Story courtesy of Conference USA
Photo courtesy of Houston Athletics
After rushing for a career-high 210 yards and scoring two touchdowns in a win over North Texas, Houston junior RB Charles Sims has been named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week. The Defensive Player of the Week honor went to SMU junior LB Randall Joyner, who had two interceptions in a win over UTEP, while special teams recognition was given to UCF senior KR Quincy McDuffie, whose kickoff return for a touchdown sparked the Knights to a victory over East Carolina. C-USA Football Players of the Week are voted on by a panel of the league's media.
Sims rushed for a career-high 210 yards as he finished with 265 all-purpose yards and two total touchdowns in Houston's 44-21 win over North Texas. The junior eclipsed the 200-yard mark for the second time in his career (207 vs. Tulane in 2011) as he finished with a 10.0 yards per carry average with 21 rushing attempts. Sims also had five receptions for 55 yards, good for his 13th career game with at least five receptions. Sims' five-yard scoring run to put Houston on the board first was his 24th career rushing TD, putting him in sole possession of sixth place all-time at UH. Sims now has 368 yards in his last two games after rushing for 158 yards in last week's win over Rice. The back-to-back total is the second-best total in Houston history and the most since Jim Strong totaled 449 yards (230 vs. Arizona, 219 vs. Ole Miss) in 1969.
Making the start for an injured teammate, Joyner notched a team and career-high 14 tackles and recorded two interceptions as SMU shutout UTEP in El Paso, 17-0. This was the Mustangs' first win at UTEP since 2002, marked just the second time in 31 seasons that a Mike Price-coached team was shut out and the first time UTEP was blanked at home since 2003. SMU's defense has allowed just three points over the past six quarters and has now posted two shutouts in a season for the first time since 1983. The Mustangs join the 1999 Southern Miss team and the 2011 UCF squad as the only teams in C-USA history to record multiple shutouts in the same season.
After East Carolina scored on a 76-yard pass to make it 14-0 with 6:09 left in the first quarter, UCF had lost any momentum to open the game. But, on the ensuing kickoff, McDuffie used perfect blocking to return the kick 99 yards to the house and cut ECU's lead in half. The Knights would score 20 unanswered points to help complete the 40-20 comeback victory in its C-USA opener Oct. 4. For McDuffie, it was his fourth-career kickoff return for a touchdown, which tied the school record (he has 2,080 career yards and needs just 41 more kickoff return yards to tie the school record). He also added two receptions for 67 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter to push UCF's lead to 30-20. For the game, McDuffie had 195 all-purpose yards.