Conference USA News and Notes

10:29 AM, Oct 8, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

EAST CAROLINA: The Pirates (3-3, 2-1) went cold in the second half which led to a 40-20 loss to the UCF Knights on Thursday night. Shane Carden continued his journey as a first-year starter by racking up 298 passing yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Justin Hardy continued to stand out as one of the Conference USA's best receivers by catching five passes for 119 yards and a score. Vintavious Cooper fought hard for his 58 yards and a touchdown, East Carolina has alternated wins and losses so far this season. ECU returns home for its third contest at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium this season with a game versus Memphis.

HOUSTON: The Cougars (2-3, 1-0) won for the second week in a row as they topped North Texas, 44-21, in a non-conference bout. Charles Sims ran for a career- high 210 yards and a touchdown and David Piland connected on 31-of-41 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Dewayne Peace bounced back from a quiet performance against Rice and tallied nine receptions for 83 yards and a score. Everett Daniel and Philip Steward each recorded 12 total tackles in the victory. UH gained 623 yards on offense and limited the Mean Green to 483 yards. The Cougars return to conference action this weekend when they host the UAB Blazers.

MARSHALL: The Thundering Herd (2-4, 1-1) submitted another exciting effort, but eventually fell, 45-38, to the Tulsa Golden Hurricane for their first C- USA loss of the season. Even though Marshall outgained Tulsa in total yards 572-340, it was not enough for the victory. Tulsa outgained Marshall in rushing yards 250-169 as the Herd ventured back to a pass heavy philosophy. Rakeem Cato completed 31-of-44 passes for 391 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Cato had a good rhythm going throughout the game, completing a pass to eight different receivers. Aaron Dobson caught a team-high 10 passes for 128 yards. Antavious Wilson caught seven passes for 123 yards and scored two touchdowns. Gator Hoskins caught four passes for 89 yards and one touchdown. Most of Hoskins's yardage game on a 72-yard TD reception, which was the longest play of the season for MU. The Herd has this week off before they return to action on Oct. 20 at Southern Miss.

MEMPHIS: The Tigers (1-4, 1-0) finally delivered coach Justin Fuente his first career coaching victory as they shutout Rice in the second half and hung on for a 14-10 win. Memphis had not won a C-USA contest at home since Oct. 10, 2009. The win also snapped an eight-game losing streak, which was the second longest in the FBS coming into the week. Eric Mathews started a series at QB early in the second quarter. Jacob Karam was under center for the team's previous 50 offensive series. Both players managed to throw a touchdown pass versus Rice. The Tigers' defensive unit stepped up, holding the Owls 224 yards under their season average. Fuente will look for his second career victory in Greenville this weekend when Memphis squares off with East Carolina.

RICE: The Owls (1-5, 0-3) failed to build on a 10-0 halftime lead and suffered a 14-10 setback to the previously winless Memphis Tigers. Taylor McHargue converted 16-of-30 passes for 117 yards and was sacked two times. The team ran for a total of 104 yards, their 221 yards of total offense a far cry from the 445.6 ypg the team was producing heading into the weekend. The 24 combined points in the game were the fewest in C-USA game for the Owls in their eight seasons in the C-USA and the fewest in any game since they defeated Houston 10-7 in the opening game of the 2004 season. Rice seeks an end to its losing slide this weekend when it hosts the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners.

SMU: The Mustangs (2-4, 1-0) submitted a tremendous defensive effort as they coasted to a 17-0 victory over Texas-El Paso to end a two-game losing skid. Graham Gilbert completed 22-of-44 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown. Gilbert also threw his 10th interception of the season. Zach Line gained 84 yards on 25 carries, Jeremy Johnson caught eight passes for 76 yards, and Darius Johnson made five grabs for 82 yards and a score. Randall Joyner tallied 14 tackles and two interceptions. Defensive End Margus Hunt blocked a UTEP field goal attempt in the third quarter, extending his NCAA career record for blocked FG to 10. SMU will try to win consecutive games for the first time this season on Saturday when it invades New Orleans to take on Tulane.

SOUTHERN MISS: The Golden Eagles (0-5, 0-1) continue to struggle as reigning C-USA champions. Southern Miss lost at home, 40-14, to Boise State for the fifth straight defeat to open up the season. The 0-5 start is the worst by the program since 1976. The loss leaves Ellis Johnson without a win as USM's head coach. Despite losing, USM managed to accumulate season-highs of 243 passing yards and 424 total yards. Johnson continued to experiment at quarterback as Anthony Alford and Ricky Lloyd both saw action under center. Lloyd was 12- of-21 for 143 yards with two interceptions and Alford was 7-of-15 for 100 yards. The Golden Eagles will try to halt their losing streak on Saturday when they visit Orlando to take on UCF.

TEXAS-EL PASO: The Miners (1-5, 0-2) could not get anything going offensively and suffered a 17-0 setback to SMU. Nick Lamaison and Carson Meger combined to throw for 178 yards with three interceptions. Nathan Jeffery was limited to 67 yards on 20 carries while Jordan Leslie caught seven passes for 80 yards. The loss was the third in a row for UTEP. The Miners have a short break before they take on Tulsa in a Thursday night matchup this week.

TULANE: Tulane's (0-5, 0-1) woes continue as the Green Wave suffered its 15th straight loss as they experienced a 41-13 setback to Louisiana. That is the longest such streak in the FBS. D.J. Ponder completed 14-of-39 pass attempts for 173 yards and a score along with two interceptions. Justyn Shackleford caught three of those passes for 96 yards and a score. Robert Kelley added 55 yards on 10 carries. The 13 point scoring output was the highest of the season by Tulane, which returns to action on Saturday when it hosts SMU.

TULSA: The Golden Hurricane (5-1, 3-0) held off Marshall to pick up a 45-38 victory in an exciting conference bout. Cody Green completed 9-of-17 passes for 90 yards and one touchdown, Trey Watts had 111 yards on 18 carries, and Alex Singleton had 94 yards and three touchdowns on 16 attempts. Despite allowing 38 points, Tulsa's defensive unit played well when it mattered most as it stuffed Marshall twice in the red zone. The Golden Hurricane will look for their sixth win in a row on Thursday when they host the Texas-El Paso Miners.

UAB: The Blazers (1-4, 0-1) finally found the win column as they flew to a 52-3 win over Southeastern Louisiana. The 49-point margin of victory was the third- largest in program history. Austin Brown completed 16-of-22 attempts for 266 yards and a touchdown before the half in his second collegiate start. Jonathan Perry was also effective, completing 8-of-10 passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Bashr Coles rushed for a team-best 84 yards and a score on 11 carries. Darrin Reaves and Greg Franklin also managed to rush for a touchdown as well. Franklin also compiled 86 yards and a touchdown on four receptions. UAB will try for its first C-USA win this weekend when it takes on the Houston Cougars in Texas.

UCF: Blake Bortles threw for 269 yards and a touchdown and ran for 62 yards and another score, as the Knights (3-2, 1-0) blew past East Carolina, 40-20, in their first conference action of the season. Storm Johnson ran for 53 yards and reached the end zone, while Rannell Hall hauled in three passes for 68 yards. The high-powered offense entered the game averaging 30.3 points per game and boosted that to number to 32.2. UCF will try to string together wins for the first time this season on Saturday when it hosts Southern Miss.

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