Oct. 29, 2012
An important final non-conference game and five league games comprise the Conference USA football schedule the first Saturday of November.
Red-hot Tulsa, winners of seven straight, returns from its bye week to make the short trip east to face SEC member Arkansas (11:20 a.m. CDT on the SEC Network). Houston and East Carolina, two of the most successful C-USA programs in recent years, square off in Greenville (Noon EDT on FSN). SMU will visit UCF (7 p.m. EDT on CBS Sports Network) and UAB is at Southern Miss (6:30 p.m. CDT) in the other two televised games. Rounding out the action is Memphis at Marshall (2 p.m. EDT) and Rice at Tulane (2:30 p.m. CDT).
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
RYAN GRIFFIN, TULANE
Senior, QB, Westlake Village, Calif.
Griffin threw for a school-record 466 yards and tallied a career-high five touchdown passes as Tulane defeated UAB, 55-45. Completing 34-of-42 passes, Griffin eclipsed the previous mark of 447 established by Patrick Ramsey against Army on Sept. 18, 1999. Griffin threw for 271 yards and four touchdown passes in the first half and added 195 yards and one score in the second half. Griffin's record-setting effort highlighted a game that saw Tulane pile up 619 yards of total offense - the most by a Green Wave squad since the 1998 team rolled up 633 in the regular-season finale against Louisiana Tech.
D.J. HAYDEN, HOUSTON
Senior, DB, Houston, Texas
Hayden picked off two passes, including one that he returned 97 yards for a touchdown, in Houston's 45-35 win over UTEP. One week after recording a pick-six against SMU, Hayden ended a pivotal UTEP drive with his 97-yard return to put Houston up 28-7. The return was Hayden's second pick of the game after he ended UTEP's third drive on just one play, picking off a pass on Houston's 39-yard line. Hayden also finished with four tackles and one pass break up.
QUINCY McDUFFIE, UCF
Senior, KR, Orlando, Fla.
McDuffie tied an NCAA record and became the first player in C-USA and UCF history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in a single game during UCF's 54-17 win at Marshall. The senior had returns of 98 and 97 yards, and they both came at important points of the game. After Marshall got on the board at 3-0 in the first quarter, McDuffie returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards to give UCF the lead. The Herd then scored right before halftime to capture some momentum and trim the Knights' lead to 27-10, but McDuffie opened the second half with a 98-yard return for six points and UCF never looked back.
EAST CAROLINA PIRATES
East Carolina dropped a 56-28 decision to Navy in the rain Saturday. Sophomore WR Justin Hardy pulled in five catches for 31 yards and a score. Hardy is ninth on the school's all-time receptions list with 121 and with 15 TD receptions and he needs one more to tie Walter Wilson (1986-89) for fourth on the career chart. Hardy has caught a TD pass in eight of the Pirates' nine games this season. Senior RB Reggie Bullock's TD run in the second quarter was his first since scoring against the Midshipmen last October. Junior RB Vintavious Cooper rushed for 121 yards against Navy to push his season total to 751. It was his third 100-yard rushing game in his last five outings. Senior WR Andrew Bodenheimer extended his streak of games with a reception to 28 straight, a run that began during the 2010 season. Junior S Damon Magazu led the defense with 12 tackles.
Houston defeated UTEP on Saturday, 45-35. Five of the Cougars six offensive scoring drives came under two minutes, with two of the five coming under 16 seconds. Junior RB Charles Sims ran 12 times for 119 yards and three TDs. It was the fifth time this season that Sims has scored multiple touchdowns. Sophomore QB David Piland passed for just 174 yards, but it was enough to make him the eighth player in UH history to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a career (now 5,079). Senior DB D.J. Hayden recorded two interceptions, returning an INT for a touchdown for the second straight game. The 97-yard interception return for a score was the second-longest return in school history, three yards shy of Frank Ditta's 100-yard return back in 1971. Houston forced UTEP into six turnovers. The last time the Cougars forced an opponent into at least six turnovers was Nov. 26, 2005 in a 35-18 win over Rice.
MARSHALL THUNDERING HERD
The Thundering Herd fell to UCF Saturday night, 54-17. Sophomore QB Rakeem Cato finished 35-of-62 for 298 yards and two touchdowns. His 23 TDs this season are 12th on the school's single-season list and 38 in a career rank him in an eighth-place tie with Stan Hill (2001-04). Cato hit 11 different targets during the night, led by sophomore WR Tommy Shuler with eight catches for 77 yards. Shuler's 77 receptions are the most for a Herd player since Davis caught 86 as a senior in 2004. Junior TE Gator Hoskins grabbed his eighth scoring catch of the season, one shy of the Herd record for a tight end, shared by Sean Doctor (1987) and Mike Bartrum (1992). Marshall's defense forced three turnovers, including two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
The Tigers lost at SMU Saturday, 44-13. Sophomore DE Martin Ifedi had a team-high seven tackles, including four TFL's, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Over his last four games he has registered seven sacks. Junior RB Brandon Hayes led the Tigers in rushing with 55 yards on nine attempts with the team's only touchdown, a 36-yard run that tied as the longest run by a Memphis player this season. Junior P Tom Hornsey, who was announced as one of 69 nominees for the Ray Guy Award the previous day, had 334 punting yards. Hornsey entered the game with 9,200 yards and with his tally against the Mustangs moved him past Hugh Owens for second on the Memphis all-time list with 9,534.
The Owls posted a 44-17 win over Southern Miss Saturday, Rice's ninth win in its last 12 home games. Junior RB Turner Petersen rushed for a season-high 136 yards and one touchdown and added a second score on an 38 yards pass from freshman QB Driphus Jackson. His effort pushed his career total to 1,045 yards, making him the third current Owl to have rushed for over 1,000 yards in his career.,The Owls defensive unit added six points of their own while forcing five turnovers and recording 10 tackles for loss to give Rice its most decisive Conference USA win since the Owls defeated SMU, 56-27, in the opening game of the 2008 season. Junior S Paul Porras had a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown, Rice's first pick six since the North Texas game in 2008. Sophomore S Gabe Baker, in his second career start, finished with a career-high nine tackles to lead the Rice defensive effort.
The Mustangs improved to 3-1 in C-USA play with a 44-13 win over Memphis. SMU outgained the Tigers, 487 yards to 202 and held Memphis to nine first downs. Junior QB Garrett Gilbert completed 25-of-35 passes for 353 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a pair of scores. Senior RB Zach Line posted his 20th career 100-yard game, carrying 23 times for 127 yards and a TD. The Mustangs ran for a season-best four scores. Senior WR Darius Johnson grabbed nine passes for a season-high141 yards, while junior WR Jeremy Johnson added six catches for 66 yards. Senior LB Taylor Reed had a team-high six tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and his fourth sack of the season.
SOUTHERN MISS GOLDEN EAGLES
Southern Miss fell at Rice Saturday, 44-17. The Golden Eagles became the first FBS team to start four different quarterbacks this season when sophomore Arsenio Favor made his first career start. He passed for 180 yards, the most by a USM QB this season. Senior WR Tracy Lampley registered the team's first 100-yard receiving game of the season, tallying four catches for 101 yards. It was Lampley's fourth career 100-plus receiving game. Senior DE Jamie Collins tallied his third double-digit tackle performance with 12 stops (nine solos) to go along with one sack for 13 yards and two TFLs for a total of 17 yards. He also forced his first fumble of the season. For the second consecutive week, sophomore K Corey Acosta made a field goal of at least 50 yards. He tallied a 50-yard attempt against Rice.
TULANE GREEN WAVE
The Green Wave won their second straight home game, downing UAB, 55-45. Senior QB Ryan Griffin was 34-of-42 for a school-record 466 yards and a career-high five touchdowns. Sophomore WR Xavier Rush and junior WR Ryan Grant both surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark with 126 on eight catches and 184 on six grabs, respectively, and both pulled down a pair of TD passes. Junior WR Wilson Van Hooser accounted for Griffin's final scoring strike of the afternoon with a 16-yard grab. Sophomore RB Rob Kelley led all players with nine catches for a career-best 66 yards and ran for 59 yards to finish with 124 all-purpose yards. The Wave finished the day with a season-best 153 yards on 37 carries. Junior RB Orleans Darkwa led the way with 74 yards and two touchdowns on 20 attempts. Tulane tallied four turnovers - including a pair of interceptions by freshman CB Lorenzo Doss.
TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE
The Golden Hurricane improved to 5-0 in C-USA play with a 28-24 win over Rice Oct. 20. Junior RB Ja'Terian Douglas carried 17 times for 169 yards. He set up the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter with a 75-yard run. Senior RB Alex Singleton became the school's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with two scores on the day, giving him 36 in his career. It was his sixth multiple-touchdown game this season and the 11th of his career. Sophomore WR Keyarris Garrett topped the 100-yard mark on just three catches, piling up 118 yards and scoring on a 46-yard reception. The Tulsa offense played without starting QB Cody Green (shoulder) and junior RB Trey Watts (ankle). Senior DB Dexter McCoil tied for the team lead in tackles with 13 and added to his school record for career interceptions with his 15th career pick.
The Blazers dropped a wild game at Tulane Saturday, 55-45. Redshirt freshman QB Austin Brown passed for a career-high 409 yards, completing 26-of-52 attempts. He has made a completion of 50-plus yards in all five of his starts this season after throwing a 63-yard pass to junior WR Jackie Williams in the second quarter. Brown also threw for three touchdowns, marking the third time this year has thrown for three scores. Senior RB Darrin Reaves ran 21 times for a career-high 166 yards and three touchdowns. He has nine touchdowns over the last five games. Senior LB Marvin Burdette set a school record for tackles in a game, recording 24 stops. The previous record was 21 by Josh Evans, who set the record vs. Tennessee Wesleyan Sept. 26, 1992. He has collected 17 or more stops in three straight games.
UCF won at Marshall, 54-17 Saturday. Senior RB Latavious Murray accounted for four touchdowns for the first time in his career as he had three rushing scores (one shy of the UCF record), and finished with 156 yards on just 16 carries for a 9.8 average. He also had two receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown. It was the first time Murray has posted back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. Sophomore QB Blake Bortles threw for a career-high 277 yards on 15-of-21 passing with two touchdowns. With 568 total yards vs. Marshall, UCF racked up its most yards of total offense since 601 vs. Memphis Sept. 22, 2007. It was the second-most total yards under head coach George O'Leary (since 2004). The Knights had five scoring drives of at least 75 yards, including the final UCF drive - a 15-play, 99-yard, 10:10 drive, culminating in senior RB Brynn Harvey's 21-yard TD run.
The Miners fell at Houston, 45-35. Senior WR Michael Edwards registerd his second straight game with two TD catches and his third multiple-score game of the seaseason. He had six receptions for 55 yards, while sophomore WR Jordan Leslie had four grabs for a team-high 95 yards and a score. Sophomore WR Jim Jones completed a pair of pass attempts for 78 yards, including a 45-yard TD to Leslie. Sophomore RB Nathan Jeffery registered his third 100-yard game of the season with 137 rushing yards and had his first career multiple-TD game. The Miners had more than 400 yards of total offense for the third consecutive game, the first time they have achieved the feat since the first three games of the 2010 season.