Week 7 Conference USA football rankings and reactions. Western Kentucky and Marshall remained the final two unbeaten teams in league play with wins over North Texas and Florida Atlantic, respectively.
Conference USA Player of the Week
Old Dominion WR Zach Pascal caught 11 passes for 231 yards and three scores in the win over Charlotte.
Week 7 Conference USA Football Rankings
1. Western Kentucky: W, at North Texas 55-28
Another week, another blowout for everyone’s favorite daily fantasy squad. But the Hilltopper defensive staff won’t be at all happy after the D allowed 28 points for a second straight week, the most scored by the Mean Green all year. While WKU can outgun just about everyone on the schedule, it’ll need better tackling and pass coverage in second-half games with LSU, Marshall and possibly the West Division champ.
2. Louisiana Tech: L, at Mississippi State 45-20
Decent quarterbacks are going to move the ball through the air on the Bulldogs. Dak Prescott, who completed 30-of-43 for 347 yards and three touchdowns, is way north of decent. The La Tech secondary has been a disappointment for much of the season, failing to capitalize on the experience and the talent of the defensive backs. The Bulldogs have now allowed 14 touchdown passes to only six picks.
3. Marshall: W, at Florida Atlantic 33-17
New week, new feature back carrying the offensive load. Hyleck Foster became the third different Herd player to rush for more than 100 yards in a game this season, a credit to the work being done by the guys in front of him. Foster is a wide receiver who’d never taken carries before, yet he busted loose for 122 yards against FAU as part of a 326-yard Marshall outburst on the ground.
4. Southern Miss: W, UTSA 32-10
Nice rebound from last week’s rough loss to Marshall, Golden Eagles, but you need to cut out the turnovers. Fast. Southern Miss can get away with three Nick Mullens’ interceptions and a lost fumble against UTSA. However, the Eagles may not be so fortunate in November trips to Rice and Louisiana Tech, which could decide whether or not they’re still playing in December.
5. Middle Tennessee: W, Florida International 42-34
The Blue Raiders have found help for QB Brent Stockstill. The Middle Tennessee ground troops came to life around a pair of unlikely runners, Desmond Anderson and Kamani Thomas, neither of who had rushed for more than 66 yards in a game this fall. However, the little-used underclassmen combined for 195 yards and five touchdowns, relegating the veteran Middle Tennessee backs to a secondary role as the staff looks for new energy.
6. Rice: Bye Week
Next week: vs. Army
7. Florida International: L, at Middle Tennessee 42-34
What just happened to the Panther defense? The Middle Tennessee blockers, who paved the way for 200 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, shoved around an FIU D that had been so solid during the first half of 2015. Ron Turner must correct his D as quickly as possible, because his offense isn’t reliable enough to compensate for a defense unable to make big stops.
8. Old Dominion: W, Charlotte 37-34
What took you so long to put David Washington behind center, Coach Wilder? The Monarchs were struggling all year with rookie Shuler Bentley at quarterback, so it’s kind of strange that Bobby Wilder waited this long to give Washington, a wide receiver by trade, a shot to lead the huddle. ODU finally unleashed Washington, who responded with more than 400 total yards and four touchdowns in the win.
9. UTSA: L, at Southern Miss 32-10
Well, the excitement over young QB Dalton Strum sure was short-lived. The former walk-on came off the bench to light a fuse under the offense in last week’s close loss to Louisiana Tech. But he was a non-factor in Hattiesburg, completing just six passes for 66 yards and rarely getting loose outside the pocket. The Roadrunners remain wildly inconsistent with the ball, particularly as Blake Bogenschutz recovers from a head injury.
10. UTEP: Bye Week
Next week: vs. Florida Atlantic
11. Florida Atlantic: L, Marshall 33-17
The Owls are a pretty bad football team these days, but far worse when QB Jaquez Johnson is unable to suit up. Johnson missed the Marshall game, denying Florida Atlantic its best weapon on offense. Backup Jason Driskel isn’t ready—or especially accurate—which is impacting the entire attack. However, rookie RB Trey Rodriguez did show flashes in his first meaningful action.
12. Charlotte: L, at Old Dominion 37-34
The 49ers can score, but they can’t make enough timely stops to turn moral victories into actual ones. And until the defense gets stronger and deeper, Charlotte will remain an FCS-like squad playing an FBS schedule. The 49ers racked up more than 300 yards on the ground, most from Kalif Phillips, but couldn’t stop Monarch QB David Washington, who played his first four games at wide receiver.
13. North Texas: L, Western Kentucky 55-28
The Mean Green played hard for interim head coach Mike Canales, which should make the second half of the year slightly more tolerable for the players and the fans. North Texas also enjoyed a little offensive spark out of talented JUCO transfer QB DaMarcus Smith, who rushed for 122 yards and completed 17-of-35 for 228 yards, four touchdowns and a pick in the latest lopsided loss.