EAST CAROLINA - While most teams around the nation begin the season with a
non-conference game, East Carolina squared off with Tulsa on Sunday in a C-USA
affair. That game quickly turned into a shootout, and when the dust settled
the Pirates had earned a thrilling 51-49 victory. Dominique Davis and Justin
Jones connected for a touchdown on the last play of the game for the winners.
Davis completed 27-of-46 passes for 383 yards with five touchdowns and an
interception, and he added a rushing touchdown for the Pirates. Dwayne Harris
had seven catches for 121 yards and two scores while Lance Lewis added six
catches for 105 yards and two scores. Up next for ECU is another conference
clash with Memphis on Saturday.
MARSHALL - The Thundering Herd had the unenviable task of battling the Ohio
State Buckeyes in Columbus on Thursday in the season opener for both teams.
Marshall was clearly outclassed in a 45-7 rout. Ahmed Shakoor scored on a
return of a blocked field goal for Marshall, which played its first game under
new head coach Doc Holliday. The Thundering Herd finished 7-6 last year,
including a victory over Ohio in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Brian Anderson
completed 17-of-28 passes for 135 yards for Marshall. On Friday, the
Thundering Herd will get back to action with a road clash against Bowling
Green, a Mid-American Conference opponent.
MEMPHIS - The Tigers began play with a road clash against Mississippi State on
Saturday, and the result of that road clash was an embarrassing 49-7 loss.
Cannon Smith threw for 111 yards and a touchdown to lead the way for Memphis
(0-1), while Marcus Rucker caught three balls for 45 yards and a score in the
loss. The Tigers gained just 41 yards on the ground during the contest,
averaging only 2.0 yards per carry. Memphis finally got on the board with
under two minutes to go in the game with a 27-yard pass from Smith to Rucker.
While MSU finished with 28 first downs, Memphis managed to move the chains
just nine times. The Tigers will battle East Carolina in a conference affair
SOUTHERN MISS - The Golden Eagles began the 2010 campaign with a 41-13 loss at
South Carolina on Thursday. Southern Miss led by Austin Davis who hit on 31-
of-43 passes for 238 yards, but he was sacked once and threw an interception
in the setback. The 41 points scored by South Carolina were the most since the
team defeated Houston in the Liberty Bowl by a score of 44-36 back in 2006.
Last season the Gamecocks ranked 11th in the SEC and 102nd in the country in
scoring with a mere 20.6 ppg, so Southern Miss has obvious reason to be
concerned about the state of its defense. The Golden Eagles won the time of
possession battle, but two turnovers didn't help the cause. They will attempt
to bounce back strong with a home game against Prairie View A&M this upcoming
UAB - A blocked field goal on the final play of the game sent UAB to a heart-
breaking 32-31 loss to Florida Atlantic in Thursday's season opener. UAB
quarterback David Isabelle, who gained a remarkable 214 yards on the ground
and scored three times, had a 50-yard run in the final minute of play to set
up a 28-yard field goal attempt for the home team, but the kick was turned
back by the Owls. The Blazers, who gained 424 yards of total offense on the
night, converted only 2-of-13 on third down. It will be interesting to see how
UAB responds this upcoming weekend, as the team will take on C-USA foe SMU in
UCF - The Knights opened the season at home against South Dakota on Saturday,
and the result was a convincing 38-7 victory. UCF racked up 27 first downs in
the contest en route to 472 total yards, and the fact that over 200 yards were
gained both on the ground and through the air is proof of the outstanding
offensive balance that was achieved. The Knights made good on 7-of-10 third
down conversion attempts and held the ball for over 36 minutes. Jonathan Davis
rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, and A.J. Guyton posted
eight receptions for 127 yards and a score. The Knights will play a second
straight home game this upcoming weekend against North Carolina State of the
HOUSTON - The Cougars took on Texas State in Saturday's season opener, and the
result of that perceived mismatch was a 68-28 victory. Case Keenum kicked off
his Heisman campaign with five touchdown passes and 274 passing yards,
although he did throw a pair of interceptions. Patrick Edwards led the
receivers with 80 receiving yards and a score. It is staggering to note that
Houston only possessed the ball for 16:59 of a possible 60 minutes, as the
squad finished with 35 fewer rushing attempts than Texas State. Still, four
takeaways helped the Cougars cruise to victory. Conference USA play begins on
Friday for the Cougars, as they will play host to Texas-El Paso.
RICE - The Owls were obviously huge underdogs heading into Saturday's season
opener against Texas. Despite a solid effort, that game ended in a 34-17
defeat. Taylor McHargue completed 6-of-11 passes for 90 yards, one touchdown,
and an interception for the Owls (0-1), who went just 2-10 last year. Randy
Kitchens caught a TD pass and Charles Ross ran for a score. The Longhorns had
369 yards of total offense, compared to 219 yards for Rice. The time of
possession battle in the tilt was fairly even, but the Owls would like to have
back two turnovers. The level of competition decreases this upcoming weekend,
as North Texas will be the opponent for Rice.
SMU - The Mustangs opened the season on Sunday in Lubbock against the Texas
Tech Red Raiders, and while SMU certainly put forth a strong effort against a
talented Big 12 team, the result was a 35-27 setback. Kyle Padron was 21-of-38
passing for 218 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions, while Cole
Beasley had five catches for 57 yards and two scores for the Mustangs. SMU was
able to hold Texas Tech scoreless in the fourth quarter, but the Red Raiders'
starting quarterback still finished the game with 359 passing yards and four
touchdown tosses. The Mustangs will clash with UAB in Dallas this weekend in
what should be a competitive C-USA affair.
TEXAS-EL PASO - The Miners began this new campaign with a home game against
Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday and treated the fans to a 31-10 win. Texas-El
Paso controlled the game on the ground, racking up 234 rushing yards while
limiting the opponent to 76 yards. All four touchdowns came on running plays
for the Miners, as both Vernon Frazier and Joe Banyard scored twice. Banyard
finished with a team-high 94 yards on 19 carries, while Frazier needed a mere
six carries to post 89 yards. Trevor Vittatoe, the club's quarterback,
completed 17-of-27 passes for 229 yards and one interception. The Miners will
have their hands full on Saturday with a road game against Houston.
TULANE - On Thursday, the Green Wave began the 2010 season with a 27-21
victory over Southeastern Louisiana in a game that was closer than most fans
expected. Orleans Darkwa, a freshman running back, ran for 75 yards and three
touchdowns to lead the way in the win. In large part because of Darkwa, Tulane
held possession of the ball for nearly 36 minutes. Quarterback Ryan Griffin
completed 17-of-26 passes for 129 yards with one interception for the Green
Wave, who got seven receptions from D.J. Banks. Tulane will play at home for
the second straight weekend, as Ole Miss of the SEC comes to town on Saturday.
TULSA - The Golden Hurricane clashed with East Carolina in the season and
conference opener for both teams this past weekend, and the result was a
heart-breaking 51-49 defeat. The loss came in dramatic fashion, as Tulsa
surrendered a touchdown pass on the final play of the game. G.J. Kinne went
28-of-43 with 399 yards, five touchdowns and an interception for the Golden
Hurricane , who fell to 5-5 all-time against East Carolina. Charles Clay had
eight catches for 86 yards and a score in the loss. The Golden Hurricane will
play their first home game of the season on Saturday against Bowling Green.