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Three things we learned from Conference USA in Week 10

Thanks to a few upsets the race to win C-USA East just got very interesting.

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

Conference USA East is a three-team race

Entering Week 10, FIU had the inside track on taking home their first C-USA East division title as they were the only team in the division with an undefeated record in conference play. FIU held a two-game lead over MTSU thanks to their head to head victory, and a one-game lead over Marshall.

That lead has now been evaporated as FAU defeated FIU in convincing fashion to win the Shula Bowl. But that wasn’t the only upset of the day, as Marshall struggled on the road and lost to Southern Miss. With two of their division rivals slipping up, Middle Tennessee took advantage of the opportunity to move into first place as the Blue Raiders defeated rival WKU.

C-USA East division standings.

No disrespect to our friends in Charlotte, but C-USA East is now a three-team race between Marshall, FIU and Middle Tennessee in the final month of the regular season. FIU and Middle Tennessee have never played in the Conference USA Championship Game. Marshall has done so twice.

Marshall has the hardest path for a third C-USA East division title. The Herd must win out and have Middle Tennessee lose to UTEP and UAB.

Despite the loss to FAU, FIU still controls their destiny thanks to their win over MTSU. All the Panthers have to do is win out by beating UTSA and Charlotte on the road, and Marshall at home in the season finale.

Middle Tennessee needs to win out and have FIU lose at least once. In a scenario where we have a three-team tie, the tie-breaker goes to whoever has the best record against teams in the East. The Blue Raiders will win the division thanks to this tie-breaker since that will eliminate FIU and lead back to whoever won the head-to-head matchup between Marshall and MTSU, which of course goes to MTSU thanks to their win over Marshall.

Don’t ask me what the tie-breaker scenario is if somehow Charlotte gets involved.

The Miners win, making Rice the worst team in Conference USA

UTEP ended their 20-game losing streak against Rice, winning 34-26. Here was the reaction from Twitter.

And just like that, Rice replaces UTEP as the team we pity as the Owls are now on a nine-game losing streak, the longest losing streak in the country.

Tyler Johnston III gives Bill Clark another option at QB down the stretch

NCAA Football: Alabama A&M at Alabama-Birmingham
Tyler Johnston III shined in his first career start.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

With A.J. Erdely out due to shoulder soreness, redshirt freshman Tyler Johnston III started in his first career game and threw for 249 yards and three touchdown passes in the first half and added a rushing touchdown in the second half in UAB’s 52-3 win over UTSA.

Johnston could’ve had more yards if not for a few dropped passes by his receivers too. All season UAB’s offense has played well enough to get by under first-year offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent. Last night we saw what Bill Clark envisions for this offense to become and Johnston looked like quite the weapon.

UTSA entered the game with two weeks to prepare and was allowing 20.5 points per game in conference play. The Blazers had 38 points at the half. The Blazers finished with 668 total yards and was a touchdown away from breaking the record for most points scored in a game. This was by far UAB’s best offensive performance of the season. Johnston’s performance bodes well for his future prospects of becoming UAB’s starting QB in 2019.

As for the present, next week UAB can clinch their first ever C-USA West division title with a home win over Southern Miss. USM plays good defense, as they are allowing 18.2 points per game during conference play. If Erdely is healthy, I expect the senior QB to start but if he struggles, Bill Clark and Bryant Vincent now have proof of what Johnston is capable of under the lights and they shouldn’t be afraid to insert him into a game if UAB needs a spark.