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Conference USA Week 9 haiku: Passing records, postseason epiphanies

Nick Mullens
Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire

Conference USA marches on with that 5-7-5 syllable vibe.

Bowl bids being chased

Races for divisions grow

Even more intense.

Let’s review the play on the latest Saturday in Conference USA.

The haiku makes the review shine through.

Western Kentucky 52 Florida Atlantic 3

Three big plays for White

Three total QB’s throw scores

Hilltoppers don’t budge

Good things came in threes for Western Kentucky. Quarterback Mike White hooked up with a trio of wide receivers to give the Hilltoppers an early 21-0 lead in Boca Raton.

He connected with Nicholas Norris for a 76-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring, later found Lucky Jackson on a 54-yard scoring strike, and started the scoring once more in the second with a 65-yard pass to Taywan Taylor.

Fellow Hilltopper quarterbacks Drew Eckels and Tyler Ferguson each chipped in with a passing touchdown of their own to join the scoring parade. Western Kentucky kept Florida Atlantic’s offense at bay with only three points. The Owls compiled just 202 yards of total offense.

Middle Tennessee State 52 Florida International 45

Props to FIU

McGough reaches 6,000

That may be the end

Florida International began the season in flux, only to lose the first four games of the season. Not only did the Golden Panthers start the list of head coach firings in 2016, they somehow thrived after it with three straight wins. Saturday was almost the biggest win of the season… until it wasn’t.

Quarterback Alex McGough became the second in program history to surpass the 6,000-yard mark, but the final few minutes clouded the achievement. In a tie game with a few minutes left, Middle Tennessee State’s D.J. Sanders took an interception back to the house to stave off a Golden Panther comeback.

That will most likely be all she wrote for Florida International’s surge, and the season in its entirety.

Louisiana Tech 61 Rice 16

Flipped scores are awesome

Boston had TD party

Bailiff likely done

Louisiana Tech scored in oodles, Rice gave up a ton of points, so yes, water is wet and grass is green.

Bulldogs head coach Skip Holtz decided to give quarterback Ryan Higgins a diminished role (18-of-25 passing for two touchdowns) and instead gashed the Owls’ defense on the ground. Running back Boston Scott toted the rock 15 times to the tune of 137 yards and hit pay dirt on three separate occasions.

David Bailiff becomes more of a distant memory with each passing week.

Southern Mississippi 24 Marshall 14

300 for Nick

Hey, another school record

More incomplete games

Golden Eagles quarterback Nick Mullens now stands alone in the Southern Mississippi record books. After throwing for 300 yards versus the Thundering Herd, Mullens now owns the program record for passing yards with 11,057.

Marshall typically wins a lot of games when holding opponents to 24 points — let alone a potent Southern Miss offense — but this team just can’t put together a complete game. The Thundering Herd haven’t scored more than 28 points in six straight contests (1-5).

UTSA 31 North Texas 17

Roadrunners keep straight

UTSA jumps hurdle

Literally, though

UTSA responded well, one week after losing in multiple overtimes to UTEP, which may loom large in its quest for a bowl berth. The Roadrunners received another game manager outing from quarterback Dalton Sturm while the defense picked off two Mason Fine passes.

This highlight was the most electrifying:

Old Dominion 31 UTEP 21

Yawn, but a good yawn

Monarchs avoid UTEP surge

Bowl bid, here we come

Old Dominion-UTEP gave UTSA-North Texas a run for its money in the ‘yawn’ ratings, but watch out for Old Dominion. This team is finally gaining some traction in the FBS under head coach Bobby Wilder, who needs one more win to reach the lucky number six.

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