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Three Things We Learned From Conference USA In Week 8

You know it was a great week in Conference USA when a win over the SEC is just a footnote.

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Old Dominion Isn’t Ready For The Big Time

The Monarchs entered their matchup against Western Kentucky with a chance to make a statement that they belong in the conversation to win Conference USA. With two weeks to prepare I thought they were ready to prove their record wasn’t a product of a soft schedule.

I was wrong. Old Dominion wasn’t ready. Not even close.

WKU scored the game’s first 35 points. Their first four possessions resulted in a touchdown. At halftime WKU led 52-14. Ballgame.The Hilltoppers finished with 624 total yards of offense.

Old Dominion has made strides on offense this season but if they were going to win this game their offense had to show up and they simply didn’t. The Monarchs were 2-13 on third downs, and rushed for only 67 yards for the game.

The Monarchs were outclassed all game, proving that they are a notch below the top of the conference. To make matters worse Old Dominion let their frustrations get the best of them.

The Monarchs have been a good addition to Conference USA and has certainly had there moments but their is still a gap between them and the top of the conference and after last night’s showing it appears ODU is not quite good enough to win C-USA East.

UTEP Is Alive After Outlasting UTSA In 5 Overtimes

In the longest game in Conference USA history UTEP defeated (rival?) UTSA 52-49 in five overtimes to snap a five-game losing streak and bring their record to 2-5. The Miners had by far their best offensive performance of the year in large part because of the overtime session but their was a tangible feel that the offense had made strides after the bye week.

The Miners finished with 444 total yards as they finally achieved some sort of balance with Ryan Metz as the starting quarterback. Metz passed for 211 yards while Aaron Jones ran for 113 yards.

Down 14 in the third quarter UTEP scored twice as Aaron Jones ran from 27-yards out and Metz connected with Walter Dawn for a 74-yard touchdown to tie the game.

Both teams entered overtime with 28 points and it seemed UTEP would bow out several times as UTSA had several opportunities to win the game with either a field goal or a defensive stop but the Miners were able to come away with the win as Warren Redix made an unbelievable catch on the sidelines to win the game.

Last year UTEP was in this same position as the team looked like they were going to finish nowhere near bowl eligibility only to finish the season 5-7.

With the win UTEP could possibly find itself in the same situation it was in last year needing two wins in the final weeks of the season to earn bowl eligibility.

Rick Stockstill Has A Resilient Team In Middle Tennessee

After a gut-wrenching double overtime loss to rival Western Kentucky last week it would have been very easy for the Blue Raiders to go into SEC territory sulking about what could have been.

What they did instead was win its first game over an SEC opponent since 2005. SEC transfer and former Ole Miss player I’Tavius Mathers had one of the best games in his career as he rushed for 215 yards and one touchdown.

Brent Stockstill was incredible, passing for 280 yards, four touchdowns and zero turnovers. Rick Stockstill got a monumental win for the program as he was extremely emotional after the game his son had.

MTSU’s offense finished with 584 total yards against one of the best defenses in the SEC. The Blue Raiders defense came away with two turnovers and that proved to be the key stat as MTSU won the turnover battle.

The win gave C-USA another win over the SEC this year and proved that the top of this conference (WKU, MTSU, La Tech, Southern Miss) can play with any team in the P5 due to how explosive their offenses can be.

Rick Stockstill has built a great legacy in Murfreesboro during his time there and with the win he has the opportunity to reach another milestone. If the Blue Raiders win out it will be their first 10-win regular season ever under Stockstill.

With FIU, UTSA, Marshall, Charlotte, and FAU on the schedule I’m going to predict the Blue Raiders use this emotional win to springboard them to do just that.