Nov. 6, 2012
A showdown between Tulsa and Houston, the teams that have won six of the seven West Division championships, highlights the November 10 action in Conference USA football. The Golden Hurricane and Cougars are the two winningest programs since the league's realignment in 2005 and the winner of Saturday's showdown (4 p.m. CST on CBS Sports Network) could have the upper-hand for another possible trip to the C-USA Championship Game. Tulsa junior QB Cody Green has a tremendous developing target to throw to in sophomore WR Keyarris Garrett. Over the last two games, Garrett has posted career-bests in yards (118 vs. Rice) and receptions (12 at Arkansas), raising his season totals to 40 catches for 537 yards and five TDs. With senior LB Phillip Steward's second-quarter interception last week at East Carolina, the Houston defense has picked off opposing quarterbacks in five straight games. Steward continues to have an outstanding season, leading the league in tackles for loss (9) and forced fumbles (4), while placing fifth in total tackles with 91. James Bates, Aaron Taylor and Lauren Gardner will call the action at Robertson Stadium.
Marshall will look to take another step down the road to bowl-eligibility when it travels to Birmingham to play an improving UAB team (3:30 p.m. CST on CSS). The Thundering Herd's wide-open offensive attack has produced 17 different players that have scored touchdowns, but none with more than junior TE Gator Hoskins. In last week's win over Memphis, Hoskins grabbed his ninth scoring catch of the year to tie the Herd single-season record for a tight end, shared by Sean Doctor (1987) and Mike Bartrum (1992). UAB sophomore RB Darrin Reaves has run for 389 yards in the last two outings after registering the top rushing performance in Conference USA this season with 223 yards in the Blazers win at Southern Miss last Saturday. With two touchdowns, he increased his season rushing TD total to 11, tying the UAB mark for rushing scores in a season. Matt Stewart, Chuck Oliver and Rachel Baribeau will be on the call.
UCF will put its five-game winning streak on the line when it travels to El Paso to face UTEP (5 p.m. MST on Fox College Sports). The Knights currently leads C-USA in scoring defense (21.4 points per game), total defense (354.2 per game), passing defense (213.0) and passing efficiency defense (113.3). In C-USA games only, UCF has scored the most points (209) while giving up the fewest points (102) among all 12 teams. The Miners have produced more than 400 yards of total offense in their last three games, the first time they have achieved the feat since the first three games of the 2010 season. Senior WR Michael Edwards has caught a pair of touchdowns in each of the last two games and three times this season. Mike Gleason and Ben Leber will be in the booth and Lesley McCaslin on the sideline at the Sun Bowl.
SMU will host Southern Miss Saturday night in Dallas (6 p.m. CST on FSN). Since the start of the 2009 season, the Mustangs are 13-1 in C-USA games played at Ford Stadium and SMU will need this one as it hopes to go to a bowl game for the fourth straight season. Mustangs senior RB Zach Line needs just 60 rushing yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the third consecutive season. The Southern Miss defense is led by senior DL Jamie Collins who is tied for the league lead in both sacks (9) and tackles for loss (16), while registering 73 total tackles and three forced fumbles. Joel Meyers, Gary Reasons and Desmond Purnell will be on hand to call this one.
Tulane will visit Memphis on Saturday night (6 p.m. CST on the C-USA Digital Network). Green Wave senior QB Ryan Griffin has set the school's single-game passing yardage in each of the last two games, throwing for 476 yards against Rice last week. With six catches at Marshall last week, senior WR Marcus Rucker passed Ryan Scott and former NFL Pro Bowler Isaac Bruce for a tie for fifth on the all-time list for pass receptions list with Russell Copeland (1989-92).