ARMY (0-3, 0-1): In kicking off their conference season on Saturday, the Black Knights were looking for their first win of the season while hosting Tulane. Trailing 22-6 at the half, Army came back fighting
early in the 3rd quarter with WR Aaron Alexander catching a 28-yard TD pass from QB Zac Dahman who finished 26-43 for 308 yards with 3 touchdowns, but some late turnovers put the game out of reach as the Green Wave offense kept pouring on the points as the Cadets fell 50-33. Next Saturday, ESPN’s College Gameday will take their road show to West Point for the game against South Florida.
Zac Dahman (Army)
CINCINNATI (3-0, 1-0): Hosting the Owls of Temple on Saturday, UC probably wasn’t expecting much of a fight from their guests, but that’s exactly what happened as the 5th-ranked defense in the country gave up 522 total yards and needed three overtimes to win a wild game, 30-24. RB Richard Hall had only 13 carries for 68 yards, but recorded 3 touchdowns (including the only score in overtime) in the win. QB Gino Guidugli went 29-43 for 321 yards and had one TD strike while leading the Bearcats in their 14-point comeback in the final period. This Saturday, Cincinnati will take their first 3-0 start in 18 seasons on the road as they take on in-state rival Miami, OH.
Head Coach Rick Minter on this week’s game against Miami, OH: "They may very well be the best offensive team, if not the best football team we’ve played to this point, and I say that honestly...They put about 90 points on the board combined against Colorado State and Northwestern, and took them both to the woodshed."
EAST CAROLINA (0-4, 0-1): On the road against local ACC-rival Wake Forest on Saturday night, the Pirates racked up a season-high 391 total yards on offense, but committed five costly turnovers as they lost to the Demon Deacons 34-16. QB Desmond Robinson finished 22-33 for 190 yards to go along with his 3 interceptions. He also led ECU in rushing with 50 yards off 8 carries. East Carolina has this weekend off, but are waiting for a Tuesday night nationally televised game on September 30th against Houston. The game will air on ESPN2.
HOUSTON (3-1, 0-0):
As one of the surprising teams of this young season in Conference USA, the Cougars hosted the Bulldogs of Mississippi State on Saturday looking for their best start in 23 years. Once again, QB Kevin Kolb was the star as he completed 20 of 29 passes for 321 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions while being named the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week as the Cougars defeated their SEC opponents 42-35. The UH defense was equally impressive, picking off 5 passes from MSU QB Kevin Fant in the win. Houston’s next game is a week from Tuesday when they travel to Greenville, NC for a match-up with East Carolina.
Art Briles (UH)
Head Coach Art Briles on Kolb’s development: "He’s pretty familiar with it by now. Hopefully he can continue to improve. We’ve got some guys that can catch the ball and it was a good team effort the other night, but Kevin’s growing each game and I think he’ll continue to get better throughout the season."
LOUISVILLE (3-0, 0-0): Despite allowing the first score of the game in Saturday’s home opener against Texas-El Paso, the Cardinals recorded 6 touchdowns from 6 different players, including a 1-yard run from 350-pound OL Kurt Quarterman, in a 42-14 decision over the Miners. QB Stefan LeFors finished 12-19 for 164 yards and 2 touchdowns while before being relieved by backup Justin Rascati early in the third quarter. The win was the fourth home opening one in the 6 seasons of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and also gave UTEP their 6th straight road loss to C-USA schools.
Head Coach Bobby Petrino on the offensive line’s improvement: "Well, I think the philosophy of offense has helped them a little bit...We have all sorts of different scheming, while a year ago it was pretty much all zone...Coach Summers is very experienced and has them all playing very well."
MEMPHIS (2-1, 0-1): After losing for the 9th time in 10 seasons against Southern Mississippi last week, the Tigers had the week off as they prepare for next Saturday’s home game against Arkansas State in the Liberty Bowl. The Indians are coached by Steve Roberts and are a member of the Sun Belt Conference. They have started off the year at 2-2, with the losses being at traditional powerhouse Texas A&M and at Tulsa.
SOUTH FLORIDA (1-1, 0-0): Still in the middle of their 21-day layoff from the September 6th win against Nicholls State in Tampa, the Bulls are ready for their first Division 1-A conference game in the school’s history as they will make the trek to Army on Saturday. However, this is not USF’s first taste of Conference USA football. Last season, South Florida went 4-0 against C-USA teams (including two wins on the road) as a Division 1-A Independent, finishing the year 9-2 and without a bowl appearance.
SOUTHERN MISS (2-1, 2-0): Despite being idle this past weekend, Hattiesburg was anything but quiet last week. On Thursday the Golden Eagles learned that QB Micky D’Angelo suffered a concussion in the second half of last Saturday’s win against Memphis and will be out of the lineup for at least a month. Head Coach Jeff Bower announced that backup Desmond Almond will get the starting nod this Thursday as USM will host one of the biggest games in recent history when Nebraska comes to 'The Rock' for an ESPN-televised game.
TEXAS CHRISTIAN (3-0, 1-0): After losing starting RB Ricky Madison for the season, backup Lonta Hobbs was ready to take over the load for the Horned Frogs during Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt.
However, midway through the first quarter, Hobbs left the game with an injured foot, putting freshman Robert Merrill into the limelight. He didn’t disappoint, having 29 carries for 129 yards and a score to go along with his 3 catches for 44 yards in TCU’s 30-14 win, their 9th straight victory at home. This Saturday, the Frogs go west for a game with the Pac-10’s Wildcats of Arizona in Tucson.
Gary Patterson (TCU)
Head Coach Gary Patterson on the team fighting through adversity: "We’ve had some things go wrong, but I’m really happy with the kids and the way they’ve gone through things. We need to make our team better with the players we have left."
TULANE (3-1, 1-1): In another awe-inspiring performance on Saturday afternoon at Army, QB J.P. Losman, the leading passer in Conference USA, went off again, completing an error-free 24 of 36 passes for 350 yards and 5 touchdowns as the Green Wave rolled 50-33. WR Roydell Williams led the receiving attack with 6 catches for 74 yards and 3 TD receptions. TU has a big game this Saturday evening when they take on one of the Big XII’s best as they visit Texas. The game will be broadcast on TBS.
Head Coach Chris Scelfo on leading the nation with 15 forced turnovers: "I think from a coach’s standpoint that anytime you can get a turnover, it gives the offense a chance to score. With our defense as young as it is, and from a personnel standpoint, it’s an advantage for us...As our offense grows and develops, it will become a double-edged advantage."
UAB (1-3, 0-1): On Saturday, the Blazers went on the road for a game against the SEC’s Gamecocks of South Carolina. Unfortunately, UAB came out flat, and the Blazers fell behind 28-0 at intermission. In the second half, they were able to get a pair of scoring drives together, but that wasn’t enough as South Carolina ran away in the 42-10 decision. QB Darrell Hackney finished 17-38 for 141 yards and a score, but also threw two interceptions in front of a crowd of 80,523 at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Blazers now have a week off as they resume their conference slate a week from Saturday at Memphis.
PATRICK CRUSH’S THREE-STAR GAMES OF THE WEEK
THREE STARS: Nebraska (3-0, 1-0) vs. Southern Mississippi (2-1, 2-0) (Thursday, 7:30 PM)
TWO STARS: Cincinnati (3-0, 1-0) vs. Miami, OH (2-1, 0-0) (Saturday, 2:00 PM)
ONE STAR: Temple (0-3, 0-0) vs. Louisville (3-0, 0-0) (Saturday, 3:00 PM)