WEEK 6 PREVIEW: Conferernce play gets into full swing in both Conference USA and the MAC this weekend. Friday night, Middle Tennessee visits Marshall in a battle of C-USA East Division early co-leaders as both squads are trying to get to 2-0 in league contests. Saturday night in Conference USA, two of the West co-leaders play each other as UAB visits rival Louisiana Tech in a game between 3-1 teams overall. Also, West co-leader UTSA visits Rice, Old Dominion is at Florida Atlantic in a East battle and North Texas goes to UTEP in a West Division game.
All 12 MAC schools are in action Saturday, led by Northern Illinois visiting Ball State. NIU is looking to run its conference record to 3-0 after six weeks of play. Buffalo, which has a 4-1 overall mark and leads the East, plays at Central Michigan. In other MAC action, Western Michigan will try to keep pace behind NIU in the West race as the Broncos host cross-state rival Eastern Michigan, and Miami visits Akron as both schools fight for second place in the West. Bowling Green is at Toledo for the I-75 Trophy. Ohio goes to Kent State as the 2017 bowl champion Bobcats will try to give head coach Frank Solich his 100th career victory.
IN THE POLLS: Louisiana Tech (3-1 overall, 1-0 C-USA) is receiving votes in the Amway Coaches Poll.
MAC NOTES: Ohio set a new program record with 664 yards of total offense in a 58-42 win over UMass. The Bobcats had 394 total rushing yards, led by junior QB Nathan Rourke, who had a career-high 189 yards rushing and one TD and threw for three TDs. Northern Illinois defeated Eastern Michigan 26-23 in (3OT), which marked the third consecutive OT game between the schools. Ball State QB Riley Neal threw for 402 yards and four TDs and ran for another in a 52-24 win over Kent State.
CONFERENCE USA NOTES: Close games were the order of the day last Saturday as four of the five league games were decided by single digits. 2017 bowl participant UAB won its program-best ninth-straight home game with a 28-7 victory over Charlotte. The Blazers are now 11-6 overall since reinstating their program for the 2017 season. Florida Atlantic junior RB Devin “Motor” Singletary ran for a pair of TDs at Middle Tennessee for a FBS-leading 12 rushing TDs. Louisiana Tech senior DE Jaylon Ferguson set a new career high with four sacks to lead the Bulldogs to a win over North Texas.
WEEK 6 SCHEDULE
Friday, Oct. 5
* Middle Tennessee at Marshall (CBSSN)
Saturday, Oct. 6
* Old Dominion at Florida Atlantic (STAD)
* UAB at Louisiana Tech (ESPN+)
* UTSA at Rice (ESPN3)
* North Texas at UTEP (beIN)
Saturday, Oct. 6
* Buffalo at Central Michigan (CBSSN)
* Eastern Michigan at Western Michigan (ESPN+)
* Northern Illinois at Ball State (ESPN3)
* Bowling Green at Toledo (ESPN+)
* Miami at Akron (ESPN+)
* Ohio at Kent State (ESPN+)
* – conference games
WEEK 5 RESULTS
Saturday, Sept. 29
* UAB 28, Charlotte 7
* Middle Tennessee 25, Florida Atlantic 24
* UTSA 30, UTEP 21
* Louisiana Tech 29, North Texas 27
* Marshall 20, WKU 17
FIU 55, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 9
Auburn 24, Southern Miss 13
East Carolina 37, Old Dominion 35
Wake Forest 56, Rice 24
Saturday, Sept. 22
* Ball State 52, Kent State 24
* Western Michigan 40, Miami 39
* Northern Illinois 26, Eastern Michigan 23 (3OT)
Michigan State 31, Central Michigan 20
Army 42, Buffalo 13
Georgia Tech 63, Bowling Green 17
Ohio 58, UMass 42
Fresno State 49, Toledo 27
* – conference games
WEEK 5 INDIVIDUAL HONORS
Co-Offensive Player of the Week
Marshall WR Tyre Brady: The senior caught eight passes for 162 yards and two TDs in a 20-17 victory at WKU.
Co-Offensive Player of the Week
Middle Tennessee QB Brent Stockstill: The graduate threw for 259 yards and a TD in a 25-24 victory over Florida Atlantic.
Defensive Player of the Week
Louisiana Tech DE Jaylon Ferguson: The senior had four sacks, six total tackles and two QB hurries in a 29-27 victory over North Texas.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Louisiana Tech K Bailey Hale: The junior tied a school record with five field goals in a 29-27 victory over North Texas.
East Division Offensive Player of the Week
Ohio QB Nathan Rourke: The junior rushed for 189 yards and a TD and threw for three TDs in a 58-42 victory at UMass.
East Division Defensive Player of the Week
Buffalo LB Khalil Judge: The senior recorded 20 tackles in a loss to Army.
East Division Special Teams Player of the Week
Miami KR Maurice Thomas: The junior returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a TD in a loss to Western Michigan.
West Division Offensive Player of the Week
Western Michigan WR Jayden Reed: The freshman had seven receptions for 137 yards and four TDs in a 40-39 victory over Miami.
West Division Defensive Player of the Week
Northern Illinois LB Antonio Jones-Davis: The junior had 13 tackles, two sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery in a 26-23 3-ot victory over Eastern Michigan.
West Division Special Teams Player of the Week
Eastern Michigan P Jake Julien: The sophomore had nine punts for a 43.8-yard average in a 3-overtime loss to Northern Illinois.
WELCOME MAKERS WANTED
Elk Grove Village, Illinois, using its business slogan – Makers Wanted – was announced July 31 as the title sponsor of the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl.
The tagline Makers Wanted is Elk Grove Village’s slogan and serves a call-to-action for a thriving community and the thousands of businesses based there. It is home to the largest contiguous industrial park in the United States, featuring six square miles and 62 million square feet of inventory. Over 5,614 businesses, including 300 manufacturers specializing in metal, plastic, rubber and food manufacturing, call Elk Grove Village their home. It is also a top national destination for data centers in the U.S. with two million square feet.
For more information, visit www.makerswanted.org.
C-USA VS. MAC
The 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl will be contested between Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference for the fifth-straight year. C-USA won the 2018 season series over the MAC 2-0.
Marshall (C-USA) 35, Miami (MAC) 28
WKU (C-USA) 28, Ball State (MAC) 20
The Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl is tied 2-2 all time between C-USA and the MAC.
WKU (C-USA) 49, Central Michigan (MAC) 48
Western Michigan (MAC) 45, Middle Tennessee (C-USA) 31
Old Dominion (C-USA) 24, Eastern Michigan (MAC) 20
Ohio (MAC) 41, UAB (C-USA) 6
“POWER FIVE” VICTORIES
A list of C-USA and MAC victories over “Power Five” opponents (teams from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC).
Team (Conference) – Opponent: Score
Eastern Michigan (MAC) – Purdue (Big Ten): 20-19
Akron (MAC) – Northwestern (Big Ten): 39-34
North Texas (C-USA) – Arkansas (SEC): 44-17
Buffalo (MAC) – Rutgers (Big Ten): 42-13
Old Dominion (C-USA) – Virginia Tech (ACC): 49-35
MAKERS WANTED BAHAMAS BOWL PARTICIPANT SELECTION
The highest-ranked conference champion by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee from the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West or Sun Belt will play annually in one of the College Football Playoff bowls (PlayStation Fiesta Bowl or Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl for the 2018 season) if it is not selected for the Playoff Semifinals.
Conference USA has secured guaranteed commitments with six bowl partners for the 2018 season, as well as two secondary agreements: The Makers Wanted Bahamas, Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton, Gildan New Mexico, Hawai’i, R+L Carriers New Orleans and either the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla or the SERVPRO First Responder Bowls are primary agreements. The Walk-On’s Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., is a secondary agreement (should the ACC or SEC not be able to provide a bowl-eligible team), as is the DXL Frisco Bowl. There is no set selection order among C-USA’s bowl partners.
The MAC has 2018 primary bowl tie-ins with Makers Wanted Bahamas, Dollar General, DXL Frisco, Famous Idaho Potato, and Raycom Media Camellia Bowls. The MAC has secondary 2018 bowl agreements with the Quick Lane Bowl (should the ACC or Big Ten not be able to provide a bowl-eligible team) and other ESPN owned-and-operated bowl games.
The 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl participants – selected from among bowl-eligible teams in Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference – will be announced by the bowl, ESPN Events and conference partners once finalized.
FROM SATURDAYS TO SUNDAYS
A total of 12 former student-athletes who played in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl have played for NFL clubs in 2018.
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)
WR Richie James – San Francisco (Middle Tennessee)
G Taylor Moton – Carolina (Western Michigan)
T Chukwuma Okorafor – Pittsburgh (Western Michigan)*
CB Darius Phillips – Cincinnati (Western Michigan)*
WR Taywan Taylor – Tennessee (WKU)
DE Leterrius Walton – Pittsburgh (Central Michigan)
CB Darious Williams – Baltimore (UAB)*
T Andrew Wylie – Kansas City (Eastern Michigan)*
* – made NFL debut in 2018
MAKERS WANTED BAHAMAS BOWL MEDIA PROJECTIONS
Media Organization (Reporter) – Date: Predicted Matchup
Nassau Tribune (Renaldo Dorsett) – Oct. 3: Florida Atlantic vs. Akron
10th Year Seniors (John Marc Nutt) – Oct. 3: Marshall vs. Northern Illinois
USA Today (Erick Smith) – Oct. 2: Florida Atlantic vs. Toledo
CBSSports.com (Jerry Palm) – Oct. 2: Middle Tennessee vs. Northern Illinois
Bleacher Report (Joe Tansey) – Oct. 2: Louisiana Tech vs. Ohio
The Sporting News (Bill Bender) – Oct. 1: Marshall vs. Toledo
Sports Illustrated (Eric Single) – Oct. 1: Florida Atlantic vs. Buffalo
ESPN.com (Kyle Bonagura) – Sept. 30: Marshall vs. Akron
ESPN.com (Mitch Sherman) – Sept. 30: Marshall vs. Toledo
Orlando Sentinel (Brant Parsons) – Sept. 30: FIU vs. Akron
CollegeFootballNews.com (Staff) – Sept. 30: North Texas vs. MAC*
SB Nation (Jason Kirk) – Oct. 1: Southern Miss vs. Akron
The Athletic (Stuart Mandel) – Aug. 23: Southern Miss vs. Buffalo
Athlon Sports (Steven Lassan) – July 9: Marshall vs. Toledo
Phil Steele Magazine (Phil Steele) – Magazine: Louisiana Tech vs. Western Michigan
* – prediction made with incorrect conference matchup
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, 10 college basketball events, a college softball event 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
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa, Fla.); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); DXL Frisco Bowl (Texas); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Atlanta); Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); SERVPRO First Responder Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta)
AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Fort Bliss, Texas); Charleston Classic (South Carolina); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); 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 (South Bend, Ind.); Myrtle Beach Invitational (Conway, S.C.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); State Farm Champions Classic (Indianapolis) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.)
St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational (Clearwater, Fla.)