Week 4 Conference USA Football Roundup
C-USA Player of the Week
Western Kentucky QB Brandon Doughty completed 33-of-41 for 457 yards, six touchdowns and no picks in the Hilltoppers’ 56-14 blowout of Miami University.
Future Bright at Middle Tennessee
The Blue Raiders suffered a heartbreaker in Champaign, losing to Illinois, 27-25, on a 51-yard Taylor Zalewski field goal with just over two minutes left. It was a painful lost opportunity for a program that struggles for attention in the Volunteer State.
But Middle Tennessee is going to win a lot of games over the next three years with Brent Stockstill, the coach’s son, under center.
Stockstill is poised beyond his years, despite being in his first season of action. He throws accurate darts, completing 29-of-42 passes for 330 yards, three touchdowns and no picks against a Big Ten D that harassed him for much of the day. And Stockstill has the smarts and football IQ of, well, a coach’s son.
The younger Stockstill is the type of player Group of Five programs are built around. He’s a bedrock kind of kid, who has completed almost 70% of his passes and thrown 12 touchdowns to just a pair of picks in his first four games. Think Middle Tennessee’s Kellen Moore.
The Blue Raiders have been steady under Coach Stockstill, going to four bowl games in his nine years. But it’s Quarterback Stockstill who’s liable to get the program over the hump by winning a Conference USA championship in the next couple of years.
Middle Tennessee suffered a crushing loss at Illinois in Week 4 that won’t be quickly forgotten. Long term, though, the Blue Raiders will be fine, because a Stockstill on the sideline and in the huddle is a combination loaded with all kinds of potential and possibilities.
W, Florida International 27-17
The Bulldogs finally played well on defense following back-to-back losses. True, Florida International was the opponent, but La Tech is in no position to be particular right now. The Bulldogs are getting excellent reps from LB Beau Fitte, who plays a position of need in Ruston. In Saturday’s 27-17 win, the senior bagged a game-high 14 tackles, 2.5 of which were behind the line of scrimmage.
W, at Kent State 36-29
The Thundering Herd found a way to defeat Kent State with backups, like QB Chase Litton and RB Tony Pittman, playing pivotal roles. That’s the good news for Doc Holliday. The bad news is that Marshall is a shell of the team that won the conference title a year ago. It gave up too many chunk yards to a poor offense, and had a rough time at the line of scrimmage with the Golden Flashes. Without significant improvement, this program will not be a repeat champ.
L, at Baylor 70-17
The Owls took two shots at Big 12 opponents, Texas and Baylor, and came up short in both. Embarrassingly short against the Bears, 70-17. But David Bailiff’s team doesn’t get judged by how it performs against the state’s marquee programs. Nor should it. Rice is still a prime contender in the Conference West, so bring on league games, because another drubbing like Saturday’s is going to damage the Owls’ egos and confidence.
L, at Nebraska 36-28
The Golden Eagles won’t ever be out of a game this fall as long as QB Nick Mullens is on the field. Sure, Southern Miss fell to Nebraska, but it put up a heck of a fight, thanks to Mullens’ arm. The Eagles battled back from a 22-0 deficit to make it a game in the fourth quarter, with Mullens chucking for 447 yards. Plus, Casey Martin and Michael Thomas give the team a pair of quality pass-catchers.
L, Colorado State 33-31
Roadrunner head coach Larry Coker raved about Williams during the offseason. In Saturday’s loss to Colorado State, fans got a chance to see what the fuss was about. Williams spearheaded the attack with 170 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries, including an 85-yard explosion to narrow the divide in the fourth quarter. UTSA will need more big plays out of Williams, because the passing game has been tanking since the opener.
W, Miami Univ. 56-14
Brandon Doughty threw six touchdown passes and the Hilltoppers scored 56 points in a rout of Miami University. But rare D contributions were especially encouraging for a team with defensive deficiencies. Western Kentucky produced 10 tackles for loss, three sacks and three interceptions. And while the RedHawks are impotent, it was an effort WKU can use as a building block.
Conference USA Football Rankings After Week 4
Conference USA East
1. WKU (3-1)
2. Marshall (3-1)
3. Middle Tennessee (2-2)
4. FIU (2-2)
5. Old Dominion (2-2)
6. Florida Atlantic (1-3)
7. Charlotte (2-2)
Conference USA West
1. Louisiana Tech (2-2)
2. Rice (2-2)
3. Southern Miss (2-2)
4. UTEP (2-2)
5. North Texas (0-3)
6. UTSA (0-4)
Scores & Picks: How’d We Do?
2015 Conference USA Football Picks Through Week 4: Straight Up: 32-9, ATS: 24-14
at Nebraska 36, Southern Miss 28
Line:: Nebraska -22, o/u: 68, Prediction: Nebraska 42, Southern Miss 23
at Louisiana Tech 27, FIU 17
Line: Louisiana Tech -14.5, o/u: 57, Prediction: Louisiana Tech 34, Florida International 17
Marshall 36, at Kent State 29 2OT
Line: Marshall -9, o/u: 52.5, Prediction: Marshall 28, Kent State 13
at WKU 56, Miami University 14
Line: Western Kentucky -20.5, o/u: 67.5, Prediction: Western Kentucky 48, Miami Univ. 21
Appalachian State 49, at Old Dominion 0
Line: Appalachian State -7.5, o/u: 58.5, Prediction: Appalachian State 31, Old Dominion 21
at Iowa 62, North Texas 16
Line: Iowa -25, o/u: 51, Prediction: Iowa 40, North Texas 13
at Illinois 27, Middle Tennessee 25
Line: Illinois -6.5, o/u: 61.5, Prediction: Illinois 38, Middle Tennessee 30
Colorado State 33, at UTSA 31
Line: Colorado State -9.5, o/u: 58.5, Prediction: Colorado State 31, UTSA 16
Florida Atlantic 17, at Charlotte 7
Line: Charlotte -7.5, o/u: 59, Prediction: Florida Atlantic 38, Charlotte 21
at UTEP 27, Incarnate Word 17
Line: No Line, o/u: No Line, Prediction: UTEP 51, Incarnate Word 13