Nov. 26, 2012
West Division champion Tulsa will host the 2012 Conference USA Football Championship Game against East Division champion UCF on Saturday, December 1 at H.A. Chapman Stadium. The Golden Hurricane (7-1 in C-USA play, 9-3 overall) will face the Knights (7-1 in C-USA play, 9-3 overall) for the second time in three weeks after Tulsa posted a 23-21 win over UCF on November 17. The 2012 C-USA Championship Game will be televised live on ESPN 2, beginning at Noon EST/11 a.m. CST.
TITLE GAME APPEARANCES
UCF and Tulsa are each making their fourth appearances in the C-USA title game, the most of any school in the league. Houston is second with three. Since C-USA began its championship game in 2005, only Virginia Tech (5 in the ACC) has made more conference championship game appearances than the Knights and Golden Hurricane.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
SHANE CARDEN, EAST CAROLINA
Sophomore, QB, Houston, Texas
Carden accounted for six of ECU's nine TDs and established a school single-game record 439 passing yards to lift the Pirates to a 65-59 double-OT victory over Marshall. He completed 38-of-47 passes for a completion percentage of 80.6, the third-highest single-game clip in ECU history and tossed three TD passes, including a six-yarder with 0:04 remaining to force overtime and a 25-yarder in the first overtime period. He rushed for a career-high three touchdowns, including the game-winner from one yard out in the second overtime period.
Ja'GARED DAVIS, SMU
Senior, LB, Crockett, Texas
Davis did a little bit of everything in leading SMU to a 35-27 victory over Tulsa that made the school bowl eligible for a school-record fourth consecutive season. The linebacker blocked a punt to set up the game's first score and then forced and recovered a fumble to set up the second touchdown. Davis followed that by intercepting a pass to set up SMU's third TD drive. He finished with seven tackles and two-and-a-half tackles for loss.
JEREMY EDDINGTON, RICE
Junior, KR, Paris, Texas
Eddington gouged the nation's top kickoff return defense for 210 yards on four returns and broke the nation's longest drought without a kickoff return for a touchdown by taking a fourth quarter kickoff against UTEP 97 yards for a score to clinch bowl eligibility for the Owls. His TD return was the first for the Owls since Nov. 17, 1984. His 210 yards are the second-best total in school history and he added 59 yards on the ground and caught one pass for a total of 279 all-purpose yards, just 16 yards shy of the school record.
EAST CAROLINA PIRATES
East Carolina finished 7-1 in league play with a wild 65-59 double-overtime victory over Marshall. Sophomore WR Justin Hardy had a school-record 16 catches for 171 yards and a touchdown. The 16 receptions are tied for the fifth-most in C-USA history. Sophomore QB Shane Carden set all new career-highs with 38 completions on 47 attempts for 439 yards. His 439 yards through the air also set the school record and broke the mark of Dominique Davis (417 vs. North Carolina - 10/1/11). Carden threw three touchdowns and ran for three more. With 52 yards rushing, junior RB Vintavious Cooper reached 1,000 yards rushing on the season (1,030). He is the first ECU back since Dominique Lindsay in 2009 to reach the mark and the sixth ECU runner to reach the 1,000 yard rushing mark since 2000. Junior LB Derrell Johnson recorded a career-high 2.5 sacks in the game and has six sacks in the last three games.
Houston closed out Robertson Stadium with a 40-17 win over Tulane. Freshman RB Ryan Jackson notched a career high 16 rushing attempts and 129 rushing yards, while scoring two touchdowns. Senior QB Crawford Jones notched his second 300+ yard game, finishing with 368 on the day. That gave Cougars quarterbacks seven games with 300+ yards passing, as sophomore David Piland had five. Junior WR Dewayne Peace finished the evening with 101 receiving yards on seven receptions for his third 100+ yard receiving game of the season. Senior K Matt Hogan became just the 10th kicker in NCAA history to notch over 400 career points. He ranks ninth all-time with 405 points and becomes the second Cougar on the list.
MARSHALL THUNDERING HERD
The Thundering Herd saw its season come to an end with a 65-59 double-overtime loss at East Carolina. Sophomore WR Tommy Shuler had 14 catches for 141 yards to give him 110 catches on the season, breaking the old record of 106 by Mike Barber in 1987. Shuler also had two touchdowns. Junior RB Essray Taliaferro made the most of his first-ever start with a career-best 130 yards and a touchdown. He also had three receptions for 50 yards. Sophomore QB Rakeem Cato had 318 passing yards and completed 31-of-40 attempts for five touchdowns through two and a half quarters of play before suffering a left leg injury with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter. Cato became the fourth Herd quarterback to throw for over 4,000 yards in a season, finishing with 4,201. Freshman QB Blake Frohnapfel entered the game and completed 12-of-15 attempts for 101 yards and one touchdown. He was also credited with eight rushes for 62 yards including a 51-yard touchdown run.
The Tigers finished the season on a three-game winning streak after posting a 42-24 victory over Southern Miss. Sophomore QB Jacob Karam finished 12-of-18 with 162 yards and two touchdowns. In the three-game win streak he completed 40-of-52 passes. Junior RB Brandon Hayes registered his second straight 100-yard rushing game with 115 yards on 19 carries (6.1 yards per carry). Had touchdown runs of 9 and 11 yards, giving him five scores over the last three outings. Senior LB Akeem Davis closed out collegiate career by leading Memphis with six tackles, and 2.5 TFL's. One of his tackles for lost yardage was a quarterback sack in which he forced a fumble that Memphis recovered to set up a scoring drive.
The Owls clinched a bowl appearance with a 33-24 victory at UTEP Saturday night. Junior RB Charles Ross rushed 23 times for a career-high 154 yards and two touchdowns. Senior TE Vance McDonald continued to celebrate his return from injury by catching a career-high nine passes for 99 yards. The senior who was invited to the Senior Bowl on Wednesday, has caught 16 passes for 184 yards in the last two contests. Junior K Chris Boswell had a 51-yard field goal in the first half, his sixth kick of 50+ yards this season, the most in the FBS. The win was Rice's 19 in its last 28 November games since 2006. In each of the Owls three bowl seasons (2006, 2008, 2012), they ran off an unbeaten final month to earn the chance to play an additional game.
The Mustangs finished league play unbeaten at home and became bowl eligible for a school-record fourth straight year with a 35-27 win over Tulsa Saturday. Senior RB Zach Line ran for three touchdowns, moving him into second place on C-USA's all-time list with 46 career rushing scores. Senior QB Garrett Gilbert threw for a score and ran for 111 yards and touchdown, becoming the first SMU QB to run for 100 yards since Justin Willis in 2007. Senior LB Ja'Gared Davis blocked a punt to set up the game's first TD and then forced and recovered a fumble to set up the second score. He followed that by intercepting a pass to set up SMU's third TD drive. He finished the game with seven tackles (two-and-a-half for-loss).
SOUTHERN MISS GOLDEN EAGLES
Southern Miss closed its season with a 42-24 loss at Memphis Saturday. Freshman RB Jalen Richard caught his first career touchdown pass, a 16-yard completion from sophomore QB Arsenio Favor. Freshman QB Anthony Alford connected with senior WR Quentin Pierce for a nine-yard touchdown pass. It was Alford's first career touchdown pass and Pierce's second of the season. Alford later added his second TD pass in the fourth quarter. Senior DL Jamie Collins reached a fifth-place tie on the school's single-season charts for both sacks (10.0) and tackles for loss (20.0). Junior CB Deron Wilson broke up a pass in the first quarter to give him 34 for his career. He finished second on the all-time charts at Southern Miss.
TULANE GREEN WAVE
The Green Wave closed out their season with a 40-17 loss at Houston Saturday. Senior QB Ryan Griffin threw for 346 yards and two touchdowns in his final collegiate game. Griffin attempted a Tulane single game record 66 passes and tied his own mark with 36 completions, the second-most in one game. Junior WR Ryan Grant hauled in a career-high 13 receptions, the fourth-best effort in a single game in school history, for 108 yards. Grant concluded the year with seven 100-yard games, which is the most among C-USA players this season, and tied the school single season mark of seven set by Marc Zeno in 1987. Grant finished with 76 receptions for 1,149 yards. Junior K Cairo Santos connected on his lone field goal to finish 21-of-21 on the year. Santos joined 1996 Lou Groza Award winner Marc Primanti as the only kickers in FBS history to stay perfect throughout a season in which they attempted 20 or more, but Santos finished with one more make than Primanti, who finished 20-of-20 in 1996.
TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE
Tulsa dropped the regular season finale, 35-27 at SMU when a furious comeback fell one yard short of the end zone on the game's final play. For the game, TU set school records for total plays with 103 and passes attempted with 65. Junior QB Cody Green completed a career-high 36-of-64 passes for a career-best 413 yards and tied his career-high with three touchdown passes. The Golden Hurricane also gained 178 yards on the ground with 58 from junior RB Trey Watts and 51 from Green. Tulsa finished with 591 total yards,
Senior RB Alex Singleton ran for a score and caught his first career TD. He finished the game with 39 career total touchdowns to tie the school record, set by Tarrion Adams (2004-07). Singleton now has 120 points this season to move up to second-place on the school's career scoring chart. He trails Howard Twilley's 127 points from 1965.
The Blazers dropped their season finale at UCF Saturday, 49-24. UAB threw for 510 yards on the day -- the second-highest total in Blazer history (611 vs. Prairie View A&M, 1994). Junior QB Jonathan Perry passed for 307 yards, two touchdown passes and a rushing score, while freshman QB Austin Brown completed 16-of-28 passes for 203 yards. Senior WR Patrick Hearn recorded the third-most receiving yards in a game in UAB history with his 201 yards on eight receptions That was the highest yardage total by a Blazer since Roddy White totaled 253 yards against Tulane in 2004. Senior RB Darrin Reaves ran 18 times for 71 yards to become the fourth UAB player in history to reach 1,000 yards for a season, finishing with 1,037. Senior LB Marvin Burdette registered 15 tackles to increase his season total to 157. Burdette leads C-USA in tackles and is ranked No. 2 in the FBS.
UCF wrapped up the East Division title with a 49-24 win over UAB Saturday. The Knights scored 35 points in the first half for the second time in 2012 (Akron). Senior RB Latavious Murray completed the day with 94 rushing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. He now has 13 rushing touchdowns in 2012, which is tied for the fourth-most in UCF single-season history. Murray has a rushing TD in seven-straight games. The last Knight to accomplish that in the same season was Kevin Smith in 2007. Senior WR Quincy McDuffie had three rushing touchdowns and finished with 79 rushing yards on six carries. Senior S Lyle Dankenbring picked off a screen pass and ran it back 78 yards for a touchdown. It was the fifth-longest INT return in UCF history, his first-career touchdown, second INT of the year and third of his career.
The Miners closed out the Mike Price era Saturday, falling to Rice, 33-24. Senior QB Nick Lamaison returned to the starting lineup and tossed two touchdowns, throwing for 249 yards on just eight completions. Sophomore WR Jordan Leslie (3 catches for 168) and senior WR Michael Edwards (5 for 121) each topped the 100-yard yard mark in receiving yards. Senior LB Josh Fely's 16 tackles are a career-best and the most since Damon Cromartie-Smith registered 16 stops against UAB Oct. 31, 2009. Fely's 112 tackles on the season are the most by a UTEP player since Braxton Amy had 112 stops in 2007.