Keeping Score

C-USA Top 5: Louisiana Tech on the rise

Each week, I rank the top five teams in Conference USA and rattle off a few notes of importance in the conference.

Here you have it, the top five teams in C-USA after week three.

1. Marshall (3-0): The Thundering Herd put together its best performance of the season by far in a 44-14 victory over rival Ohio on Saturday. While Marshall has benefited from a weak non-conference schedule compared to the rest of C-USA, it's right where it should be with one remaining non-conference road game at Akron on Saturday. 

2. Louisiana Tech (2-1): The Bulldogs may be the most impressive C-USA team up to this point following back-to-back drubbings of Louisiana-Lafayette and North Texas.

3. Middle Tennessee (2-1): The Blue Raiders have flown under the radar early, but they gave a respectable showing in a 35-24 loss at Minnesota and edged a good Western Kentucky team, 50-47, in triple-overtime Saturday.

4. Texas-San Antonio (1-2): The Roadrunners came back down to earth a little on the road at Oklahoma State in a 43-13 loss, but that's to be expected. UTSA has a shot to right the ship on the road against an FAU team that just thumped Tulsa.

5. UAB (2-1): The Blazers edge out Western Kentucky (1-2) for the final spot in the top five because they deserve a tip of the hat following a nice start to the season. UAB has taken care of two lesser opponents (Troy and Alabama A&M) with ease and proved a handful at Mississippi State in a 47-34 loss in week two.

Dropping out: North Texas (1-2) and Western Kentucky.


C-USA's Star of the Week: Louisiana Tech senior QB Cody Sokol threw for 243 yards and five touchdowns in the 42-21 win over North Texas. WKU's Brandon Doughty threw for a C-USA record 593 yards last week, but “Star of the Week” honors only go to players on winning teams … my blog … my rules.

C-USA's Worst Week: North Texas was riding high after a 43-6 victory over SMU, but the Mean Green crashed hard in a 42-21 loss to Louisiana Tech that wasn't as close as the final score indicated. North Texas has to fix a struggling offense if it's to compete in the C-USA West. After failing to put up 100 yards in the season-opening loss at Texas, the Mean Green looked just as bad against La. Tech.

Best in the Group of Five?: C-USA continued its early dominance over Group of Five opponents this past weekend, adding four more victories over schools from the other four conferences outside the Power Five. C-USA is 11-0 against the Group of Five so far. The best win from this past week was FAU's 50-21 destruction of Tulsa. Here are C-USA's wins this year over GO5 programs:

Western Kentucky 59, Bowling Green 31

UTSA 27, Houston 7

UAB 48, Troy 10

Marshall 42, Miami-Ohio 27

UTEP 31, New Mexico 24

North Texas 43, SMU 6

Louisiana Tech 48, UL-Lafayette 20

Marshall 44, Ohio 14

Old Dominion 17, Eastern Michigan 3

Florida Atlantic 50, Tulsa 21

UTEP 42, New Mexico State 24

Chances are the run of perfection will come to an end this weekend with three road games: Marshall goes to Akron, FAU travels to Wyoming, Southern Miss hosts Appalachian State and Middle Tennessee goes to Memphis.

Among the elite: Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Doughty's numbers are incredible early in the season. He has completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 1,459 yards, 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Only Connor Haliday of Washington State has thrown for more yards – 1,465. This was supposed to be the year of Rakeem Cato in C-USA, but he has mostly out-played the Marshall quarterback. Cato has completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 953 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception. 

Attendance surge: I've been to several UAB home games where there may have been 6,000 people in attendance at Legion Field. With two home games under its belt for the 2014 season, UAB has seen a marked improvement in attendance. The 29,604 that showed up for Saturday's 41-14 win over Alabama A&M was the biggest home crowd for UAB since 2006. So far in 2014, UAB is averaging 28,369 fans – the fourth best in C-USA. It's worth noting that both Troy and Alabama A&M brought decent followings to the UAB games. UTEP leads C-USA in average attendance with an average of 34,201. The worst is FIU, which is averaging crowds of 11,394 through three home games.