Oct. 9, 2012
A West Division showdown on Thursday night opens the week of play in Conference USA when UTEP visits Tulsa (7 p.m. CDT on FSN). The Golden Hurricane have won five straight games and are looking to improve to 4-0 in C-USA play. TU junior RB Trey Watts continues to make his mark on special teams and offense. In last week's win at Marshall, he had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and carried 18 times for 111 yards. He leads C-USA in all-purpose yards at 170.0 per game. UTEP sophomore WR Jordan Leslie continues to impress, tying his career-high with seven receptions for 80 yards last week vs. SMU. He has compiled 369 receiving yards in 2012, averaging 13.7 yards per catch and 61.5 yards per contest. Mike Morgan, JC Pearson and Laura McKeeman will call the action.
Houston looks to make it three wins in a row when it hosts a UAB team that is coming off its most convincing victory in years, a 52-3 win over Southeastern Louisiana (11 a.m. CDT on FSN). UH junior RB Charles Sims is looking for his third straight game over 100 yards rushing after eclipsing the century mark in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. The combined 368 yards he ran for against Rice and North Texas is the third-highest two-game total in Cougars' history. UAB redshirt-freshman quarterback Austin Brown has made two starts and now ranks 24th nationally in passing efficiency with a rating of 153.57. Ron Thulin, Shaun King and Desmond Purnell will be on hand at Robertson Stadium to announce.
SMU makes a trip to New Orleans to face Tulane (Noon CDT on CSS/CSN Houston). The Mustangs are looking for their fourth-straight 2-0 Conference USA start and the SMU defense enters the game on the heels of two solid performances, allowing just three points over the last six quarters, including a 17-0 shutout at UTEP last week. Tulane junior K Cairo Santos connected on a pair of field goals last week, hitting from 47 and 40 yards. For the season, Santos is a perfect 6-of-6, including a 5-of-5 showing from 40-plus yards. Dave Raymond, ND Kalu and Leila Rahimi will be at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to describe the action.
Future Conference USA member UTSA plays its first-ever game against a C-USA school when it makes the three-hour trek to Houston to face Rice (2:30 p.m. CDT on Fox College Sports). Playing its first season at the FBS level and just the second season of football, UTSA remains one of 16 undefeated teams, posting a 5-0 record. Rice will honor the 1957 Cotton Bowl team by wearing throwback uniforms from that season in the game. The Owls rank third in Conference USA in rushing, averaging 181.2 yards on the ground with nine rushing TDs and will be going against a UTSA defense that is allowing just 61.2 yards rushing per game. Adam Alexander, Dave Lapham and Lesley McCaslin will be the announcing team at Rice Stadium.
East Carolina hosts Memphis at 4:30 p.m. EDT on CSS and WITN. In recent years when the Tigers and Pirates have played, the scoreboards have lit up. Since 2003 (nine games), the winner of the Memphis-East Carolina encounter scored 30 or more points eight times. But, the losing team's offense didn't disappoint either, scoring 24 or more points five times. Matt Stewart and Chuck Oliver will be in the booth and Rachel Baribeau on the sidelines for this one.
Southern Miss and UCF meet Saturday night in Orlando (8 p.m. EDT on CBS Sports Network). The Golden Eagles are 6-1 all-time against the Knights, 3-0 in Orlando and have won four-straight games in the series. Led by sophomore QB Blake Bortles, UCF already has 12 TDs through the air in 2012 and the Knights are on pace to rack up 29 passing touchdowns during the regular season, which would rank second in school history. Southern Miss senior RB Desmond Johnson registered the team's first 100-yard rushing performance of the season with a career-best 116 yards on the ground against Boise State last Saturday. James Bates, Aaron Taylor and Lauren Gardner will be on hand to call the action.