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Thursday, September 23, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 23

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C-USA teams seek more upsets for this weekend

UH/C-USA Football Notebook
By Sharif Talukder

Conference USA was involved in some great games this past weekend.

The best game was Cincinnati upsetting No. 8 Wisconsin 17-12. What was supposed to be a warm-up game for the Badgers before they faced Michigan this week turned out to be a fight to the bitter end.

Even though Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne had a monster game and broke the all-time Big 10 career rushing record, it was running back Robert Cooper from Cincinnati who stole the show and an undefeated season from the Badgers.

Cooper rushed for 143 yards, and 51 of those yards came in the first play of the second quarter when he scored a touchdown, giving the Bearcats a 7-3 lead. Cincinnati never looked back.

This week has been hard on Cooper, whose aunt passed away. Cooper had to attend the funeral last week, and missed the Troy State game.

"I just knew I had to stay positive and upbeat and focus on the game," he said.

Southern Miss was also looking to pull off a win against Nebraska, but they came up short in a 20-13 defeat.

The Golden Eagles looked impressive on defense as they held the Cornhuskers to only 188 total yards for the game and forced five turnovers. But the Southern Miss offense did nothing to compliment the defense.

Quarterback Jeff Kelly from Southern Miss threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns, but was also sacked five times, which cost the Golden Eagles 45 rushing yards, a fumble and an interception.

Both the fumble and the interception were returned for touchdowns by Nebraska linebacker Julius Jackson.

"After I scored, I was like, they need to move me to offense," said Jackson. "This was a dream game for anybody on defense, to be able to intercept the ball and run it back for two touchdowns."

Louisville's Chris Redman had another good performance -- 39-of-60 for 450 yards with three touchdown throws -- but it was not enough as Illinois pulled of a shocker in Kentucky and beat the Louisville Cardinals 41-36.

This loss ends any chance for Louisville to make it to a Championship Bowl. Playing a weak non-conference schedule in a second-tier conference, the Cardinals have a shot of going to a bowl better than the Liberty Bowl, like last year's Tulane team.

Illinois' quarterback Kurt Kitter threw four touchdowns and passed for 224 yards; the Fighting Illini are 3-0 in the season.

Other C-USA Scores:

Houston 45, Louisiana-Lafayette 0; Tulane 48, Army 28; East Carolina 21, South Carolina 3; Memphis 31, Arkansas State 26.

Players of the Week:

Offensive Player of the Week, Quarterback Patrick Ramsey (Tulane) broke a school record for passing yards in one game with 447 yards and also threw four touchdowns in the win over Army.

Defensive Player of the Week, Linebacker Eddie Johnson (Cincinnati) made a game-high 14 tackles,five in the final Wisconsin drive, to preserve the Bearcat win.

Special Team Player of the Week, Punter Andrew Bayes (East Carolina) had a great day, averaging 51.4 yards on seven punts and also had two punts more than 70 yards.

Games of the Week:

There are three games this week that could help the conference's image.

Cincinnati must travel to Ohio State after their huge win over Wisconsin. This the second-straight week they must face a top 10 opponent, but this time they have to play in Ohio Stadium.

If the defense can step up again and shut down another great running back in Michael Wiley, and also give pressure to the quarterbacks, then the Bearcats have a chance to have back-to-back upsets.

Southern Miss also must face another top 10 opponent in Texas A&M at Kyle Field.

The Golden Eagles had to face an offensive powerhouse in Nebraska last year and now must face Texas A&M, a team which had their best offensive game in three years.

The Golden Eagles must try to stop a hot quarterback in Cade McCown and a defense which is wreaking havoc on their opponents this year.

East Carolina has not had a good week. First they had to stay in the airport after their win over South Carolina because of Hurricane Floyd, and now they must face No. 9 Miami Hurricanes.

Also, Memphis plays against Tennessee, which makes it four C-USA teams facing top 10 schools.

Televised Games this week:

Thursday:

7 p.m. -- Clemson at Virginia Tech on ESPN

Saturday:

11 a.m. -- Indiana at Penn St. on ESPN

11 a.m. -- Northwestern at Purdue on ESPN2

2:30 p.m. -- Oklahoma at Louisville on Fox Sports Net

2:30 p.m. -- Southern Miss at Texas A&M on ABC

5 p.m. -- Miami at East Carolina on ESPN2

6 p.m. -- Nebraska at Missouri on Fox Sports Net

Florida at Kentucky

7 p.m. -- Florida at Kentucky on ESPN

8 p.m. -- Virginia at Brigham Young on ESPN2

9:15 p.m. -- Southern California at Oregon on Fox Sports Net


 
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