Highlighting the first full Saturday of C-USA football action was defending west division champion Southern Miss. Under the direction of new head coach Jay Hopson, the Golden Eagles came back from 25 points down to defeat SEC foe Kentucky in Lexington. Another west division squad, Louisiana Tech, fought bravely on the road at Arkansas, but fell short in the final minutes, 21-20. In the east division, Florida Atlantic came back to defeat Southern Illinois, while Middle Tennessee fired out of the gates with a 55-0 drubbing of Alabama A&M behind 329 passing yards and five touchdowns by sophomore quarterback Brent Stockstill.
Rounding out the day's action was UTEP, which defeated regional foe New Mexico State, while UTSA dispatched Alabama A&M at home by 13 points.
Southern Miss 44-35 Kentucky
True to form, Nick Mullens was the star of the show as the Golden Eagles stunned Kentucky with 34 unanswered points on Saturday night. The highly rated QB kept a cool head with SEC program leading the scoreboard 35-10 in the second quarter, picking out Isaiah Jones with a 70-yard pass before making two TD runs of his own.
A dream start for new coach Jay Hopson.
UTEP 38-22 New Mexico State
The Miners took the spoils on GameDay one thanks in large part to Zack Greenlee's precision throwing, which provided three TDs.
UTSA 26-13 Alabama State
The Roadrunners hit the ground... (ahem)... running. Dalton Sturm threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns, ran in a third score from midfield, and led UTSA to a 26-13 win over Alabama State.
Florida Atlantic 38-30 Southern Illinois
An inspiring second-half showing from Charlie Partridge's Owls earned FAU a deserved win over Southern Illinois. Jason Driskel threw 287 yards that included two touchdowns and evaded interceptions with all 31 of his passes.
Middle Tennessee 55-0 Alabama A&M
The Blue Raiders were in no mood to take prisoners in Murfreesboro, Tennesse on opening day as they condemned Alabama to a humiliating shutout. Brent Stockstill notched up a career-high five touchdown passes.
SMU 34-21 North Texas
In spite of a valiant effort at 17-0, the Mean Green was unable to deal with the efficiency of Courtland Sutton, with the SMU wide receiver catching four passes but making three of them count for touchdowns.
Arkansas 21-20 Louisiana Tech
It wasn't a good start for the Bulldogs either as Kody Walker nudged the Fayetteville scoreboard back in the home side's favor with 80 seconds left on the clock.