Week 11 CUSA - Mar-UAB, UTSA-Tulane, UNT-UTEP

Posted Nov 8, 2013

Week 11 CUSA - UAB at Marshal, Tulane at UTSA, UTEP at North Texas

UAB (2-6) at Marshall (5-3) Nov. 9, 12:00

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Marshall attempts to remain in step with East Carolina in the race to capture the East Division of Conference USA. The Herd bounced back from an awful loss to Middle Tennessee by pounding Southern Miss, 61-13. It remembers the sting of losing to UAB a year ago, so looking past this week's opponent is highly unlikely. The Blazers keep building under second-year coach Garrick McGee, though the results haven't fulfilled anyone's expectations. McGee and his staff expected more wins at this point, beating just Northwestern State in September and Florida International last month.

Why UAB Might Win: The Blazers plan to control the clock and play keep-away with talented backs Darrin Reaves and Jordan Howard. Both players went over 100 yards last week, fueling a ground game that's second in the league at 4.9 yards per carry. UAB ran the ball 26 times last week against Middle Tennessee, a sneak peak of how it plans to slow down the game and keep the ball out of Marshall QB Rakeem Cato's hands.

Why Marshall Might Win: When Cato does get the ball, he'll get little resistance moving his team downfield. UAB has one of the worst defenses in the league, which means it has one of the worst defenses in the country. The Blazers won't be able to slow down the speed and the balance of the Herd, which will be dished out from Kevin Grooms and Essray Taliaferro on the ground and Tommy Shuler and Gator Hoskins over the top.

Who To Watch Out For: Marshall linebackers and interior linemen will be very busy as they work to fill the gaps on Reaves and Howard. LB Neville Hewitt has been a pleasant surprise in his debut out of Georgia Military College, leading the team in tackles.

- McGee is likely to stick with Jonathan Perry at quarterback. Unlike Austin Brown, he gives UAB a run-pass option with which he can attack the speedy Marshall D.

What Will Happen: UAB will slow things down in an attempt to frustrate Marshall, but eventually the Blazers D will have to leave the sidelines. Cato and his skill position players will overwhelm the Blazers with the ball, building a lead that the UAB attack isn't currently constructed to overcome.

Prediction: Marshall 40 … UAB 21
Line: Marshall -23.5 o/u: 67
Must See Rating: (5 The Wolf of Wall Street – 1 Ass Backwards) … 1.5
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Tulane (6-3) at UTSA (4-5) Nov. 9, 2:00

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Is UTSA about to make the West Division race even more complicated than it is already? The Roadrunners have won back-to-back games—easily—to remain in the hunt in their first season in Conference USA. Heck, if they can take two of the next three games, they'll be bowl-eligible in just their third year of existence. Tulane is facing a bit of a crossroad in its season. Hey, it's been a great year in New Orleans, but the Green Wave squandered its division lead with last week's loss to a Florida Atlantic team dismissed its head coach a few days earlier. Tulane needs to rebound immediately or else a slide to the end of the regular season could ensue.

Why Tulane Might Win: The Green Wave will continue to be fueled by the defense, an opportunistic group that's second in the league in takeaways and run defense. CB Lorenzo Doss has six of Tulane's 16 interceptions, while DT Julius Warmsley sets the tone for a front seven that has lived in opposing backfields. If the Green Wave can bottle up the ground game, it'll force the Roadrunners to put more weight on a middling passing attack.

Why UTSA Might Win: The Roadrunners have momentum, playing their best football over the last three games. During that time, the offense has been outstanding, while the D has made timely stops. David Glasco has been running extremely well, setting a new school record with 135 yards against Tulsa last week. FS Triston Wade and the rest of the defense will have few problems stopping a Tulane offense that's been AWOL for more than a month.

Who To Watch Out For: Tulane can't find its way on offense, producing just 167 yards last week as it juggled between quarterbacks Nick Montana and Devin Powell. Powell isn't ready and Montana isn't healthy, which is going to be a problem against the improved UTSA defense.

- Roadrunner QB Eric Soza needs to be smart with the ball, especially since Tulane lives off turnovers. When Soza throws a pick in a game, UTSA is 0-4. When he's clean, his team has gone 4-1, losing only the Rice game.

What Will Happen: UTSA is better than its record. Tulane, on the other hand, is not as tight as its 6-3 mark. The Roadrunners will stay hot in the Alamodome, shutting down the impotent Green Wave, while getting all they need on offense from the legs of Glasco.

Prediction: UTSA 33 … Tulane 17
Line: UTSA -9 o/u: 51
Must See Rating: (5 The Wolf of Wall Street – 1 Ass Backwards) … 1.5
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UTEP (1-7) at North Texas (6-3) Nov. 9, 3:30

Why You Should Give A Hoot: North Texas puts its unblemished home mark on the line with a visit from UTEP on Saturday afternoon. The Mean Green created a three-way tie atop the West Division with its win over Rice last Thursday night. North Texas is in the midst of its first four-game winning streak—and is bowl-eligible—for the first time since 2004. The Miners are officially out of the bowl hunt, as if they needed last week's 57-7 loss to Texas A&M to know that the season would end Nov. 30. First-year head coach Sean Kugler will look at as many young kids as possible this month in order to get a head start on 2014.

Why UTEP Might Win: The Miners' only recourse on Saturday will be to try and beat the Mean Green on the ground, which is no small challenge. Still, UTEP is home to the league's second best rushing attack, averaging 200 yards a game. It'll put the ball in the capable hands of rookie Aaron Jones, who's already shown an ability to carry the ball 20-25 times a game, helping keep his own defense off the field.

Why North Texas Might Win: The Mean Green continues to thrive behind the play of a vastly underrated defense. It leads Conference USA at only 20 points per game allowed, ranking up sacks and a league-best 28 takeaways. Jones is terrific, but he no longer has the luxury of being in the same backfield as QB Jameill Showers, who's out for the year. North Texas will unleash Zach Orr and the rest of the linebackers, turning the Miners into a one-dimensional team.

Who To Watch Out For: North Texas seems to have a different backfield hero each week, ranging from Brandin Byrd and Antoinne Jimmerson to Reggie Pegram. Everyone will want to get touches against a UTEP defense allowing a whopping 6.2 yards per carry.

- Miner QB Blaire Sullivan has struggled badly in the passing game. Bad news for the entire offense, but especially bad for WR Jordan Leslie, whose big-play ability has been neutralized.

What Will Happen: The Mean Green is on a tear, which isn't about to be stopped by a fading UTEP team. North Texas will go back to the familiar formula of a stout defense and a north-south running game, pulling away from the Miners shortly after halftime.

Prediction: North Texas 39 … UTEP 13
Line: North Texas -25 o/u: 57
Must See Rating: (5 The Wolf of Wall Street – 1 Ass Backwards) … 1.5
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