Photo courtesy of East Carolina Athletics
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (Sports Network) -
EAST CAROLINA: Shane Carden led the way in his first career start as the Pirates (2-1, 1-0) took down the defending conference champion Southern Miss Golden Eagles, 24-14, in their league opener on Saturday. Carden finished 13- for-27 for 171 yards and a touchdown while his favorite target, Justin Hardy, had 92 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. Montese Overton was the anchor of the defense with 10 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery for a score. ECU went on a 24-point run thanks to its defense forcing three straight turnovers. The Pirates conclude their three-game road trip this weekend when they take on the North Carolina Tar Heels.
HOUSTON: First-year coach Tony Levine saw his squad fall to 0-3 this past weekend as the Cougars were stifled in their 37-6 loss to UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Houston is 0-3 for the first time since 2001, when the Cougars finished 0-11. David Piland is having difficulty finding the same success as his record breaking predecessor, Chase Keenum. Piland completed 28-of-60 passes for 249 yards with five interceptions versus the Bruins. Piland scored late in the game on an 86-yard run which prevented Houston from being shutout for the first time in nearly 12 years. The Cougars surrendered 567 yards of total offense, while gaining 388 yards. Houston has a bye week before beginning its C-USA season against Rice on Sept. 29.
MARSHALL: The Thundering Herd came up just short of reclaiming The Battle of the Bell trophy as they fell, 27-24, to Ohio University at Joan C. Edwards Stadium on Saturday. Marshall (1-2), which went into the week leading the NCAA in passing, received another stellar performance from Rakeem Cato, who completed a school record 44 passes on 65 attempts for 432 yards and three touchdowns, before an interception late sabotaged his team's chances. Cato started out hot, leading the Herd to an early 14-0 lead before the Bobcats climbed back. Tommy Shuler had a big day with 121 yards on 13 grabs while Aaron Dobson reeled in 11 catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. D.J. Hunter recorded 12 tackles and forced a fumble. Despite the loss, Marshall held a 491-399 advantage in the total offensive yardage battle. Marshall will try to bounce back next week in its C-USA opener when it visits the Lone Star State to duel the Rice Owls.
MEMPHIS: First year coach Justin Fuente's career record fell to 0-3 over the weekend as the Tigers lost 48-30 to the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in a Volunteer State rivalry game. Memphis had a total of four turnovers which Middle Tennessee turned into three touchdowns and a field goal to take control of the contest. Its six total fumbles on the night were the most since 1989. Jacob Karam guided the offense by completing 26 of his 37 passing attempts for 325 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. Marcus Rucker (177 yards, two TDs, 10 catches) and Keiwone Malone (102 yards, 10 catches) were the only two receivers with more than two catches and 20 yards for the Tigers. Memphis will finish its non-conference season on Saturday in Durham against the Duke Blue Devils of the ACC.
RICE: Following their dramatic last-second win over Kansas, the Owls (1-2) failed to repeat their non-conference success as they were beaten, 56-37, by the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. Rice fell behind 21-0 in the opening period before Taylor McHargue and the offense managed to produce any points. McHargue finished with 205 passing yards, 93 rushing yards, and five total touchdowns in the losing effort, while Charles Ross compiled 116 yards on the ground. The Owls gained a season-best 477 yards of total offense, but they surrendered 609 yards to the Bulldogs despite running 17 more offensive plays. Rice begins its C-USA season on Saturday when it welcomes the offensively powerful Marshall Thundering Herd to Houston.
SMU: The Mustangs' season opening five-game set versus opponents from the state of Texas continued over the weekend as they suffered a 48-3 defeat to Texas A&M. SMU (1-3) saw ineffective play out of Texas transfer Graham Gilbert as he completed just 23-of-49 attempts for 203 yards while being sacked four times and throwing an interception. The defense had no answer for A&M's freshman QB Johnny Manziel who passed for 294 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 124 and two touchdowns. Zach Line had a productive game with 104 yards on 16 carries, but the Aggies still ran away with it after a scoreless first period. Margus Hunt continued his special teams excellence by blocking an extra point. The blocked kick was the 16th total block of his career, which tied him for second on the NCAA career blocks list. SMU has a bye week this weekend before returning to action with a home game versus TCU on Sept. 29.
SOUTHERN MISS: The Golden Eagles (0-2, 0-1) were plagued by turnovers and made a quarterback change in their return to league play which led to a 24-14 loss to East Carolina. True freshman QB Anthony Alford made his first career start, but he was sacked three times and completed only 6-of-14 attempts for 88 yards with an interception. Alford did not see much more success on the ground, rushing the ball 20 times for 13 yards and a touchdown with a lost a fumble before being benched. Chris Campbell came off the bench to complete 11-of-21 passes for 145 yards and a score. ECU went on a 24-0 run during the second and third quarters to create distance on the scoreboard and hand the defending conference champions a loss in their league opener. The Golden Eagles step out of conference play this weekend as they go on the road to challenge the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
TEXAS-EL PASO: The Miners (1-2) scored on their first four possessions on their way to a 41-28 victory over New Mexico State in the battle of I-10. UTEP built a 27-0 lead through the first 20 minutes of action as Nick Lamaison came out in rhythm. Lamaison finished with 300 yards and four touchdowns on 21- of-32 passing as the Miners snapped a four-game slide going back to last season. Josh Bell scored the first rushing touchdown of the season for UTEP and the first of his career in the first quarter and managed to rush for another score later in the contest. Mike Price tied Mike Brumbelow for second on the school's career wins list with 46 with the victory. He trails Mack Saxon by 20 games for the program's all-time lead. Price will continue to pursue Saxon's school record on Saturday when the Miners invade Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers.
TULANE: The Green Wave (0-2, 0-1) had the week off after falling to Rutgers and Tulsa in their opening two games. Tulane will try to snap its 12-game losing slide on Saturday as it hosts Ole Miss for non-conference action in New Orleans.
TULSA: The Golden Hurricane (2-1) picked up their second win in a row as they topped Nicholls, 66-16, a week after downing Tulane. Tulsa amassed 566 yards of total offense, including 333 yards on the ground to cruise past Nicholls. Ja'Terian Douglas led the way with 163 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Tulsa took a 42-9 lead into halftime versus its FCS opponent, but Nicholls still managed to rush for 222 yards in the contest. Tulsa's defense forced three turnovers to keep Nicholls in their rearview mirror. The Golden Hurricane return to the field on Saturday for non-conference action against the high- powered Fresno State Bulldogs.
UAB: The Blazers (0-2) remain winless after being overpowered by South Carolina in their 49-6 loss to the Gamecocks. UAB gained 267 yards, but was held out of the end zone in the contest. UAB's rushing attack was non-existent versus the Gamecocks, as it gained only 27 yards on 42 attempts and lost a fumble. The loss was the third in a row dating back to last season. South Carolina gained 501 yards of total offense and shut down UAB in the second half. The Blazers' road does not get easier this week as they travel to Columbus to try to upset the Ohio State Buckeyes.
UCF: The Knights won their home-opener for the fifth straight season and avenged a loss from 2011 as they downed FIU, 33-20, to bounce back from a week two loss to Ohio State. UCF jumped out to a big lead behind a strong performance from quarterback Blake Bortles, who finished with 251 yards and two touchdowns on 20-for-30 passing efficiency. UCF's rushing attack featured Storm Johnson and Brynn Harvey, who rushed for 78 and 73 yards, respectively. The Knights held FIU to 26 yards in the first half to build a 23-0 lead heading into the third period. Troy Davis racked up a pair of sacks, two forced fumbles and seven tackles. The two forced fumbles tied a UCF single- game record. The Knights have a week off before hosting Missouri for a non- conference clash in Orlando.