Week two in Conference USA brought us an early contender for the 2020 season’s game of the year in UTSA’s 51-48 double-overtime victory over Texas State.
Additionally, UAB was outdueled by Miami in the Hurricanes’ season-opener and Will Healy’s new-look Charlotte 49ers couldn’t quite finish an upset of Appalachian State. Let’s take a look back at the week in C-USA and the three things we learned from the weekend’s games.
Charlotte is close - but they need a signature win
With just over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Charlotte trailed Appalachian State 28-20. Following a Mountaineer touchdown and the ensuing kickoff, the Niners embarked on a five-play drive that would manage - eight yards. After punting back to App State, the Charlotte defense forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the Mountaineer 20-yard-line.
Will Healy’s team went four plays without gaining a single yard on the drive that included a curious third-down play call. Charlotte’s football program is heading in the right direction under their 35-year-old head coach. However, they need a signature win to make a statement. They’ll have their opportunities against in-state foes North Carolina and Duke along with a C-USA opponent they’ve never defeated in FIU.
UTSA’s emphasis on the 210 will pay immediate dividends
In one what was the most entertaining game of the college football weekend, Jeff Traylor was victorious in his debut as UTSA’s head coach, as the Roadrunners outlasted Texas State in double OT. His team’s win was spearheaded by the play of quarterback Frank Harris, running back Sincere McCormick and defensive back Rashad Wisdom.
A common link between the three - they’re all products of San Antonio-area high schools. The oft-injured Harris accounted for 220 total yards and four touchdowns while McCormick rushed for 197 yards and three scores on the ground. Wisdom had ten stops and an 81-yard pick-six in the victory. UTSA’s 51-point outburst is a positive sign for an offense that had three-straight seasons of finishing below 100th overall in points per game among FBS teams.
For UTSA to get back on track as a program following Frank Wilson’s three-year tenure as head coach, they’ll need to create a boundary around San Antonio and keep local talents at home.
Tyrrell Pigrome holds the keys to a C-USA title for Western Kentucky
Week two brought us former Maryland quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome’s debut as Western Kentucky’s starting quarterback. In the Tops’ 35-21 loss against Louisville, Pigrome went 10-of-23 for 129 yards and one touchdown pass while adding 68 yards on the ground. The dual-threat QB is a marked change from last year’s starter, Ty Storey.
Head coach Tyson Helton was able to guide Western Kentucky to a nine-win season in 2019 with steady play from the quarterback position and a reliance the team’s defense. Pigrome’s ability to use his legs to extend plays and convert on third down will be pivotal to the Tops’ 2020 success.
If Pigrome can be good enough, there’s enough talent between running back Gaej Walker and the defensive side of the ball to make a conference title run in 2020.