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Conference USA News and Notes

11:03 AM, Oct 21, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) -

EAST CAROLINA: Shane Carden accounted for four total touchdowns to lead the Pirates (5-2, 3-1) to a 55-14 rout of Southern Miss at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Carden hit on 30-of-37 pass attempts for 308 yards and three touchdowns while Vintavious Cooper tallied 54 rushing yards and a score on 14 carries. Justin Hardy led all pass-catchers with 10 receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown. ECU outgained Southern Miss on the afternoon, 476 total yards to 233. USM was held scoreless through the first three quarters of action, allowing the Pirates to take a 55-0 lead into the final frame. ECU will have an open week before its Nov. 2 visit to FIU.

FIU: The Panthers (1-5, 1-2) had an open week after their 27-24 loss to UAB. They return to action this Saturday as they are set to host Louisiana Tech at FIU Stadium.

FLORIDA ATLANTIC: The Owls (2-5, 1-4) had a bye week after their close, 24-23, loss to Marshall in week seven. They have a tough non-conference test at nationally-ranked Auburn scheduled for Saturday.

LOUISIANA TECH: The Bulldogs (2-5, 1-2) let a 10-0 lead slip away and dropped a 28-13 decision at home to North Texas, which dropped them below the .500 mark in league action. Ryan Higgins finished with 343 yards on 36-of-54 passing and rushed for a score while throwing two interceptions. Andrew Guillot pulled in 10 passes for 99 yards. Kenneth Dixon carried the ball 12 times for just 25 yards. Louisiana Tech's defense played strong in the opening half, allowing only one offensive touchdown. Higgins had one of his picks returned for a touchdown and the offense was held scoreless for a span of 23:46. The Bulldogs will try to avoid consecutive losses as they travel to Miami to challenge FIU.

MARSHALL: The Thundering Herd (4-2, 2-0) had a bye week after their one-point win at FAU on Oct. 12. They will visit Middle Tennessee on Thursday night with a perfect 2-0 league record.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE: The Blue Raiders (3-4, 1-2) had an open week after suffering a 27-point setback at North Texas in week seven. They will look to snap their three-game losing slide on Thursday when they host Marshall.

NORTH TEXAS: Despite trailing 10-0 as time in the first half winded down, North Texas (4-3, 2-1) survived its trip to Ruston as it defeated Louisiana Tech, 28-13, for its second win in a row. Derek Thompson led the Mean Green as he passed for 221 yards and a touchdown to go along with a rushing score. Brelan Chancellor caught five passes for 95 yards and a score. Brandin Byrd ran the ball 14 times for 71 yards and a touchdown and Antoinne Jimmerson rushed for 50 yards on 14 carries. Zac Whitfield made a big play as he returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter to give the team its first lead at 14-10. UNT had not won back-to-back games since the 2004 season, a 102-game span. After having just 72 yards of total offense in the first quarter and 173 for the first half, the Mean Green exploded for 155 yards in the decisive third quarter. UNT will look for its third straight decision on Saturday when it takes on Southern Miss in Hattiesburg.

RICE: Charles Ross tallied a career-high 167 rushing yards to power the Owls (5-2, 4-0) to a 45-19 rout of New Mexico State in their non-conference finale. Ross rushed 26 times and averaged 6.4 yards per carry for Rice, as it notched its fourth win in a row and improved to 2-2 in non-conference action. Taylor McHargue added 90 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in addition to 89 passing yards on 8-of-14 efficiency. Dennis Parks tied his career-high with three catches en route to a team-high 51 yards. The Owls finished the game with 515 yards of total offense, while NMSU produced only 328 total offensive yards. Rice also held a 27-11 edge in first downs and held possession of the ball for over 39 minutes. They will try to stay perfect in C-USA action on Saturday when they host Texas-El Paso.

SOUTHERN MISS: The Golden Eagles (0-6, 0-2) lost their 18th consecutive game dating back to the 2011 season as they were dismantled in a 55-14 loss to East Carolina in Greenville. USM was held scoreless through the first three quarters, which allowed the Pirates to build a sizeable 55-0 lead prior to the fourth quarter. ECU outgained Southern Miss on the game, 476 total yards to 233. Nick Mullens had 97 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on 9-of-17 passing. He replaced an ineffective Allan Bridgford, who was just 2-of-11 for 15 yards. Tyre Bracken was the team's top rusher with 44 yards on seven carries. The Golden Eagles will try to stop their losing slide, which is tied for the longest active losing streak in the FBS, on Saturday when they take on North Texas at home.

TEXAS-EL PASO: The Miners (1-5, 0-3) had the week off after their 14-point loss to Tulsa on Oct. 12. They are hoping to snap a four-game losing streak this Saturday when they visit Rice for an in-state duel.

TULANE: The Green Wave (5-2, 3-0) took their perfect league record and three- game winning streak into a bye. They hope to continue their hot streak on Saturday when Tulsa intrudes the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for C-USA action.

TULSA: The Golden Hurricane (2-4, 1-1) had the week off following their 34-20 win at UTEP on Oct. 12. The defending conference champions will try to spoil Tulane's perfect league record in New Orleans on Saturday.

TX-SAN ANTONIO: The Roadrunners (2-5, 1-2) had a much needed week off after losing to Rice by six points on Oct. 12 to have their losing streak extended to three games. UTSA will try to turn things around this week as it hosts UAB at the Alamodome.

UAB: After building some momentum with a three-point win at FIU, UAB (2-4, 1-1) had an open week. It will try to climb over the .500 mark versus league foes this Saturday when it challenges UTSA at the Alamodome.

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