Keeping up with C-USA: Herd pull off OT win over Monarchs, Charlotte out front in the east

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RYAN FISCHER | HD Media

Marshall quarterback Grant Wells gets set to pass during the Thundering Herd’s game against Old Dominion at Joan C. Edwards Stadium on Oct. 9, 2021.

Wyatt Sparkman, Football reporter

Week six of Conference USA football is in the books. WKU lost its first conference game on Saturday night at home to UTSA in a 52-46 nailbiter, but here’s how the rest of C-USA shook out:

Interconference

Charlotte 49ers vs Florida International Golden Panthers

Charlotte (4-2, 2-0 C-USA) traveled to Miami, Florida, to win its first C-USA road game of the year in dominant fashion, taking home a 45-33 victory against the Florida International Panthers (1-5, 0-2 C-USA) Friday night to stay atop the east division standings.

Charlotte redshirt senior quarterback Chris Reynolds completed 78% of his passes for 203 yards and four touchdowns. FIU quarterback Max Bortenschlager tossed for 466 yards and four scores with an interception.

FIU sophomore wide receiver Tyrese Chambers put together a Randy Moss-esque stat line, catching just three passes for 201 yards and two scores. 

The 49ers will welcome FAU to town for their next matchup while the Panthers will take a bye week before hosting the Hilltoppers on Oct. 23.

Marshall Thundering Herd vs Old Dominion Monarchs

The Thundering Herd (3-3, 1-1 C-USA) pulled out a 20-13 overtime win against the Old Dominion Monarchs (1-5, 0-2 C-USA) Saturday afternoon in Huntington, West Virginia.

Marshall tied the game on a 52-yard touchdown pass from redshirt freshman signal caller Grant Wells with 33 second left on the clock before winning the game in overtime on a 22-yard touchdown pass. 

Wells completed 65% of his passes for 299 yards and two scores with two interceptions. Redshirt sophomore halfback Blake Watson rushed for 168 yards on 26 carries for a whopping 6.4 yards per carry. 

The Herd are set to face the North Texas Mean Green on the road this week while and the Monarchs are getting ready for a visit from the Hilltoppers on Saturday afternoon. 

Alabama-Birmingham Blazers vs Florida Atlantic Owls

The Blazers (4-2, 2-0 C-USA) hosted conference foe FAU (3-3, 1-1 C-USA) on Saturday, holding the lead throughout to win 31-14. UAB redshirt junior safety Grayson Cash returned a 100-yard interception to the house right before halftime. 

UAB redshirt junior defensive lineman Fish McWilliams and junior outside linebacker Alex Wright finished the game with two sacks each, wrapping up a solid day of defense for the Blazers who sit tied with UTEP and UTSA for the lead of the west division.

FAU graduate signal caller N’Kosi Perry threw for just 193 yards with one score and three interceptions in an uncharacteristically poor performance.

The Blazers will travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi this weekend to take on Southern Mississippi. FAU will take a bye week to regroup after the loss before facing the 49ers away on Oct. 21.

Texas-El Paso Miners vs Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles 

The Miners (5-1, 2-0 C-USA) won their first C-USA road game of the year 26-13 against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (1-5, 0-2 C-USA) Saturday night. 

UTEP redshirt junior running back Ronald Awatt put on a show throughout the game, rushing for 159 yards and a score on a ridiculous 8.8 yards per carry. 

Southern Miss freshman quarterback Jake Lange completed 64.5% of his passes for 239 yards and an interception while reaching the end zone twice in a solid showing for the young gun.

The Miners will welcome the LA Tech Bulldogs to the Sun Bowl on Saturday evening while the Eagles are staring down a rough matchup against the visiting UAB Blazers.

Non-Conference

Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders 

MTSU (2-4, 1-2 C-USA) traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia and lost to the Liberty Flames (5-1) 41-13 Saturday afternoon. MTSU redshirt junior quarterback Chase Cunningham played well, tossing for 232 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. 

The Blue Raiders will now take their bye week before facing the lovable UConn Huskies, who are still searching for their first victory this season.

North Texas Mean Green 

North Texas (1-4, 0-2 C-USA) lost on the road 48-35 Saturday night against the SEC’s Missouri Tigers (3-3, 0-2 SEC). Mean Green sophomore quarterback Austin Aune tossed for 305 yards and four touchdowns but was hampered by two interceptions in the high-scoring matchup.

The Mean Green will look to bounce back from the close loss during their home matchup against Marshall on Friday.

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