Haikus always make life more interesting. This is why each week, Conference USA coverage will dissect the major story lines via the five-seven-five syllable format.
Southern Miss 44 Rice 28
Turn up the heat on Bailiff
Go long, Allenzae
The Golden Eagles pumped out 702 yards of offense with 591 coming courtesy of quarterback Nick Mullens. His primary outlet on Saturday was wide receiver Allenzae Staggers, who at one point was averaging 83 yards per reception. His final tally: six for 292 and three, with all three scoring plays being 75 yards or longer.
Both of Southern Miss’s offensive weapons set new program benchmarks with their respective clips on Saturday.
The losses are piling up quickly for Rice head coach David Bailiff, whose team looks nothing close to competitive near the halfway point of the season.
Old Dominion 52 Charlotte 17
Old Dominion, guys
I can’t do this anymore
Each post-week column pits yours truly versus the five-seven-five structure — an amusing task — but peak impediment cripples the fingers every time the haiku pertains to the Charlotte 49ers.
The Niners lost again and yes, it wasn’t even close — again. The Monarchs took advantage of three Charlotte turnovers and dialed up 31 first-half points. The 49ers actually chiseled numbers off their first-half defensive statistics following Week 5. They’re allowing 33.8 points in the first two frames this season.
Florida International 33 Florida Atlantic 31
First game without Ron
Actually, it wasn’t
Mcgough plays with fire
Florida International swapped Ron Turner out for newly-appointed interim head coach Ron Cooper, and his first game at the helm was a big one. Florida Atlantic’s Greg Howell Jr. took the second play from scrimmage to the house for the Owls to give them a 7-0 lead, but the Golden Panthers received an uptick in production from quarterback Alex McGough when it counted.
Aside from his pick-six to open the second half, he was great. The junior played with a ton of passion throughout the Shula Bowl. His most important drive didn’t culminate with a score, but the final series for McGough — who had his team up by two with a few minutes left to play — gained multiple passing first downs to drain the clock, tying the ribbon on FIU’s first win of the season.
Louisiana Tech 28 UTEP 7
Not a pretty win
Higgins works the air and ground
Missing: UTEP O
Louisiana Tech bookended the box score with two 14-point frames to give the Bulldogs a 21-point win over the UTEP Miners. The offense got a little bit of everything from quarterback Ryan Higgins, who totaled 233 yards and three scores.
The Miners’ offense is averaging 8.3 points per game spanning its last four outings, not the ideal formula to win games in any league, let alone Conference USA.
Middle Tennessee 30 North Texas 13
Fine throws 50-plus
Mean Green can’t ride momentum
Mathers a nice fill
North Texas freshman quarterback Mason Fine guided the Mean Green offense 87 yards in the opening series to give UNT an early lead over Middle Tennessee. That was about all she wrote though, because the next eight North Texas drives stalled out and ended with punts, something that can’t bode well against the Blue Raiders’ offense.
Middle Tennessee’s I’Tavius Mathers has been a huge spark plug for his team’s offense. His 135 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown marked the third consecutive outing with 20-plus carries, 135 or more yards and a score.
Western Kentucky 50 Houston Baptist 3
Cupcakes in Week 5
Tons of ‘Toppers get involved
Pivotal game next
Not exactly sure what a Houston Baptist is, but the ‘dogs weren’t going to bark on Saturday. Western Kentucky wide receiver Nicholas Norris scored on three separate occasions, fellow pass catcher Taywan Taylor caught a game-high 146 yards, and Nacarius Fant chipped in with a punt return score late in the third. Western Kentucky faces Louisiana Tech next weekend when the Bulldogs look for revenge from last season’s Week 2 defeat.
Pittsburgh 43 Marshall 27
First half woes again
Second half interesting
Maddox seals the deal
The Charlotte 49ers slipped to the No. 2 spot in the aforementioned first-half defensive statistic; Marshall is No. 1.
The Thundering Herd fell behind 27-0 heading into the intermission; by that time, it was too late to stage a comeback. Quarterback Chase Litton attempted to pilot the offense down the field to potentially tie the game. Instead, he was picked off by Avonte Maddox, who sealed the game with a touchdown return.