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Conference USA Week 10 haiku: a new brand of bad

Doc Holliday
Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire

The 5-7-5 syllable format is our forte in recapping the weekend.

It’s Conference USA football. For a pool of teams that has caught flak for being atrocious near the bottom, the top-heavy clubs took a major blow in Week 10. Three favorites fell, and two projected to win by double digits instead lost by double digits.

UTSA 45 Middle Tennessee State 25

No slinging for Sturm

There is a sling for Stockstill

Blue Raiders’ nightmare

The quarterbacks shouldn’t receive the limelight in this summary, but they do, and for different reasons. Roadrunner signal-caller Dalton Sturm wasn’t overly effective on 9-of-19 passing, though a 16-yard touchdown pass to Josh Stewart in the waning seconds of the second quarter stretched the team’s lead to 21 and put a nail in the coffin.

There was no way the Blue Raiders could mount a comeback, considering southpaw rifleman Brent Stockstill exited in the first and returned with his arm in a sling.

“It doesn’t look good,” head coach Rick Stockstill told Murfreesboro’s Daily News Journal.

Nor does it for Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders own six wins, but the loss to UTSA slots them at 3-2 in the conference and third in the East, and it doesn’t alleviate the situation having Stockstill sidelined.

Charlotte 38 Southern Mississippi 27

Surprise of the year?

Southern Miss, this week’s Charlotte

Quarterback problems

If Conference USA wasn’t already in contention for the weirdest league in college football, Saturday may have been the final straw. The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles lost by 11 to Charlotte as nearly three-touchdown favorites.

Both starting quarterback Nick Mullens and backup Parker Adamson exited the game on separate occasions with injuries. Head coach Jay Hopson may shoo in a ringer to put the Band-Aid over the bullet wound.

Florida Atlantic 42 Rice 25

Driskel gains traction

Singletary lanes all day

It’s Rice, but it’s good

Charlie Partridge was hell bent on keeping Jason Driskel under center. The sophomore put on a display in Texas on Saturday, completing 15-of-23 for 317 yards and two scores, roughly 33.3 percent of his touchdowns on the year coming versus Rice, because, of course.

His performance would have been more embraced had it not been for freshman running back Devin Singletary, who compiled 252 yards on 23 carries. In a battle of whichever-team-loses-has-to-shut-down-the-program, the road Owls reigned victorious.

Old Dominion 38 Marshall 14 

Monarchs harness Chase

Signaling a turn of tide?

Watch out for Wilder

Remember when Old Dominion’s porous defense couldn’t stop the bleeding if it was handed a plethora of hotel bath towels? The secondary held Herd quarterback Chase Litton to 86 yards on Saturday, despite the sophomore completing 17 passes. Slowly but surely.

The Monarchs are certainly on the cusp of gaining traction in Conference USA. It’s only a matter of time until head coach Bobby Wilder becomes a candidate to move to a Power Five program.

Louisiana Tech 45 North Texas 24

Higgins keeps rolling

Fine, a fine experiment

A rematch looming?

The conference’s leader in passing yards isn’t represented by Western Kentucky, Southern Mississippi, or Middle Tennessee State, but rather Louisiana Tech, in the form of Ryan Higgins. His 253-yard performance on Saturday pits him fourth in the nation heading into Week 11, and what a job it’s been replacing Jeff Driskel.

On the opposite sideline, Mean Green triggerman Mason Fine is soaking his feet and could be a fairly decent project for head coach Seth Littrell in the future.

A Louisiana Tech-Western Kentucky Conference USA title game is what the world needs.

Western Kentucky 49 Florida International 21 

Ace Wales plus defense

‘Toppers doing ‘Toppers things

Two Alexanders

Western Kentucky’s potent air attack took a back seat to running back Anthony Wales on Saturday. The senior back toted the rock only 12 times but made the most of his carries: 111 yards and four scores.

Florida International used two quarterbacks — Maurice Alexander and Christian Alexander — which is the first time a team has ever used two quarterbacks in the same game with the same last name (don’t quote me on that).

UTEP 42 Houston Baptist 10 

Saved the best for last

It’s better late than never

Longshot, but maybe?

UTEP scored 21 points or more only once in the first five games. Over the last four games, the Miners have hit that number in every game.

The Miners, with three wins, get Florida Atlantic, Rice, and North Texas to finish out the season — don’t count ’em out of the postseason yet.

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