PASSPORT STAMPED (BOWL ELIGIBLE TEAMS): C-USA (1): Marshall (6-1); MAC (2): Ohio (6-2), Toledo (6-1). AT CUSTOMS (ONE VICTORY SHY): C-USA (2): Southern Miss (5-2), WKU (5-2); MAC (2): Northern Illinois (5-2), Western Michigan (5-3).
THIS WEEKEND: #MACtion begins this week with a pair of Thursday games as Eastern Michigan (2-5, 0-3) visits West Division co-leader Northern Illinois (5-2, 3-0) and West co-leader Toledo (6-1, 3-0) is at Ball State (2-5, 0-3). NIU will try to become the third MAC school to be bowl eligible in 2017. Saturday, there is a single game as Buffalo (3-5, 1-3) goes to East Division co-leader Akron (4-4, 3-1). Next Tuesday (Oct. 31), Miami (3-5, 2-2) is at cross-state rival and East co-leader Ohio (6-2, 3-1), and Bowling Green (1-7, 1-3) is at Kent State (2-6, 1-3). Next Wednesday (Nov. 1), Central Michigan (4-4, 2-2) plays cross-state rival Western Michigan (5-3, 3-1) as WMU needs a victory for bowl eligibility. The MAC began midweek football in 1999, and 2017 is the 19th year of MACtion during the week.
In Conference USA, all action is slated for Saturday. FIU (4-2, 2-1) is at East Division co-leader Marshall (6-1, 3-0). East co-leader Florida Atlantic (4-3, 3-0) is at WKU (5-2, 3-1) as the Hilltoppers need a victory for bowl eligibility. Old Dominion (2-5, 0-3) visits West Division co-leader North Texas (4-3, 3-1). UAB (4-3, 2-2) goes to West co-leader Southern Miss (5-2, 3-1) as the Golden Eagles are one victory shy of bowl-eligible status. In other games, Louisiana Tech (3-4, 1-2) goes to Rice (1-6, 1-2), and UTSA (4-2, 1-2) travels to UTEP (0-7, 0-3).
POLLING PLACE: Marshall is receiving votes in both the Associated Press and USA Amway Coaches polls. Toledo is receiving votes in the AP poll.
WEEK 8 REVIEW: Marshall reached bowl-eligibility with its 35-31 victory at Middle Tennessee, as the Herd won their fifth-straight game. Marshall has allowed 16 points in three conference games, and just 37 points during the win streak … Charlotte (1-7, 1-3) rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat UAB 25-24 in overtime using a trick play reverse pass to QB Hassan Klugh for the game-winning 2-point conversion in OT … Toledo reached bowl eligibility thanks to a strong defensive effort that held Akron to 42 rushing yards in a 48-21 victory … Ohio also got bowl eligible with a 48-3 victory over Kent State as Bobcats QB Nathan Rourke passed for two touchdowns and ran for another TD.
WEEK 9 SCHEDULE
Saturday, Oct. 28
* FIU at Marshall (STAD FB)
* Louisiana Tech at Rice (FLO)
* Florida Atlantic at WKU (STAD)
* Old Dominion at North Texas (ESPN3)
* UAB at Southern Miss (CUSA TV)
* UTSA at UTEP (CUSA TV)
Thursday, Oct. 26
* Toledo at Ball State (ESPN3)
* Eastern Michigan at Northern Illinois (ESPN3)
Saturday, Oct. 28
* Buffalo at Akron (CBSSN)
Tuesday, Oct. 31
* Bowling Green at Kent State (ESPN2/U)
* Miami at Ohio (ESPN2/U)
Wednesday, Nov. 1
* Central Michigan at Western Michigan (ESPN2)
* – conference games
WEEK 8 RESULTS
Friday, Oct. 20
* WKU 35, Old Dominion 31
* Marshall 38, Middle Tennessee 10
Saturday, Oct. 21
* Florida Atlantic 69, North Texas 31
* Charlotte 25, UAB 24 (OT)
* Southern Miss 34, Louisiana Tech 27 (2 OT)
* UTSA 20, Rice 7
Saturday, Oct. 21
* Toledo 48, Akron 21
* Ohio 48, Kent State 3
* Northern Illinois 48, Bowling Green 17
* Western Michigan 20, Eastern Michigan 17 (OT)
* Miami 24, Buffalo 14
* Central Michigan 56, Ball State 9
* – conference games
WEEK 8 INDIVIDUAL HONORS
Offensive Player of the Week
Florida Atlantic QB Jason Driskel: The junior completed 24 of 35 passes for 357 yards and 2 TDs in a 69-31 victory over North Texas.
Defensive Player of the Week
UTSA DE Marcus Davenport: The senior had 11 tackles (six solo), two sacks and a fumble return for a TD in a 20-7 victory over Rice.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Southern Miss K Parker Shaunfield: The junior made four field goals in a 34-27 double-overtime victory over Louisiana Tech.
East Division Offensive Player of the Week
Miami RB Kenny Young: The junior rushed for 125 yards and 2 TDs in a victory over Buffalo.
East Division Defensive Player of the Week
Ohio LB Chad Moore: The senior had five tackles, a forced fumble and an interception in a 48-3 victory over Kent State.
East Division Special Teams Player of the Week
Ohio K Louie Zervos: The sophomore made two field goals and six PAT kicks in a 48-3 victory over Kent State.
West Division Offensive Player of the Week
Toledo QB Logan Woodside: The senior threw for 304 yards and five touchdowns in a 48-21 victory over Akron.
West Division Defensive Player of the Week
Central Michigan DE Joe Ostman: The senior posted five tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble in a 56-9 victory over Ball State.
West Division Co-Special Teams Player of the Week
Toledo K Jameson Vest: The junior made two field goals in a 48-21 victory over Akron.
West Division Co-Special Teams Player of the Week
NIU K Christian Hagan: The junior made two field goals and six PAT in a 48-17 victory at Bowling Green.
AROUND THE CONFERENCES
• Ohio QB Nathan Rourke led the Bobcats to a 48-3 win over Kent State as he passed for 132 yards and two TDs and rushed for 59 yards and another score. Rourke leads the MAC and is tied for third in the nation with 13 rushing TD.
• Rice senior DE Brian Womac had nine tackles, four tackles for loss and three sacks against UTSA. He is tied for fourth in the FBS in sacks with eight and is tied for fifth in tackles for loss with 13.
• In the MAC, Central Michigan senior DE Joe Ostman leads the nation with 10 sacks (1.25 per game), while Ball State senior DE Anthony Winbush ranks second with 9.5 sacks (1.36 per game). NIU sophomore DE Sutton Smith has 8.5 sacks (1.21 per game) – third in FBS.
• For the second time in three weeks, Florida Atlantic set new school records for points (69) and total yards (804) in a 69-31 win over North Texas. The 804 yards is a C-USA record.
• Western Michigan RB Jarvion Franklin set a pair of school records in a 20-17 overtime win at Eastern Michigan. He rushed for 104 yards and one TD and set WMU’s career rushing yards record with 4,281 (4,219, Robert Sanford, 1997-2000). Franklin’s TD was also his 52nd in his career, tying Corey Davis (52, 2013-16) for the school record
• UTEP senior G Will Hernandez was named to the AP Midseason All-America team. He garnered second-team honors and has 44 starts in four seasons for the Miners.
C-USA VS. MAC
The 2017 Bahamas Bowl will be contested between Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference. C-USA won the 2017 season series vs. the MAC 4-3. Conference USA is 2-1 vs. the MAC all time in the Bahamas Bowl.
Eastern Michigan (MAC) 24, Charlotte (C-USA) 7
Marshall (C-USA) 31, Miami (MAC) 26
Ball State (MAC) 51, UAB (C-USA) 31
Marshall (C-USA) 21, Kent State (MAC) 0
WKU (C-USA) 33, Ball State (MAC) 21
Middle Tennessee (C-USA) 24, Bowling Green (MAC) 13
Buffalo (MAC) 34, Florida Atlantic (C-USA) 31
SATURDAYS TO SUNDAYS
Eight players who played in the Bahamas Bowl have played for NFL clubs in 2017.
S Kevin Byard – Tennessee (Middle Tennessee)
WR Corey Davis – Tennessee (Western Michigan)
S Kavon Frazier – Dallas (Central Michigan)
TE Tyler Higbee – Los Angeles Rams (WKU)
G Taylor Moton – Carolina (Western Michigan)
QB Cooper Rush – Dallas Cowboys (Central Michigan)
WR Taywan Taylor – Tennessee (WKU)
DE Leterrius Watson – Pittsburgh (Central Michigan)
“POWER FIVE” VICTORIES
A list of Conference USA and MAC victories over “Power Five” opponents (teams from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC).
Central Michigan (MAC) 45, Kansas (Big 12) 27
Eastern Michigan (MAC) 16, Rutgers (Big Ten) 13
Middle Tennessee (C-USA) 30, Syracuse (ACC) 23
UTSA (C-USA) 17, Baylor (Big 12) 10
Northern Illinois (MAC) 21, Nebraska (Big Ten) 17
Ohio (MAC) 42, Kansas 30 (Big 12) 30
During 2017, the Bahamas Bowl will spotlight an alumni player from our partner conferences: Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference.
TYLER HIGBEE (WKU)
Current NFL tight end Tyler Higbee played his college career at WKU from 2011-15, and he is a 2014 Bahamas Bowl alumni.
He was selected in the fourth round (No. 110 overall) by the Los Angeles Rams in the 2016 NFL Draft.
As a freshman in 2011, he played in 11 games for the Hilltoppers, and his first collegiate reception was a 63-yard touchdown catch at North Texas.
Higbee redshirted for the 2012 season, and converted from wide receiver to tight end in 2013. He caught 13 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore in seven games for WKU.
As a junior in 2014, he had 15 receptions for 230 yards and four touchdowns as the Hilltoppers played in the 2014 Bahamas Bowl. He caught six passes for 99 yards and three TDs against Marshall as became one of four players in WKU history to have at least three TD catches in a single game. Higbee had one catch for four yards in the epic 49-48 victory over Central Michigan in Nassau.
In 2015, Higbee caught 38 passes for 563 yards and eight touchdowns in nine games. He had a TD reception in six of the nine contests he played in, including a pair of two-TD games. He caught four passes for 102 yards in the season opener at Vanderbilt for John Mackey Award Tight End of the Week honors.
He started in six of 16 games as a rookie with the Rams in 2016. He caught 11 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. He had one reception in his first NFL game at San Francisco in Week 1, and also scored his first TD on a two-yard pass in Week 16 against the 49ers.
BAHAMAS BOWL MEDIA PROJECTIONS
Media Organization (Reporter) – Date: Predicted Matchup
10thYearSeniors.com (John Marc Nutt) – Oct. 24: Southern Miss vs. Ohio
Nassau Tribune (Renaldo Dorsett) – Oct. 24: Louisiana Tech vs. Toledo
Athlon Sports (Steven Lassan) – Oct. 24: WKU vs. Ohio
The Score (Brett McMurphy) – Oct. 24: FIU vs. Ohio
USA Today (Erick Smith) – Oct. 24: Marshall vs. Akron
SI.com (Eric Single) – Oct. 24: Marshall vs. Northern Illinois
Bleacher Report (Kerry Miller) – Oct. 24: North Texas vs. Ohio
Orlando Sentinel (Brant Parsons) – Oct. 24: Florida Atlantic vs. Northern Illinois
The Sporting News (Bill Bender) – Oct. 23: Marshall vs. Ohio
SB Nation (Jason Kirk) – Oct. 23: Marshall vs. Ohio
CollegeFootballNews.com (Pete Fiutak) – Oct. 23: WKU vs. Northern Illinois
ESPN.com (Kyle Bonagura) – Oct. 22: WKU vs. Ohio
ESPN.com (David M. Hale) – Oct. 22: North Texas vs. Akron
CBSSports.com (Jerry Palm) – Oct. 22: Marshall vs. Western Michigan
College Sports Madness (CSM Staff) – Oct. 22: Middle Tennessee vs. Toledo
Sports on Earth (Matt Brown) – Oct. 18: Ohio vs. Marshall
The Athletic (Stewart Mandel) – Oct. 17: FIU vs. Ohio
Phil Steele Magazine (Phil Steele) – Magazine: Louisiana Tech vs. Miami (Ohio)
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 31 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 14 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 300-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.
ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.
AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (St. Petersburg, Fla.); Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Frisco Bowl (Frisco, Texas); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Baton Rouge, La.); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); Texas Bowl (Houston); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)
AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Ramstein Air Base, Germany); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (TBD); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); PK80 (Portland, Ore.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan); State Farm Champions Classic (Chicago) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.)