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Marshall Is Good and Other Lessons from CUSA's Week 9

Louisiana Tech is on top of the West, Marshall on top of the East but Middle Tennessee looks sneaky good.

Joel Auerbach

What did we learn this week in CUSA?

  1. Kenneth Dixon can punch and Louisiana Tech sits atop the division … but warily.

    This matchup with UTSA was supposed to be a battle of powers but instead was an assertion of the new status quo. Skip Holtz has his team playing opportunistic football and lady luck is on their side. That isn’t to take away from anything they did on Saturday, but 1) the refs didn’t see Dixon throw hands 2) UTSA is in the midst of their most woeful offensive stretch in their short history and 3) they only won by a TD.

    All of the CUSA West teams (outside of the bull dogs) have negative scoring differentials. The East has four with positive differentials. That awkward stat is just another way of saying that La Tech looks like the least bad of an awful bunch.

    Still – like Tulane last year – you can win games with a bit of defensive good fortune. A fumble right into the hands of Terrell Pinson gave LaTech one score, and two passes right into his lap set up the others. Also, someone should ask UTSA’s OC Kevin Brown why he was drawing up plays to Pinson’s side after he already grabbed two picks.

    Unrelated: La Tech's strength coach was popular on #UTSATwitter.

  2. Marshall is predictable… in the best way.

    Rakeem Cato and company are rolling along just as we thought they would be. Whereas every other CUSA prediction we might have made before August 30th looks very wrong, Marshall as runaway favorites looks to be the only thing to pan out. Marshall picked the wrong day to play their worst game last year – in the CUSA Championship game against Rice. Were it not for that bump in the road they’d be riding a 14-game winning streak. Add that to their narrow losses to MTSU (51-49), VaTech (29-21 in 3OTs), and Ohio(!? 34-31) and Marshall has been the conference’s most consistently good team for two-years running. Sure, you knew all that already but it is worth mentioning as every thing else is in flux. FIU, Southern Miss, and UAB have all met or exceed their conference win totals from last year already.

    Cato broke yet another record and the schedule in front of him looks ripe for more record-setting.

  3. Middle Tennessee is quietly very good… so far.

    The other consistent team in CUSA? Middle. They wen’t 6-2 last year and beat Marshall. They dropped their rematch this year and so they need a major misstep from Cato – which looks unlikely right now. If you made the argument that they were the conference’s second best team I wouldn’t disagree. Louisiana Tech has better defensive statistics, but that is after playing the league’s worst offenses. Barring a couple of major upsets, it looks like the Blue Raiders will have to settle for a decent season and a bowl game. They beat up on UAB, who were coming off a steam rolling of North Texas the week before. Middle looked explosive and potent on defense.