By Jeremy St. Louis (@jrstlouis)
Week two of the Conference USA season is in the books and with another great week of games ahead, here's a quick wrap up of what we learned thanks to this week's results. Enjoy.
1. Conference USA teams do not like playing on the road
Seriously. Every single team that played away from friendly confines this weekend lost - and lost big. Of the seven games involving C-USA teams away from home, the AVERAGE score was 36-12. Put another way, every home team was roughly 3x as good as the Conference USA team they faced - on average. The biggest blowout was at Texas Memorial Stadium where the Longhorns bashed UTEP 41-7. With another seven teams on the road in week three, lets hope the numbers improve.
2. Marshall will only go as far as Chase Litton wants to take them
After a great freshman season, there were a couple questions about the Marshall QB but he answered them to a national audience on Saturday night. Litton threw for 310 yds and 6TDs in the Thundering Herd's 62-0 win. Now while it is a 'cupcake' opponent, the sophomore looked poised, made great throws and spread the ball around. Perhaps it was a case of 'foot off the gas' in the second half (it was 49-0 at halftime) but the offense sputtered without Litton at the controls.
3. Western Kentucky are better than USC
USC were ranked 20th going into week one and were blasted 52-6 by the national champions at a neutral venue. That's a 46 pt loss to open the season (and bye-bye to the top-25!). The defending C-USA champions WENT TO TUSCALOOSA and only lost 38-10 (a 28 pt loss).
Therefore, logic dictates that the Hilltoppers are better than USC - but still outside the top-25. It wasn't the outcome fans wanted but it wasn't as bad as many may have expected - and that is a good thing for C-USA.
4. FIU are in trouble
Ron Turner's side are last in pass efficiency, 10th in total offense, last against the rush, 2nd last in pass defense efficiency, 2nd last in giving up 1st downs, 10th in turnover margin....ok, you get the picture. The good news is, none of those are conference games but if the losses keep piling up, you wonder how things will go when conference play does start.
Junior QB Alex McGough has not had a good start throwing a three pick-sixes in two games. He was pulled due to injury in the loss to Maryland. RB Alex Gardner has been the lone bright spot and we saw more of Jonnu Smith this week, which is also good. Turner insists this is a good football team and the players just need to stick together - but they need a win. Fast.
5. Middle Tennessee likes to throw the ball
It's indisputable when looking at QB Brent Stockstill's numbers after their week 2 loss to Vanderbilt: 38-of-65 for 399 yds, 3TDs, 1INT. The sophomore has attempted over 100 passes total in two games! In fact, he attempted almost as many passes this past week as the person second on the attempts list (Tyler Stehling). Granted, if I had a QB with Stockstill's skill-set, I'd likely chuck it all over the yard as well.
One thing we know through two weeks - there are at least five standout QBs in this league meaning when Conference play gets going, it's going to be fun to watch!
Just a reminder - our beIN SPORTS College football game of the week features (2-0) Southern Mississippi at home to (1-1) Troy. The Golden Eagles coming off a 56-0 win over Savannah State - their first shutout since 2009. The Trojans are coming off a close 30-24 loss to #2 Clemson. It should be a great game between two pretty solid teams.
The pregame show with Jeremy St.Louis, Donovan McNabb, O.J. McDuffie and Ki-Jana Carter is underway at 6:30 pm ET with the game to follow at 7 pm ET with Matt Martucci, Brett Romberg and Jordan Daigle.