Keeping up with C-USA: UAB steamrolls Mean Green, Bulldogs drop heartbreaker to SMU

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UAB Athletics

Keondre Swoopes (0) and Will Boler (21) celebrate an interception during UAB’s 40-6 win over North Texas, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, at Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas.

Wyatt Sparkman, Football reporter

Multiple Conference USA programs entered conference play this week, going head-to-head against their C-USA foes. WKU may have enjoyed a bye week, but there’s still a full slate of football action to catch up on:

C-USA East 

Charlotte 49ers 

Charlotte (2-1) lost its first game of the season 20-9 Saturday night to the winless Georgia State Panthers (1-2). The 49ers’ senior defensive end Markees Watt served as the lone bright spot, racking up 13 tackles with one tackle for loss and a sack. 

Florida Atlantic Owls 

The Owls (2-1) dominated FCS Fordham (0-3) at home 45-14 Saturday evening. FAU graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry tossed two touchdowns for 278 yards while rushing for another touchdown. FAU freshman wide receiver LaJohntay Wester caught 10 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. 

Florida International Panthers 

FIU (1-2) traveled to Lubbock, Texas, Saturday night to play the Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-0). The Red Raiders’ 28-point second quarter propelled them to a 54-21 victory. FIU redshirt senior quarterback Max Bortenschlager threw for 185 yards, completing a dreadful 44.4% of his passes along with two touchdowns and one interception. 

Marshall Thundering Herd

The Herd (2-1) was upset 42-38 at home Saturday evening by the East Carolina Pirates (1-2). ECU executed a 17-point fourth quarter after converting an onside kick with 2:31 left in the game. ECU freshman running back Rahjai Harris capped off the comeback with a one-yard touchdown run. 

Marshall totaled 647 yards of offense, including redshirt freshman quarterback Grant Wells’ 433 yards through the air and running back Rasheen Ali’s 189 yards on the ground. Ali scored three rushing touchdowns in the game, while Wells tossed one but threw two interceptions. 

Old Dominion Monarchs 

ODU (1-2) traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia to play the Liberty Flames (3-0) Saturday night. The Flames controlled the game throughout on the way to a dominant 45-17 win over the Monarchs. Junior quarterback D.J. Mack Jr. threw for 134 yards with one touchdown and an interception. 

C-USA West 

Alabama-Birmingham Blazers vs North Texas Mean Green

UAB (2-1, 1-0 C-USA) rolled over the North Texas Mean Green (1-2, 0-1 C-USA) by a score of 40-6 on Saturday night in Denton, Texas. Blazers backup quarterback Dylan Hopkins tossed three touchdowns for 202 yards, accomplishing all of this on just 6-of-7 passing.

The win was a bounce-back victory for UAB, which had lost to the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs the week before. Tight end Gerritt Prince caught 42-yard and 61-yard receptions and finished with 136 yards of offense on just three catches in the lopsided win.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 

The Bulldogs (1-2) hosted the Southern Methodist Mustangs (3-0) and lost 39-37 on a stomach churning Hail Mary that was deflected up in the air and caught by SMU senior wide receiver Reggie Robinson Jr. 

La Tech graduate quarterback Austin Kendall threw for a whopping 351 yards and four touchdowns with one interception while freshman wide receiver Tre Harris caught five passes for 102 yards with a pair of scores. 

Rice Owls 

Rice (0-3) continued its non-conference gauntlet, failing to put up a point in a 58-0 thrashing from the Texas Longhorns (2-1). Rice had previously lost to Arkansas and Houston and has been outscored 140-24 so far this year. 

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

The Golden Eagles (1-2) surrendered 21 second-half points in a 21-9 defeat at the hands of the Sun Belt’s Troy Trojans (2-1) at home. Southern Miss running back Frank Gore Jr. managed just 31 yards rushing after averaging 121.5 yards across his first two games this season.

Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners vs Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

UTSA (3-0, 1-0 C-USA) opened up conference play by defeating the East Division’s MTSU Blue Raiders (1-2, 0-1 C-USA) 27-13. Roadrunner running back Sincere McCormick rushed for 105 yards and UTSA quarterback Frank Harris went 24-of-39 for 264 yards with a pair of both touchdowns and interceptions.

MTSU quarterback Chase Cunningham went 9-for-18 for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.

Football reporter Wyatt Sparkman can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @wyattsparkman3.