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The Week That Was: Week Twelve

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The Knights shined on their brightest stage and Conference USA and the Sun Belt will come down to the final week.

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Central Florida Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Games of the week

1. Florida Atlantic at North Texas: This Thursday night game was pointsy and a whole lot of fun. A rematch of last year’s Conference USA title game but the teams are in much different places now. The two offenses went back and forth all night long and once again the FAU running game was a huge factor. But it was the Mean Green’s passing game lead by Mason Fine that would pull it out in the end. North Texas takes the win at home, 41-38.

2. Florida International at Charlotte: This would prove to be the final home game for Brad Lambert as the head coach of Charlotte. This was another offensive explosion and FIU’s James Morgan would put together another impressive performance. The two would trade scores back and forth until a late touchdown from the Panthers would be the difference. FIU wins on the road 42 to 35 and are one win away from locking up the CUSA East.

3. Utah State at Colorado State: What a game! Utah State was caught off guard in this one. A top 15 team in some polls going on the road to face a bad Colorado State team. Colorado State played one of their best games of the season and took it to the Aggies. Utah State scored what looked to be a game winning touchdown with very little time left on the clock but the Rams had a little bit of hope left. What happened next was utter chaos, a Hail Mary that the Rams came down for a touchdown with BUT was called back for illegal touching. A heartbreaker for Mike Bobo’s group but the Aggies survive, 29-24.

Honorable mention: Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss and Texas State at Troy

Top Dogs of the week

1. McKenzie Milton- UCF, QB: The Knights got a huge win over Cincinnati in prime time. Milton put on a clinic, he had 268 yards and three touchdowns.

Cincinnati v Central Florida Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

2. Tyre Brady- Marshall, WR: The Thundering Herd shut out UTSA on Saturday and Brady’s performance stood out once again. He had six catches for 162 yards and a touchdown.

NCAA Football: New Mexico Bowl-Marshall vs Colorado State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

3. A.J. Ouellette- Ohio, RB: The Bobcats bounced back in a big way by taking Buffalo to the woodshed. Ouellette had 196 yards and two touchdowns.

NCAA Football: Ohio at Cincinnati David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

4. Wesley Fields- Georgia Southern, RB: The Eagles picked up a win on the road over Coastal Carolina. Fields was impressive going off for 148 yards and two touchdowns.

NCAA Football: Appalachian State at Georgia Southern Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Honorable mention: Western Kentucky’s defense- FIVE INTERCEPTIONS against UTEP

Statement wins of the week

1. Temple over South Florida: The Owls we’re trailing 17-0 in this one but rattled off 27 straight to beat Bulls at home. This could’ve turned into a nice win for Charlie Strong but what happened was a continued theme of USF being who we thought they were. Some even have Strong on the hot seat after four losses in a row. Temple gets a big win in conference and shows that the future is bright in Philly.

2. Louisiana over South Alabama: The Ragin’ Cajuns are going bowling! In year one of the Billy Napier era this team has become one of the most explosive offense groups in the country. A win over South Alabama isn’t something to thump your chest about but getting the sixth win certainly is. Louisiana football is trending up.

Everett Withers has been fired: Texas State has decided to move on from Withers. He had an overall record of 7 wins and 28 losses in San Marcos. It seemed like an odd fit on paper but Withers was coming off an impressive stint at James Madison. Maybe Texas State looks for someone with more ties to Texas high school coaches. The Withers era showed signs of life at times but not enough.

NCAA Football: Texas State at Wyoming Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Lambert has been fired: While I understand this one I thought some of the improvement this season would get Lambert to another year but Charlotte has decided to go in a different direction. His overall record was 11 wins and 36 losses. Not impressive on paper but he was the head of the 49ers transition into Conference USA. Some have labeled Charlotte a sleeping giant, the right hire could prove that to be true.

NCAA Football: Charlotte at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Final Thoughts

1. UCF took full advantage of the spotlight: The Knights had college gameday in town and a primetime game on ABC and they not only passed the test but they blew it out of the water. The gameday crowd was amazing and the team picked up a blowout win over the Bearcats. If they hadn’t shown the country what they were all about before they certainly just made them take notice.

Cincinnati v Central Florida Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

2. Butch Davis deserves a ton of credit: FIU gets a win over Charlotte in a shootout in a game that would be the final nail in the coffin on Brad Lambert coaching tenure. But the real story? The job that Butch Davis had done in just two years at FIU is worth a lot of praise. He took over the Panthers as one of the worst teams in FBS and now they’re one win away from winning the CUSA East.

Florida International v Western Kentucky Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

3. Let’s talk about week night #MACtion and #FunBelt: These games are fun for us at home (usually) but are we getting to a point where the ends don’t justify the means? The occasional Thursday night match up is fun but these Tuesday and Wednesday night games have no one in the stands and are supposedly becoming a problem for the players and their classes. I know it’s their thing but tv exposure is becoming less and less of a reason because we can stream everything. I don’t want to get rid of it entirely but it may be time to adjust the model.

4. Jacketgate: Well by now you’ve all seen Ed Oliver and Major Applewhite going at it on the sidelines. But this is about more than a jacket isn’t it? Applewhite wants his best player on the field and Oliver thought his coaches actions were out of line. They’re both probably right but most coaches would publicly take the high road and do what’s best for their player. This seems to be something that has been bubbling under the surface for awhile but don’t be surprised to see Oliver play against Memphis this week.

BONUS

What a heartbreaker!