Rice football got a firsthand look at Death Valley under the lights but came up short. What’s next for Conference USA football in Week 13?
|Team||Last Week||Result||This Week|
|Charlotte||vs FIU||L, 42-35||at FAU|
|FAU||at North Texas||L, 41-38||vs Charlotte|
|FIU||at Charlotte||W, 42-35||vs Marshall|
|LaTech||at Southern Miss||L, 21-20||vs WKU|
|Marshall||vs UTSA||W, 23-0||at FIU|
|MTSU||at Kentucky||L, 34-23||vs UAB|
|North Texas||at FAU||W, 41-38||at UTSA|
|ODU||vs VMI||W, 77-14||at Rice|
|Rice||at LSU||L, 42-10||vs ODU|
|Southern Miss||vs LaTech||W, 21-20||at UTEP|
|UAB||at Texas A&M||L, 41-20||at MTSU|
|UTEP||at WKU||L, 40-16||vs Southern Miss|
|UTSA||vs Marshall||L, 23-0||vs North Texas|
|WKU||vs UTEP||W, 40-16||at LaTech|
Notable Week 12 results
Nothing to see here
Three CUSA squads took their shots at SEC opponents. Middle Tennessee gave Kentucky a fight, UAB hung in there against Texas A&M and Rice challenged LSU. All three were heavy underdogs and all three fell on the road. The individual games themselves will get passed over, but playing blueblood teams is good for Conference USA and needs to continue to be a part of the schedule.
FAU vs North Texas did not disappoint
The preseason “game of the year” in Conference USA had little on the line after both North Texas and FAU each went through rough stretches. Nevertheless, their Week 12 matchup was extremely entertaining. Quinn Shanbour and Devin Singletary each picked up a pair of rushing touchdowns before a 92-yard touchdown run from UNT’s DeAndre Torrey put things out of reach in the fourth quarter.
UTEP still has a ways to go
The Miners looked like they might have turned the corner early in November when they dropped 48 points on Rice and 32 more on Middle Tennessee. The 16 point clunker they dropped at Western Kentucky over the weekend is clear that UTEP’s consistency leaves a lot to be desired. The win over Rice was a good first step, but putting all the pieces together in a singular game remains a challenge.
Week 13 storylines
Will Rice earn their first CUSA win?
Western Kentucky’s victory over UTEP last weekend leaves one CUSA team still waiting on their first conference win, Rice. The Owls have played a few close contests but have yet to break through. ESPN FPI gives the Owls a 30.5 percent chance of winning in their final home contest of the season.
Who takes CUSA East?
FIU and Middle Tennessee sit atop the East entering the final weekend of conference play. The Panthers defeated the Blue Raiders earlier this season, giving them the tiebreaker if the schools finish even after the final week of the regular season. The only way MTSU takes the crown would require a win over UAB and an FIU loss to Marshall.
FAU and Southern Miss fight for bowl eligibility
Six CUSA teams have secured bowl eligibility so far: UAB, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, FIU, Middle Tennessee and Marshall.
Six other teams are too far down to make a bowl this season, even with wins in Week 13. That leaves two squads, FAU and Southern Miss, to fight for their postseason lives in their final games of the year. FAU plays Charlotte and Southern Miss plays UTEP, both win-needy teams are favored to win.