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C-USA Football: Games for Week of 09-20-14

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Old Dominion will play its first Conference USA league game this Saturday, traveling to Houston to face defending C-USA Champion Rice in the Owls home opener. The Monarchs are coming off the program's first win over an FBS team and will play a Rice team that outgained No. 7 Texas A&M last Saturday night.
 
Marshall's offense is sizzling, generating more than 700 yards of total offense in each of the last two games. The Thundering Herd will renew an old MAC rivalry when it visits Akron Saturday afternoon.
 
FIU will continue its four-game home stand to open the season, hosting an ACC school for the second straight week when Louisville comes to Miami.
 
Fresh off a convincing win over Tulsa, Florida Atlantic will make the cross-country trek to Laramie, Wyoming to face the Wyoming Cowboys.
 
The American Sports Network will air a doubleheader, beginning with Nicholls State at North Texas before Appalachian State visits Southern Miss in the nightcap.
 
Coming off a wild triple-overtime win over WKU, Middle Tennessee will battle Memphis, seeking a second straight win over the Tigers.
 
After going 2-1 with three road games in 13 days, Louisiana Tech has its home opener vs. Northwestern State.

There will be no mid-week contests for the period.


Saturday, September 20th

Old Dominion 45  Rice 42

Marshall 48  Akron 17

Louisville 34  FIU 3

Nicholls State 3  North Texas 77

FAU 19  Wyoming 20

Northwestern State 30  Louisiana Tech 27

Appalachian St. 20  Southern Miss 21

Middle Tennessee 17  Memphis 36

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Old Dominion has to be excited when they play their first CUSA game. Yet Rice also has to be excited to finally get a try at a non-top 10 opponent. I'll take Rice 31-27

You hit the nail on the head Rick, Marshall's offense is looking great as of late, as expected. The Herd should put up some more great numbers this weekend. But don't you dare sleep on Akron! Remember both FAU and Akron were arguably the two of the worst teams in the nation in 2011, despite both programs opening beautiful new stadiums that year. Well it looks like the new stadium has helped the Zips rise to conference contenders as well. An old MAC rivalry against one of the G5's best will surely create enough buzz in Akron to bring in a solid crowd. This may be Marshall's ONLY chance to lose all season, well either this or when they play at UAB (yes I mean the Blazers, this is not a typo), so expect the pressure to be on. I'll still pick Marshall 34-27

FIU played their hearts out last week against Pitt. A truly admirable fight against one of America's most underrated teams. Sadly, I don't expect the same type of fight this weekend, especially after Louisville fell to Virginia last weekend. Louisville 45-20

North Texas needs help, and they need it badly. Since the Mean Green offense showed its teeth against SMU a couple of weekends ago to their beat-down handed to them by Louisiana Tech last Thursday, we have learned three things: 1. How bad SMU really is. 2. How bad UNT's passing attack is. 3. How badly UNT can hurt themselves via mental mistakes. First, SMU is awful. Plain and simple. North Texas putting that many points (43) on the poor Ponies from Dallas will be the most North Texas scores on an FBS opponent this season. Secondly, North Texas is 121st out of 125 FBS teams in passing yards. Again, that is WITH PLAYING SMU!! Anybody want to take a stab at who's worse than the Mean Green? Two of the worst teams in FBS, New Mexico and Eastern Michigan are 122 and 123 respectively, followed by the old-school run-option style offenses of the military academies in Annapolis and West Point. If you watched the UNT LaTech game last Thursday, you would know that Mike Leech would gouge his own eyes out and offer them to the forward pass gods if he had to sit one quarter of that North Texas offense. In layman's terms, the passing attack really, really bad. Like Stephen Curtis against Wagner bad. Finally, UNT racked up 9 penalties for 90 yards against Louisiana Tech; ten yards short of the length of a football field. Think about it, if LaTech got the ball on the one yard line, they could technically move down the field in one drive and almost score, purely based on the amount of penalties UNT racked up all game. When hosting SMU, the Mean Green had 15 penalties for 139 yards. Only one team in the entire nation has given up more yards via penalties in the entire nation. Unless these two issues get fixed quickly, you can count North Texas out of the race for being a top four team in the West.
All of this being said, UNT gets the help they need just at the right time: Enter Nicholls State stage right. Nicholls State (0-3) of the FCS is coming off a loss to D2 Henderson State… I swear, I can't make this up. UNT is down on the ground, and they have a chance to get back up by beating a team that lost to Arkansas by 66 points. What happens to FAU when they're on the ground? They go to Tuscaloosa. North Texas wins big with two defensive scores, 34-10.

Louisiana Tech is looking to make a serious push for the CUSA West title. The Bulldogs performance against UNT last week was a message and a half to the entire conference. The Bulldogs dominated UNT like UNT dominated SMU; a good team dominated a bad team who dominated an awful team. Kenneth Dixon is easily the best offensive player in CUSA West. If y'all haven't seen him play yet, please do yourself a favor and do so. Louisiana Tech wins 38-13

CUSA is currently UNDEFEATED against all other G5 conferences. No seriously, we're 0-12. Well, expect that to change Saturday night when the Mountaineers of Appalachian State visit Hattiesburg to take on Southern Mississippi. USM has showed little progress from their one-win campaign last Fall. I'll take Appy State, 27-21.

An instate rivalry between Middle Tennessee and Memphis should be a fun game to tune into. Memphis is coming off a very respectable result to UCLA a couple of weeks ago, while Middle has some renewed energy after pulling out a 3OT win over longtime rival Western Kentucky.  It's strange to say, but I'm not quite sold on the Blue Raider bandwagon after a victory, as much as I am sold on the Tiger bandwagon after a loss. Does that make any sense? Yeah, I didn't think so. Memphis will be victorious, 31-21
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FINAL:

Old Dominion 45  Rice 42

The Monarchs first game in C-USA is a win against last season's champion.

Welcome to the league.

QB Taylor Heinicke threw for 430 yards and 5TD.
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FINAL:

Marshall 48  Akron 17

The Herd thunders out to a 24-0 lead, and never looks back.

Two Marshall RB's reach the century mark in that of Remi Watson (124), and Devin Watson (103).
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FINAL:

Louisville 34  FIU 3

After posting a 29.5 ppg average over the two weeks prior, the Panther offense stalls against the Cardinals.

Eighty eight yards on 40 carries will have that effect.

Louisville however romped for 324 yards through the air.


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FINAL:

Nicholls State 3  North Texas 77

Not sure why this game was scheduled, but one thing is for sure so far:

Win the Mean Green win, they win big, and win they lose, they lose big.

The Colonels held the rock for over 40 minutes in this one, or it could have been much worse.

UNT needed just 17 plays to score their first 42 points.

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FINAL:

FAU 19  Wyoming 20

The Owls lose the second game of the extended series against the Cowboys, with both losses occurring while holding 4th quarter leads. This one hurt the most though.

Both teams took the ground as a mainstay (combined 80 carries), and produced relatively equal results.

However, turnovers proved FAU's nemesis in the end.

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Fire Charlie 
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FINAL:

Northwestern State 30  Louisiana Tech 27

After coughing it up five times, the Bulldogs can feel some of the Owls' pain.

They lead 20-10 after three complete, only to see the Demons close with a 20-7 run.

NSU walked away with the win as time expired courtesy of a 47 yard FG, completing their second successful boot in the final 1:05 of play.
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FINAL:

Appalachian St. 20  Southern Miss 21

Special team's play proved the difference as the Golden Eagles hold on for the win.

A blocked extra point with six second to go sealed the deal.

With just a score after three periods of play, a fourth quarter surge by the Mountaineers kept the game alive.

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