Keeping up with C-USA: UTSA stays perfect, Monarchs stomp Panthers

Wyatt Sparkman, Football reporter

It’s been a busy week for Conference USA. The league announced the 2023 additions of Liberty, New Mexico State, Sam Houston State and Jacksonville State on Friday and Middle Tennessee confirmed it will stay in the conference on Wednesday morning.

It’s easy to forget there was C-USA football this week, too.

UTSA Roadrunners vs UTEP Miners

No. 15 UTSA (9-0, 5-0 C-USA) took down the Miners (6-3, 3-2 C-USA) 44-23 at the Sun Bowl on Saturday night, continuing the Roadrunner’s perfect season. UTSA is one of just four remaining undefeated FBS programs.

UTSA star quarterback Frank Harris compiled 286 yards of offense, scoring twice with his arm and twice with his legs. Running back Sincere McCormick struck for a 75-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game, finishing with 169 yards on 21 carries.

UTSA led 30-9 at the half, scoring each of the first six times the Roadrunners had the ball, and handily kept UTEP at bay to continue its winning streak. Miners quarterback Gavin Hardison went 13-of-30 for three scores, but UTEP walked out of the Sun Bowl defeated for the first time this year.

The Roadrunners will have a chance to hit double-digit wins as they host the stagnant Southern Miss Golden Eagles (1-8, 0-5 C-USA) on Nov. 13. UTEP will try to shake off the loss and rebound at North Texas (3-6, 2-3 C-USA) this Saturday. 

North Texas Mean Green vs Southern Miss Golden Eagles

The Mean Green (3-6, 2-3 C-USA) utilized a dual rushing attack to beat down Southern Miss (1-8, 0-5 C-USA) in the Eagle’s own house on Saturday. The two-headed monster of Isaiah Johnson and Ikaika Ragsdale combined for 231 yards on the ground and three scores, leading to a 38-14 North Texas triumph.

The Golden Eagles put up all of their 14 points in the first quarter, failing to score for the last 45 minutes of game time. North Texas edged Southern Miss in total yards to the tune of 537-229.

Southern Miss running back Frank Gore Jr. was contained as he only managed 82 yards and did not find the end zone. 

Marshall Thundering Herd vs Florida Atlantic Owls

Marshall (6-3, 4-1 C-USA) took down the Owls (5-4, 3-2 C-USA) 28-13 in Boca Raton, Florida on Saturday to tie WKU for the lead in C-USA’s east division.

Marshall got on the board immediately as receiver Jayden Harrison ran the opening kickoff 99 yards back for a score. The Herd held a 21-13 lead at the half and shut out the Owls across the final two quarters to seal the win.

Herd quarterback Grant Wells had a solid day, throwing for 350 yards on 26-of-38 passing for a score and a pick. FAU star quarterback N’Kosi Perry was kept in check, only amassing 197 yards with one touchdown pass. 

Herd wideout Willie Johnson pulled in a 65-yard score and finished with 140 yards on just five targets, catching every pass that came his way. 

Marshall returns home to face UAB (6-3, 4-1 C-USA) on Saturday and FAU will head up to Norfolk, Virginia to take on Old Dominion (3-6, 2-3 C-USA).

Alabama-Birmingham Blazers vs Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

UAB (6-3, 4-1 C-USA) bounced back with a dominant 52-38 win over LA Tech (2-7, 1-4 C-USA) Saturday afternoon. Blazer sophomore halfback DeWayne McBride slaughtered the Bulldog defense for 210 yards and four touchdowns. LA Tech freshman quarterback JD Head slung the ball for 196 yards with two scores. 

Up next, UAB travels to Huntington, West Virginia to play the Marshall Thundering Herd, while La Tech will head back to home to host the Charlotte 49ers on Saturday. 

Charlotte 49ers vs Rice Owls 

The 49ers (5-4, 3-2 C-USA) won a 31-24 overtime thriller against the Owls (3-6, 2-3 C-USA) on their homecoming night Saturday.

Charlotte tied the game up 24-24 on five-play, 80 yard drive that was capped with redshirt senior Chris Reynolds’ eight-yard touchdown pass to freshman Elijah Spencer with 1:14 left in the game. Reynolds found Spencer again in overtime before a Luke Martin interception sealed the win. 

Reynolds tossed for 292 yards and three scores, while Spencer caught six passes for 77 yards and two TDs. Owls redshirt sophomore running back Ari Broussard slashed the 49er defense for 186 yards and two touchdowns. 

Charlotte will now travel to Ruston, Louisiana, looking to become bowl eligible for the second time in school history against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Saturday afternoon. Rice will host WKU Saturday afternoon, looking to keep its bowl hopes alive. 

Old Dominion Monarchs vs Florida International Panthers 

ODU (3-6, 2-3 C-USA) dominated FIU (1-8, 0-5 C-USA) 47-24 on Saturday night, extending the Panther’s losing streak to eight games. Both teams combined for 1,000 yards of total offense. 

ODU’s backfield tandem of redshirt sophomores Blake Watson and Elijah Davis each rushed for over 100 yards, Watson’s fourth consecutive game with 100 or more on the ground. Davis rushed for 113 and a score while Watson contributed two.

Monarch signal caller Hayden Wolff tossed for a pair of scores and 283 yards with one interception, including a 63-yard score to wideout Darius Savedge in the third quarter.

Old Dominion has a matchup with FAU this weekend while FIU will travel to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to attempt to snap its skid against the Blue Raiders.

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