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.
‘Twas a good week to be an underdog amid your own confines — all three teams in this situation came out victorious.
Louisiana Tech 55 Western Kentucky 52
Henderson steals show
Fourth quarters — again — don’t count
Time to be worried?
Bulldogs wide receiver Carlos Henderson hauled in touchdown passes of 22, 37 and 63 yards in the first 18 minutes to spring the Louisiana Tech offense to 55 points.
In last season’s matchup, the Bulldogs outscored the Hilltoppers by 11 in the final quarter, and that wasn’t enough to collect a win. On Thursday, Western Kentucky outscored Louisiana Tech by 18 in the fourth and found itself on the short end of the stick as well.
In a peaks-and-valleys Conference USA, the Hilltoppers, who were tabbed as the preseason frontrunner, are now 3-3 with the last two losses coming by a combined four points.
Old Dominion 36 UMass 16
Worst game on paper?
Not now, Hurricane Matthew
Cox career evening
UMass and Old Dominion is about as putrid it gets via the paper test. The Monarchs and Minutemen, whose game was pushed to Friday thanks to that darn Hurricane Matthew, put up some points and big plays, including this what-the-heck-just-happened catch by UMass’s Dan Jonah.
Old Dominion continues to lean heavily on running back Jeremy Cox, who scampered for a career-high 162 yards.
UTSA 55 Southern Miss 32
Big play fuels Meep Meep
Decided in eight minutes
Unique early start
The Roadrunners hadn’t succeeded in the “big play” department, but Saturday was a whole different story. Wide receiver Kerry Thomas Jr. opened up the scoring with a 71-yard touchdown catch. On UTSA’s next drive, quarterback Dalton Sturm used a 77-yard pass to Josh Stewart to set up a Jarveon Williams rushing score.
Southern Mississippi rolled through both UTEP and Rice to kick off conference play; a noon kickoff versus under-the-radar UTSA may have caught the Golden Eagles off guard.
North Texas 38 Marshall 21
Herd get gashed on ground
Marshall back to its old ways
No excuse to lose
Losses to both Louisville and Pittsburgh were inevitable for the Thundering Herd. Dropping a home game versus Akron in Week 2 and now a road loss to North Texas are (at least seemingly) unacceptable.
The defense has been incinerated in more ways than one: 379 passing yards and 65 points to the Zips, 417 passing yards and 59 points to the Cardinals, 252 rushing yards and 43 points to the Panthers, and Saturday’s crux was another 252 yards on the ground and 28 points to the Mean Green.
Marshall’s once-rejuvenated defense is playing atrociously. The offense can’t score enough to overcome the defensive mishaps. It’s starting to look like the 2009 Marshall defense once again.
Florida International 35 UTEP 21
200 and 200
Good chance for three straight
Florida International didn’t let an emotional win over rival Florida Atlantic in Week 5 faze its mentality for a road game on Saturday. The Golden Panthers did whatever they wanted on offense. Quarterback Alex McGough threw for 241 and three scores. Alex Gardner and Anthony Jones each topped the century mark on the ground. Don’t look now, but FIU could quickly get up to par with three straight wins. The Golden Panthers get Charlotte next.
Charlotte 28 Florida Atlantic 23
First conference win
Other Florida team droops
No Charlotte cynics
For the first time in weeks, there’s nothing overly dramatic to shun Charlotte for. The 49ers under head coach Brad Lambert earned their inaugural conference win as members of the FBS.
Just as Florida International stayed motivated post-Shula Bowl, it was a bit different for the Owls, who don’t appear to have a pulse this season.