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Week 3 CUSA - FAU-USA & More, Part 2
Posted Sep 12, 2013

Week 3 Fearless Predictions - Florida Atlantic at USF & More, Part 2

- CUSA Week 3 - Tulane at Louisiana Tech & More, Part 1   
Florida Atlantic (0-2) at South Florida (0-2) Sept. 14, 7:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Both Sunshine State programs will be pining for their first victory of the season at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night. Neither school has had much to cheer about through the first two weekends. The Willie Taggart era at South Florida has begun with feeble losses to McNeese State and Michigan State by a combined score of 74-27. Florida Atlantic hasn’t been any more capable, falling to Miami and East Carolina by an aggregate of 65-19.
Why Florida Atlantic Might Win: The defense has faced a lot of skill position talent, yet has held up pretty well behind the play of linebackers Adarius Glanton, Andrae Kirk and Randell Johnson. The Owls will be facing a necrotic South Florida offense that ranks 116th nationally and has been hideously inefficient.
Why South Florida Might Win: The Florida Atlantic offense is every bit as feeble as the home team’s attack. The difference for the Bulls is that they house the better defensive personnel. Linebackers DeDe Lattimore and Reshard Cliett head an athletic front seven that’ll cause plenty of problems for a subpar Florida Atlantic O-line.
Who To Watch Out For: It’s about time for South Florida to start mounting more of a pass rush, beginning with Notre Dame transfer Aaron Lynch. The Bulls have just one sack in the first two games, while Florida Atlantic has already yielded 11.

NFL scouts looking for a franchise quarterback won’t be in attendance for this one. Both schools are a mess behind center, having already used five hurlers combined.

- Marcus Shaw has provided a spark on the ground for the Bulls. The lone constant on offense in Tampa has rushed for 239 yards and a score on 35 carries.

What Will Happen: Cover your eyes. This will get very ugly. While neither team will execute on offense, South Florida will play with enough passion and determination to get Taggart his first win as a Bull. Shaw and the defense will star, keeping Florida Atlantic from ever getting on track this weekend.
Prediction: South Florida 26 … Florida Atlantic 13
Line: South Florida -10 o/u: 42
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 1.5

Memphis (0-1) at Middle Tennessee (1-1) Sept. 14, 7:00

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Memphis and Middle Tennessee meet for the fifth straight year in a game destined to become a Volunteer State rivalry. The Tigers kicked off 2013, their first year as a member of the American, with a loss to Duke. The game was knotted with 10 minutes left, but the Blue Devils scored the final 14 points. The Blue Raiders have split their first two games, losing on Saturday at North Carolina. MTSU is bucking for the bowl bid that eluded it in 2012, making every winnable game crucial in the quest for eligibility.
Why Memphis Might Win: The Tigers have upside on defense, which was evident on Saturday until the unit ran out of steam. They’re particularly strong at the point of attack, featuring proven veterans Martin Ifedi, Terry Redden and Johnnie Farms. Ifedi had two of the team’s three sacks last week.
Why Middle Tennessee Might Win: The Blue Raiders have the better offensive weapons, and it’s not even that close. Logan Kilgore is a veteran under center, while Memphis’ Paxton Lynch is still a rookie. Middle Tennessee can also hand the ball to up-and-coming Jordan Parker, who’s gone for more than 100 yards in each of the first two contests.
Who To Watch Out For: Lynch will need to pay special attention to Blue Raider Kevin Byard, the leader of the secondary. He’s a hard-hitting strong safety, with excellent ball skills.

- It’ll be worth monitoring the throwing shoulder of Kilgore leading up to kickoff. He was nearly a scratch for the Carolina game, and wound up an ineffective 21-of-35 for 211 yards, no touchdowns and three picks.

What Will Happen: Kilgore’s health will be a key factor in this one, so don’t be surprised if dual-threat Austin Grammer gets a handful of snaps. While Memphis is progressing under Justin Fuente, it still needs to learn how to pull out close games, especially away from the Liberty Bowl. It’ll come up frustrating short for a second straight week.
Prediction: Middle Tennessee 24 … Memphis 21
Line: Middle Tennessee -4.5 o/u: 49.5
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 2

Kansas (1-0) at Rice (0-1) Sept. 14, 7:30, CBS Sports Network

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Kansas and Rice meet in Houston, both looking to generate some momentum before conference play begins later in the month. The Owls return to work for the first time since putting a scare into Texas A&M in the Aug. 31 opener. Their a veteran team, with an eye on capturing the West Division of Conference USA now that Houston is gone and Tulsa and SMU are down. The Jayhawks defeated South Dakota, 31-14, last week to kick off Charlie Weis’ second season in Lawrence. Kansas is still adjusting to a depth chart featuring 16 transfers currently occupying spots on the two-deep.
Why Kansas Might Win: It might take some time before everyone gels, but Weis’ offense has a shot to be pretty good this year. Former BYU QB Jake Heaps and returning 1,000-yard rusher James Sims give the Jayhawks an important dose of versatility out of the backfield. Rice may have a lot of familiar faces on defense, but it has a lot of weaknesses and areas of vulnerability as well.
Why Rice Might Win: While Kansas is still adjusting to a lot of new faces in key places, on both sides of the ball, the Owls have one of the more seasoned rosters in the FBS. At times in the opener, the Owls were gashing A&M, a ranked SEC team, to finish with 306 yards on the ground. Plus, Rice got contributions from multiple sources, such as RB Charles Ross and dual-threat QB Taylor McHargue.
Who To Watch Out For: A steady diet of runs from Rice will mean a big day from LB Ben Heeney, Kansas’ middle linebacker and best all-around defender.

- The Jayhawks are going to learn very quickly that the Owl D-line is better than advertised. DE Cody Bauer and NT Christian Covington possess the quickness to make Heaps miserable Saturday night.

- When McHargue drops backs to pass, he’ll be looking for big No. 15, Jordan Taylor. The 6-5 junior has picked up where he left off in the Armed Forces Bowl.
What Will Happen: In November, Kansas would be a lot more dangerous. In September, though, Rice’s extra seasoning will serve it well. The Owls will sustain drives and eat clock on the ground, testing the depth of the Jayhawks. Heaps has a bright future ahead of him, but needs more reps to get comfortable with his targets.
Prediction: Rice 31 … Kansas 24
Line: Rice -6.5 o/u: 59
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 2

Marshall (2-0) at Ohio (1-1) Sept. 14, 8:00, ESPNews

Why You Should Give A Hoot: This is a monster game for the Thunder Herd because it needs this victory if it expects to play the darkhorse role as a contender for a bid to the BCS. The offensive firepower in this one should make a solid matchup, and we will find out just how for real Marshall is in 2013.

Why Marshall Might Win: That Rakeem Cato is 39th in the country in passing yards is impressive, but the offense as a whole is much better. The offense is 17th in the nation averaging 550 yards per game, and they might just put reach 50 points in this matchup. The playmakers are explosive and they are fully capable of making the Bobcats defense look as putrid as they were against Louisville two weeks ago.

Why Ohio Might Win: QB Tyler Tettleton has been around for a while, and he has seen a ton during his stay in the MAC. The Bobcats are still trying to gain momentum, and they need a solid performance in order to get prepared for the conference play. The duo of Tettleton and RB Beau Blankenship is one to be reckoned with, so don’t count them out just yet.

Who To Watch Out For: Marshall WR Tommy Shuler. This may be the best slot receiver in college football and nobody seems to know who he is. The reason being is nobody watches the Herd even play, but this game is on a solid network, ESPNews, on which this young playmaker can shine. Expect double-digit catches along with a pair of touchdowns and over 100 yards in this shootout.

What Will Happen: Marshall is way too good to let this one go slip away. The Thundering Herd is a contender for an at-large bid in the BCS, and it could perhaps stun Virginia Tech the following week. First up are the Bobcats, and Cato will go bonkers on a secondary that allowed 615 yards of offense to the ‘Ville. While Marshall may not top that figure, it is certainly capable of throwing up quite a few points.
Prediction: Marshall 42 … Ohio 31
Line: Marshall -8 o/u: 70
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 1.5

UTEP (0-1) at New Mexico State (0-2) Sept. 14, 8:00, ESPN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: The Miners and the Aggies are locking horns for the 91st time, with both programs seeking their first win of 2013. UTEP opened with an overtime loss to New Mexico last week, a disappointing start to the Sean Kugler era in El Paso. New Mexico State has been outclassed in both of its games, falling to Texas and Minnesota. The Miners have taken four straight in the series.
Why UTEP Might Win: The Miners have a couple of offensive newcomers capable of keeping them in every game this season. Texas A&M transfer QB Jameill Showers started slowly last week, throwing just a single touchdown pass, but better days are ahead for No. 1. The running game received an instant lift from true freshman Aaron Jones, who came off the bench to rush for 127 yard and a score on 11 carries.
Why New Mexico State Might Win: The Aggies begin Week 3 battle-tested, having already faced teams from the Big Ten and the Big 12. They should be able to exploit a Miner D replacing eight starters and coming off a miserable performance versus the Lobos. Without much of a running game, New Mexico State will put the ball in the hands of accurate QB Andrew McDonald, who’ll look to WR Joshua Bowen to keep drives alive on third down.
Who To Watch Out For: Showers has to do a better job of getting the ball in the hands of top receiver Jordan Leslie, who caught just five passes for 12 yards last weekend.

- Someone on that Aggie defense will need to keep an eye on Jones and starting RB Nathan Jeffery. S Davis Cazares and linebackers Bryan Bonilla and Trashaun Nixon will each be asked to maintain gap integrity on running plays.
What Will Happen: With a game in the rear view mirror, UTEP will play more confidence and consistency than it did a week ago. The Miners have more threats on offense than the Aggies, which will help keep them a step ahead in Las Cruces. UTEP will split its two games with schools from New Mexico, giving Kugler his first win at his alma mater.
Prediction: UTEP 34 … New Mexico State 24
Line: UTEP -6.5 o/u: 53
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 1.5

UTSA (1-1) at Arizona (2-0) Sept. 14, 10:30, Pac-12 Network

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Arizona has one more hurdle to clear before Pac-12 play begins and the real challenges tests the players and staff. The Wildcats have coasted to easy wins over Northern Arizona and UNLV, the latter coming by 45 points in Las Vegas. They’ve got one more glorified scrimmage to tweak the passing game and the defense before visiting Washington at the end of the month. UTSA will be facing its second straight tall order a week after getting waxed at home by Oklahoma State, 56-35. The Roadrunners did build some momentum with four four-quarter touchdowns, which they’ll look to carry into this week in Tucson.
Why UTSA Might Win: Larry Coker is building a feisty squad that begins Week 3 battle-tested. The Roadrunners should move the ball against a vulnerable Arizona defense that’s benefitted from the weakness of its competition. UTSA will again be piloted by QB Eric Soza, who leads the team in rushing and has thrown five touchdown passes.
Why Arizona Might Win: When faced with the grown-up Oklahoma State offense, UTSA caved in at the Alamodome. Expect more of the same this week, especially now that Wildcat star RB Ka’Deem Carey has served his one-game suspension. He erupted out of the paddy wagon for 171 yards and two scores on only 16 carries. Carey plus QB B.J. Denker on the ground will be a very tall order for the Roadrunners.
Who To Watch Out For: Arizona has one more week to fine-tune a suspect passing game. Denker has thrown just one scoring pass, which is fine against the likes of UNLV, but it’ll stall the attack against Pac-12 competition.

- S Tra’Mayne Bondurant continues to be a microcosm for the undersized, attacking Arizona defense. He’s picked off three of the team’s five passes, something Soza must be wary of Saturday night.

- Boy, do the Wildcats ever miss injured big-play WR Austin Hill. Through two games, the team has produced just one hook-up of more than 20 yards, compressing the field for opposing defenses.

What Will Happen: Arizona has its swagger back now that Carey has returned to the lineup. The Wildcats were a much better team in Week 2, on both sides of the ball, a trend that’ll continue on Saturday. They’ll run all over UTSA, once again routing an outmanned opponent, without the need of a potent passing game.
Prediction: Arizona 47 … UTSA 17
Line: Arizona -26 – O/U: 63.5
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 2

- CUSA Week 3 - Tulane at Louisiana Tech & More, Part 1