Nov. 12, 2012
East Division leading UCF travels to West Divison leader Tulsa in the game of the week on November 17 in Conference USA Football (11 a.m. CST on FSN). It marks the latest that two division leaders have met in the season since the league moved to divisional play in 2005. It also continues a trend of winning football for these programs over the past eight seasons, as Tulsa has the best C-USA record in the West and UCF is tied for the top C-USA mark in the East.
CSS will air of doubleader of games that are crucial to all four teams and their bowl possibilities. Houston is at Marshall (11 a.m. CST) to open the action, followed by SMU at Rice (2:30 p.m. CST).
East Carolina has already secured bowl-eligibility and the Pirates will seek win number seven at Tulane (2:30 p.m. CST on CST and WITN). UTEP will visit Southern Miss (7 p.m. CST on CBS Sports Network) and Memphis is at UAB (1 p.m. CST on the C-USA Digital Network).
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
DARRIN REAVES, UAB
Sophomore, RB, Pinson, Ala.
Reaves turned in his third straight stellar game as he rushed for 184 yards on 32 attempts with a pair of touchdowns in UAB's 38-31 victory over Marshall. Reaves, who had 124 yards on the ground in the second half, also had a game-high six receptions for 37 yards to total 221 all-purpose yards. In the past three games, Reaves has run for 573 yards (191.0 avg.) and seven touchdowns. His two rushing TDs Saturday increase his total to 13 for the season and also set a UAB record for a single-season.
CORY DORRIS, TULSA
Senior, DE, Jenks, Okla.
In a 41-7 road victory at Houston, Dorris came up big for the Golden Hurricane defense in shutting down one of the nation's top passing offenses. He registered six tackles, two of which were quarterback sacks that totaled 16 yards of lost yardage. He was on the receiving end of two of Houston's four turnovers. Dorris recovered Houston's lone fumble and intercepted his first career pass, which he returned 22 yards for a touchdown.
JACKIE WILLIAMS, UAB
Junior, WR, Prichard, Ala.
Williams returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown for UAB's first score and to get the Blazers off and running as they built a 31-7 lead on their way to a 38-31 victory over visiting Marshall. Williams improved his season average 10.23 yards per return to rank No. 27 in the country.
UCF at TULSA
A showdown of the two unbeaten teams in Conference USA will take place this Saturday when UCF visits Tulsa. Both teams will enter the game at 6-0 in league play, marking the latest in the season that the two division leaders have faced each other and the latest that two division leaders have met without a conference loss. Only six times in league history has a team finished the regular season unbeaten: Houston in 2011, Louisville in 2004, Southern Miss in 2003, Southern Miss in 1999, Tulane in 1998 and Southern Miss in 1997.
A UCF victory will allow the Knights to clinch the East Division title and host the C-USA Championship Game on Sat., Dec. 1. A Tulsa victory will secure the West Division crown for the Golden Hurricane and will guarantee them hosting the championship game if East Carolina loses at Tulane on Saturday.
EAST CAROLINA PIRATES
East Carolina became bowl-eligible for the sixth time in the past seven seasons with a 48-28 win over Houston on Nov. 3. Sophomore QB Shane Carden threw for 305 yards four touchdowns, establishing career highs with 31 completions and 43 attempts. In the last five games, he has completed 42-of-53 (79.4%) passes for 569 yards and five touchdowns in first-quarter action alone. In the last four contests, has completed 62-of-82 (75.6%) for 780 yards and seven TDs in first half play. Three of his TD passes went to sophomore WR Danny Webster, who entered the game with one career score. Junior RB Vintavious Cooper rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown, his third straight game topping the 100-yard mark. His three straight plus 100 yard rushing games is the first for an ECU back since Marvin Townes did the feat in 2003.
Houston dropped a 41-7 decision to Tulsa Saturday. Sophomore QB David Piland was 15-of-32 for 148 yards, while sophomore RB Kenneth Farrow received the majority of the carries in Charles Sims' absence, rushing for 54 yards on 15 carries. Eight different Houston receivers caught a pass, led by freshman Deontay Greenberry's five receptions for 49 yards. Fellow freshman RB Ryan Jackson also hauled in two catches and his first receiving touchdown midway through the fourth quarter for the Cougars' lone points. Senior LB Everett Daniels led four Cougars with double-digit tackles with a career-high 18, including a sack. With junior DB Zach McMillian's interception in the first quarter, Houston has now recorded a pick in the last six games.
MARSHALL THUNDERING HERD
The Thundering Herd fell at UAB Saturday, 38-31. Sophomore QB Rakeem Cato continued to make his mark on the Herd record books with a 25-for-34 effort pasing. He is now the single season leader among Marshall quarterbacks for completed passes with 343. Cato added 216 yards to move to number six on Marshall's single season passing yards list with 3,506. The sophomore also threw two touchdowns. Junior TE Gator Hoskins scored for the third straight game, reeling in his 10th TD of the season. Freshman RB Kevin Grooms finished with 16 carries for 75 yards (4.7 ypc.) and one touchdown. MU's defense was able to force four turnovers in the contest, including a season high three interceptions. The last time Marshall picked off three passes was at home last season against UAB. Sophomore LB Jermaine Holmes finished with 12 tackles (seven solo), including a tackle for loss, forced fumble, interception and pass breakup.
The Tigers won for the seventh straight time over Tulane, 37-23, Saturday night. Memphis was helped by four interceptions, its highest total since recording four INTs vs. East Carolina in 2004. the Tigers entered the game with just three interceptions on the season. Sophomore QB Jacob Karam completed 14-of-18 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns, a 52-yard scoring strike and a 44-yard pass play. Junior RB Jai Steib had a one yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter, his third score in the last two games. Junior DL Corey Jones had seven tackles, 1.5 quarterback sacks and two tackles for loss to either tie or set new career standards in all three statistical categories. Junior P Tom Hornsey averaged 52.7 yards on three punts with a pair of punts from inside the Memphis 20 which were downed at the Tulane 37 and 23 (52 and 45 yard punts, respectively). He also had a 61 yard punt in the game.
The Owls won a wild one at Tulane Nov. 3, 49-47. Rice ran for six touchdowns, with junior QB Taylor McHargue and freshman RB Luke Turner each running for a pair of scores. McHargue passed for 259 yards onn just 12 completions and added 60 yards on 19 rushing attempts. Junior RB Charles Ross ran 20 times for a team-best 95 yards and caught a pair of passes for 40 yards. Senior CB Phillip Gaines set a school record with his 17th career pass breakup. He also thwarted the Green Wave's attempt to tie the game in the final minute when he knocked down a two-point conversion attempt. Rice's defense held the Green Wave to zero yards rushing, setting a school record in the process. The previous low for rushing yards allowed was three by Houston in 1991.
The Mustangs evened their record at 5-5 with a 34-6 win over Southern Miss Saturday. Junior QB Garrett Gilbert ran for two touchdowns for the third consecutive game, while throwing for another and accounting for 343 total yards (249 passing, career-high 94 rushing). Senior RB Zach Line fell just short of another 100-yard game for the second straight week, gaining 92 yards on 22 carries along with his 41st career rushing TD. Line became just the second player in SMU history and fourth in C-USA annals to run for 1,000 yards in three different seasons. Sophomore WR Der'rick Thompson had a career-best eight catches for 66 yards and a SMU season-long 49-yard kickoff return.
SOUTHERN MISS GOLDEN EAGLES
Southern Miss fell at SMU, 34-6 Saturday. Senior DE Jamie Collins continued his stellar senior season by tallying a team-high seven tackles which included two tackles for loss against SMU. Collins also added his fourth forced fumble this season, which ranks tied for third on the school's single-season chart and tied for fifth on the career chart. It is the third consecutive season a Golden Eagle has forced four fumbles, as Cordarro Law did it during both the 2010 and 2011 campaigns. Collins also leads the team with 18 tackles for loss and nine sacks. Junior QB Chris Campbell made his first appearance since the Western Kentucky contest (Sept. 22) and threw the team's first TD pass since that game, an 18-yard strike to junior WR Dominique Sullivan. Campbell, though, left the game with an injury in the second quarter. Junior DB Jerrion Johnson blocked a fourth-quarter field goal, marking the first block of his career. It was the fifth block of an opponent this year for the Golden Eagles, which includes three extra points, a punt and now a field goal.
TULANE GREEN WAVE
The Green Wave lost at Memphis Saturday, 37-23. Sophomore WR Ryan Grant registered his fourth consecutive 100-yard receiving game, catching a career-high 11 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. Junior place kicker and Lou Groza semifinalist Cairo Santos remained perfect on the year with a career-high three field goals (45, 43, 30). For the season, Santos is a perfect 17-of-17 with an 11-of-11 clip from 40-plus yards and a 2-of-2 effort from beyond 50. Freshman CB Lorenzo Doss picked off his fourth interception of the season in the second quarter. Freshman CB Darian Monroe had two fumble recoveries, including returning his second one 54 yards for a touchdown. His first recovery was returned 38 yards. Junior LB Zach Davis collected a game-high 11 tackles and sophomore S Sam Scofield added 10 stops.
TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE
Tulsa won at Houston on Saturday, 41-7, to remain undefeated in C-USA play. The Golden Hurricane has now won 18 of its last 19 league games, dating back to Oct., 2010. Tulsa is 8-2 for the first time since the 2008 campaign. The Hurricane defense forced four turnovers, while the offense compiled 505 yards as TU rushed for 350 yards and passed for another 155 yards. A balanced rushing attack was led by junior RB Ja'Terian Douglas' 87 yards, followed by senior RB Alex Singleton with 79 and freshman RB Zack Langer. Singleton added a pair of one-yard TD runs to give him 18 rushing scores on the season and 37 in his career. Tulsa's defense forced a season-high four turnovers, including a season-high three interceptions and one fumble. Senior DL Cory Dorris returned one interception 22 yards for a touchdown.
The Blazers won their second straight game saturday, defeating Marshall, 38-31. Senior RB Darrin Reaves ran for 184 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 573 yards in his last three outings. He has a UAB single-season record 13 touchdowns, all in the last seven games. Reaves now has 928 yards on the season, the fourth-highest single-season total in UAB history. Junior WR Jackie Williams, who extended his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 33, also returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter to mark the first Blazer punt return for a score since Nov. 24, 2007 when Kevin Sanders went 58 yards for a touchdown, also against Marshall.
UCF ran its winning streak to six straight with a 31-24 victory at UTEP. Senior RB Latavious Murray ran for 117 yards on 23 carries, including the game-winning 46-yard touchdown with 5:25 to play. Murray's streak of consecutive 100-yard rushing games reached four, which is tied for the fourth-longest streak in UCF history. Sophomore QB Blake Bortles went over 3,000 yards for his career and 2,000 on the season thanks to going 16-of-27 for 214 yards and a TD. On the ground, Bortles was the second-leading rusher on the night with 39 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. Senior S Kemal Ishmael recorded 10 tackles, giving him 327 for his career. That moves him past Jason Venson (322 from 2005-08) for the most career tackles by a UCF defensive back. Ishmael also sits in sixth place on the UCF all-time list for tackles.
The Miners dropped a 31-24 decision to UCF Saturday. Sophomore RB Nathan Jeffery registered his second straight 100-yard game (fourth of the season) with 175 rushing yards on 22 carries. He also ran for two scores, his second straight multiple-TD game. Freshman QB Blaire Sullivan made his first start, rushing for 74 yards and a touchdown. His 23 rush attempts were the most by a Miner quarterback since Kevin Ward had 32 vs. Weber State in 1983. Senior LB Josh Fely (10 tackles) registered double-digit stops for the fourth straight game and the fifth time in the last six contests. UTEP has recovered a fumble in four straight games for the first time since 2007.