Tigers first two TDs on 20 and 30-yard receptions. Senior WR Carlos Singleton posted his second 100-yard game of the season, catching five passes for 123 yards, including his first TD reception of the season. He also moved up two spots into seventh place on the school’s all-time receiving yardage list with 1,589 yards. Junior WR Duke Calhoun extended his school-record receiving streak to 30 games, 11th-longest nationally. After rushing for just 13 yards in the first half, Memphis finished the game with 192 yards on the ground. Junior RB Curtis Steele posted his third straight 100-yard game, carrying 14 times for 101 yards.
The Owls fell at Tulsa on Saturday night, 63-28, evening their overall record at 3-3 while suffering their first C-USA loss of the season. Senior WR Jarett Dillard caught a 25-yard touchdown in the second quarter to break the NCAA’s all-time record. He now has 51 career scoring receptions, breaking the record set by Troy Edwards of Louisiana Tech in 1998. Dillard finished the night with seven receptions for 142 yards, his fourth straight 100-yard game. Junior TE James Casey had nine receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown, his third 100-yard game of the season. Senior QB Chase Clement topped the 300-yard passing mark for the second time this season, completing 22-of-42 passes for 321 yards and two TDs. Junior WR Toren Dixon caught a career-high seven passes for 69 yards. Senior LB Brian Raines returned to action after missing three games with an injury and posted seven tackles. After entering the game a +9 in turnover margin on the season, the Owls lost the ball four times.
The Mustangs were tied 10-10 at the half, before falling at UCF on Saturday, 31-17. Sophomore WR Aldrick Robinson provided the top highlight for SMU with a 94-yard touchdown reception, the second-longest pass play in school history. Robinson finished the game with 10 catches for 210 yards, just three yards shy of the SMU record for receiving yardage in a game. Junior WR Emmanuel Sanders had five receptions for 51 yards to give him 612 yards on the season. He is the first Mustang to ever have three 600-yard seasons. True freshman QB Bo Levi Mitchell had his second 300-yard game, completing 29-of-45 for 351 yards and a TD. Senior RB Andrew McKinney made his first career start and scored his first collegiate touchdown on a one-yard run in the first quarter. For the second straight week, sophomore LB Justin Smart tied his career high with 12 tackles.
SOUTHERN MISS GOLDEN EAGLES
The Golden Eagles dropped their second straight Conference USA game at home, losing in double-overtime to UTEP, 40-37. The loss dampened a career-best performance by junior RB Damion Fletcher, who carried 34 times for a career-high 260 yards and a touchdown. It was his school-record 18th 100-yard game as he became the all-time leading rusher in Southern Miss history with 3,654 yards. Fletcher has a pair of 200-yard rushing games on the season (222 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette in the season opener) and has run for 471 yards in two career games against UTEP. Freshman QB Austin Davis was 21-of-37 for 264 yards and two TDs, as he became the first freshman in school history to have five 200-yard passing games in a season. Freshman WR DeAndre Brown caught eight passes for a career-high 110 yards and a touchdown. Senior TE Shawn Nelson caught seven passes for 57 yards and moved into fourth place on the school’s touchdown reception list with his 16th career scoring catch.
TULANE GREEN WAVE
The Green Wave dropped their homecoming contest against Army on Saturday, 44-13, Tulane’s first loss to an unranked opponent this season. The game was played at Tad Gormley Stadium in City Park in front of a near sell-out crowd of 23,749. Junior RB Andre Anderson ran for more than 100 yards for the third straight game, carrying 21 times for 107 yards and a touchdown. He also led the team in receiving with six catches for 59 yards. Sophomore QB Kevin Moore completed 22-of-35 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted twice. Tulane’s defense entered the game ranked second in the nation in third down defense and allowed Army to convert just three of nine attempts, making their season total 13-of-55 (24%). After holding each of its first four opponents to less than 100 yards rushing, Tulane surrendered 293 yards on the ground to Army.
TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE
The Golden Hurricane became the first C-USA team in four years to start a season 5-0 after defeating West Division rival Rice on Saturday, 63-28. Tulsa led 21-14 at halftime before exploding for six second half touchdowns in moving to 5-0 for the first time since 1945. Senior QB David Johnson threw four more touchdowns, raising his season total to 23, while completing 13-of-25 passes for 177 yards. Senior RB Tarrion Adams led a Golden Hurricane ground attack that produced a season-high 386 yards by carrying 23 times for 112 yards. It was his second straight 100-yard game as he moved into fifth place on TU’s all-time rushing list with 2,465 yards. Freshman RB Charles Opeseyitian ran 10 times for 94 yards and a score, while sophomore A.J. Whitmore added 83 yards on just five carries, while rushing for two TDs. Tulsa topped the 60-point barrier for the second straight week and is averaging 54.0 points per game. The Golden Hurricane has scored more than 50 points in four straight games for the first time since the 1919 season.
The Blazers lost to Memphis in the closing seconds on Thursday night, 33-30. Junior QB Joe Webb had another outstanding night, rushing 18 times for for 93 yards and completing 14-of-25 passes for 235 yards. He had scoring runs of 9, 12 and 10 yards, while throwing a 16-yard scoring strike to sophomore WR Mike Jones, his first collegiate touchdown reception. Webb broke the UAB single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback early in the game. He now has 516 rushing yards through six games and is only 183 away from tying the Conference USA record by QB rushing yards in a season. Junior RB Rashaud Slaughter carried 13 times for 95 yards. Senior K Swayze Waters booted an 18-yard field goal in the first quarter to move into a tie for second on UAB’s all-time field goals made list with 39. True freshman S Chase Daniel set a new career high with 10 tackles, while adding a pass breakup.
The Knights posted their first C-USA win of the season on Saturday, defeating SMU, 31-17. The win was UCF’s eighth in the last nine games at Bright House Networks Stadium (6-0 vs. C-USA teams) and the four touchdowns were the most for the Knights since last year’s C-USA Championship Game win. Freshman RB Ronnie Weaver carried 25 times for a career-high 123 yards and scored his first collegiate touchdown to lead the UCF offense. True freshman QB Rob Calabrese played the first half, going 5-of-9 for 32 yards, while Michael Greco played the second half, completing 4-of-8 passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Senior CB Joe Burnett’s second quarter interception was the 14th of his career, breaking the school record. He ranks second among active NCAA players in interceptions. Senior DB Sha’reff Rashad also had an interception, the 10th of his career, giving UCF three players with 10 or more career INTs (senior DB Johnell Neal with 10).
Sophomore QB Trevor Vittatoe threw four touchdown passes, including the game-winner in overtime, as UTEP defeated Southern Miss, 40-37 in double-overtime on Saturday night in Hattiesburg. Vittatoe completed 25 of 43 pass attempts for 266 yards to lead the Miners to their second straight win in Conference USA play. Both of sophomore WR Kris Adams’ receptions went for touchdowns, including the game-winning seven-yard catch in double-overtime. Eleven different UTEP players caught a pass, with junior WR Jeff Moturi leading the way with five receptions for 36 yards. Sophomore RB Donald Buckram’s rushing TD in the second quarter was the first of his career. He did reach the end zone off an 80-yard pass from Jordan Palmer at UAB in 2006. UTEP is 2-0 in C-USA play for the third straight year. That is the first time they have won their opening two conference games three years in a row since 1948-50.