Conference USA

Western Kentucky Starts Where It Left Off; FIU, Charlotte Get Blasted

The Conference USA season started off with an impressive Western Kentucky win and two blowouts.

WKU 46, Rice 14

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Mike White threw for 517 yards and three touchdowns in his debut as starting quarterback as WKU opened the season and Conference USA play with a 46-14 drubbing of Rice.

White, who was 25 for 31 passing, is only the third quarterback to throw for 500 or more yards in WKU history.

The Hilltoppers had two receivers top 100 yards in receiving as Taywan Taylor caught five passes for 165 yards and Nicholas Norris hauled in seven for 147 yards and two scores.

WKU, which won its 13th straight conference game, finished with 552 yards passing and 97 rushing, amassing 649 yards while limiting Rice to 288 total yards.

White's first scoring strike was for 87 yards as Norris hauled that one in for a 16-0 lead with 1:31 left in the first quarter. The Hilltoppers were up 30-7 at the half.

Tyler Stehling led Rice with 183 passing yards.


Indiana 34, FIU 13

MIAMI - A fourth-quarter deficit, on the road, in a season-opening game with a new quarterback wasn't exactly the scenario Indiana would have chosen for itself.

The Hoosiers made overcoming that challenge look easy.

Richard Lagow passed for one score and ran for another in the fourth quarter, and Indiana returned two interceptions for touchdowns in its season-opening 34-13 win over Florida International on Thursday night.

Indiana (1-0) trailed 13-12 going into the fourth, then outscored FIU 22-0 in the final 15 minutes.

''A pretty good team win,'' Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said. ''This game had my attention a lot. First game on the road, you've got new defensive coaches, you're going to have some glitches ... and I saw a lot of things we can do better.''

Most of those things were likely before the fourth quarter.

Lagow connected with Daniel Friend on a 21-yard touchdown pass to put Indiana on top for good early in the final quarter, capped the next Hoosiers drive with a 6-yard scoring run and Tegray Scales capped the night with a 16-yard interception return for another score.

Lagow said he wasn't worried, even when trailing going into the fourth.

''The whole team had played so well all night,'' Lagow said. ''Defense had played their tails off. We had been real close, a lot. It was just a matter of keeping our foot on the pedal.''

Devine Redding rushed for 135 yards and Rashard Fant returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown in the first half for Indiana (1-0). It was Indiana's first time with two interception-return touchdowns in the same game since 1966, school officials said.

Alex McGough completed 23 of 46 passes for 263 yards and three interceptions for FIU (0-1). Alex Gardner had a 1-yard rushing touchdown for the Panthers, who were outgained 486-331.

The game had a little of everything: a safety, a missed field goal, a bad snap on another field goal try, two defensive touchdowns and even an end-around for a 2-point conversion by the Hoosiers.

''We battled, we competed, we did some good things,'' FIU coach Ron Turner said. ''But very, very disappointed in the outcome and very disappointing in the offensive execution and offensive performance. .... Way too many missed opportunities.''

No. 19 Louisville 70, Charlotte 14

Louisville, Ky. – The Charlotte 49ers (0-1) in their first-ever game against a nationally-ranked FBS opponent fell on the road at 19th-ranked Louisville (1-0), 70-14, in their season-opener. This marked the first time that Charlotte has lost their season opening game in the program's history.


"We ran into a really good footbeall team tonight, we knew that going into the game," Charlotte coach Brad Lambert said. "We had way too many mistakes in the first half. We were having a hard time handling Lamar Jackson. He can make you look bad in a hurry, he is a heck of a player. Louisville had a lot of people back. We helped them a lot and compounded things with penalties and mistakes. We will go back and look at the film and see how we can get better and go from there."

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson began the scoring with a 36-yard touchdown run three minutes into the game. Louisville's next score game on a 13-yard pass from Jackson to Reggie Bonnafon. Jackson had a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Smith. Jackson closed out the first quarter with a one-yard touchdown run.

In the second quarter, Jackson had a 16-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Radcliff. Then, he had a 20-yard touchdown pass to L.J. Scott. James Quick with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Jackson. Cole Hikutani closed out the first half with a one-yard touchdown reception from Jackson. Louisville's 56 first half points are the most allowed by the 49ers in a half. Jackson's six touchdown passes are the most allowed by the 49ers in game.

Charlotte's T.L. Ford had the longest reception of his career with a 39-yard completion from Kevin Olsen in the first quarter.

The 49ers forced their first turnover of the 2016 season when Kedrick Davis picked off Louisville's Kyle Bolin at the 9:27 mark of the third quarter.

Charlotte recorded their first touchdown of the season when Olsen found Austin Duke on a 24-yard touchdown pass on fourth and 10 with 8:36 left in the third quarter. Olsen's touchdown pass was his first as a Niner. The touchdown from Olsen to Duke kept the 49ers streak alive of having never been shutout in the program's history. Duke's last four touchdowns have come from four different quarterbacks. Duke recorded his 21st career touchdown reception. Stephen Muscarello's extra point kick was his first points as a Niner since the 2014 season.

At the 10:21 mark of the third quarter, the 49ers had a 63-yard touchdown pass from Olsen to Austin Duke called back because of a holding penalty.

At the 4:43 mark of the third quarter, Louisville's Bolin found Traveon Samuel for an 18-yard touchdown pass. In the fourth quarter, Bolin found Seth Dawkins for a 13-yard touchdown pass.

Charlotte's second touchdown of the game came when Anthony Covington recovered Khane Pass's muffed punt with 3:46 left in the fourth quarter.

Charlotte’s Arthur Hart had a school-record 11 punts. Olsen went 16-for-29 for 141 yards and one touchdown in his first game as the 49ers quarterback.

The 49ers defense was led by Nick Cook with seven tackles and five tackles by Daquan Lucas and Tanner Fleming with a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter was the 49ers second turnover forced of the game and the first fumble recovery of the 2016 season. Charlotte finished the game forcing three Louisville turnovers.

Louisville's 663 yards are the third most yards allowed by the 49ers in the program's history and the most allowed against an FBS opponent.

The 49ers host Elon in their home opener at Jerry Richardson Stadium, Saturday, September 10 at 6 pm. Charlotte is a perfect 3-0 in the program's history in home openers.


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