Keeping up with C-USA: Roadrunners earn national attention, Rice breaks through for first victory

Wyatt Sparkman, Football reporter

Week four of Conference USA football action included Old Dominion losing on a missed extra point, UTSA defeating the Memphis Tigers and Rice finally picking up its first win of the season. Read on to catch up on everything that went down around C-USA this week:

C-USA East 

Charlotte 49ers vs Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

Charlotte (3-1, 1-0 C-USA) hosted its Conference USA foe Middle Tennessee (1-3, 0-2 C-USA) on Friday night, winning a high-scoring affair 42-39. Both teams totaled over 1,000 yards of offense. 

49ers redshirt senior quarterback Chris Reynolds threw for 339 yards and four touchdowns, while Blue Raiders redshirt junior quarterback Chase Cunningham threw for 379 yards and five touchdowns. Charlotte’s running back duo of redshirt senior Calvin Camp and junior Shadrick Byrd combined for 173 yards on the ground and a score. 

Florida Atlantic Owls 

FAU (2-2) traveled to Colorado to play the Air Force Falcons (3-1, 0-1 Mountain West) on Saturday evening, losing 31-7. FAU graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry completed a dreadful 33% of his passes for just 78 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. 

Florida International Panthers 

The Panthers (1-3) traveled north to Mount Pleasant, Michigan to play the Central Michigan Chippewas (2-2), losing a heartbreaker 31-27 Saturday afternoon. FIU redshirt senior quarterback Max Bortenschlager threw an interception on the last play of the game, ending the Panthers’ comeback effort.

FIU had two different receivers eclipse 170 yards of offense. Sophomore wide receiver Tyrese Chambers caught six passes for a whopping 175 yards and one score while redshirt junior wide receiver Bryce Singleton caught six passes for 173 yards. 

Marshall Thundering Herd

Marshall (2-2) lost its second consecutive game Thursday night in a crushing 31-30 defeat against the Appalachian State Mountaineers (3-1). App State senior kicker Chandler Staton made the game-winning 45-yard field goal with 4:32 left to play.

Thundering Herd redshirt freshman quarterback Grant Wells completed 54% of his passes for 270 yards with one touchdown. Marshall running back Rasheen Ali rushed for 83 yards, averaging 4.9 yards a carry and contributing a score. 

Old Dominion Monarchs

The Monarchs (1-3) lost a nailbiter 35-34 against Buffalo (2-2) on Saturday. ODU fought back from a 35-7 deficit entering halftime but kicker Nick Rice’s extra point to tie the game in the fourth quarter was no good and the Bulls walked away with the win.

Monarch signal caller D.J. Mack Jr. went 24-of-41 for 224 yards and a touchdown along with an interception. Mack led the way on the ground as well, rushing for 84 yards and a pair of scores.

C-USA West 

Alabama-Birmingham Blazers 

UAB (3-1, 1-0 C-USA) defeated Tulane (1-3) on Saturday 28-21 to wrap up the Blazers’ four-game road stretch to open the season.

Blazers quarterback Dylan Hopkins set a new career-best in passing yardage, tossing for 240 yards on 18-of-26 passing with a trio of touchdowns and an interception.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs North Texas Mean Green 

The LA Tech Bulldogs (2-2, 1-0 C-USA) held off the North Texas Mean Green (1-3, 0-2 C-USA) by a score of 24-17 on Saturday. The Bulldogs held a 24-0 lead with ten minutes remaining until halftime and prevented the Mean Green from taking its first C-USA victory of the year.

LA Tech senior quarterback Austin Kendall did not start and Aaron Allen got the nod instead. Allen kept the ball out of the hands of the defense, finishing with 137 yards on 14-of-18 passing. The Bulldogs also put freshman JD Head under center, who passed for his first collegiate touchdown and 70 yards.

Mean Green running back DeAndre Torrey got the ball 26 times, contributing 119 yards of offense and a touchdown for North Texas.

Rice Owls 

Rice (1-3) continued its non-conference slate, this time picking up a 48-34 victory over FCS Texas Southern to finally notch a victory on the year.

Owls quarterback Jake Constantine completed 18-of-23 passes for 271 yards and one touchdown and interception apiece. Constantine is the third QB the Owls have utilized so far this season.

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles 

Southern Miss (1-3) felt the wrath of the Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0) on Saturday, falling 63-14 to the No.1 team in the nation.

Golden Eagles quarterback Ty Keyes provided a pair of touchdowns and 131 yards of offense through the air, but it’s hard to put up much of a fight against one of college football’s most well-oiled machines.

Texas-El Paso Miners

UTEP (3-1) kept the New Mexico Lobos (2-2) at bay, eking out a 20-13 win on Saturday. The Miners were down 13-3 at the half but UTEP quarterback Gavin Hardison led his team out of the hole with 293 yards of offense through the air and a touchdown.

Wide receiver Jacob Cowing hauled in seven passes for 174 yards and the Lobos were held to just 288 yards of offense.

Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners 

The Roadrunners (4-0, 1-0 C-USA) continue to prove they are the real deal. UTSA defeated the Memphis Tigers in their own house 31-28 on Saturday.

Running back Sincere McCormick continued his stellar campaign, turning 42 carries into 184 yards and a trio of touchdowns. McCormick broke free for a 22-yard run to set up the Roadrunners for the game-winning field goal.

UTSA’s impressive start to the year coupled with its upset of the Tigers earned the program four votes in this week’s AP Top 25 poll.

Football reporter Wyatt Sparkman can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @wyattsparkman3. Sports Editor Jake Moore contributed to this article.