Pirates hoist the Jolly
Roger, tie Cardinals
Conference USA Update
The bubble popped on Cincinnati Saturday
when the Louisville Cardinals knocked the Bearcats from the ranks of the
undefeated in Conference
USA play. The Bearcats had a seven-game
conference-winning streak going into the matchup.
Linebacker Michael Brown, Louisville's
one-man wrecking crew, forced a fumble, intercepted a pass, recovered a
fumble, had a pass break-up and
somehow found the time to make four tackles
to lead the Cardinals over the Bearcats 28-13 at Cincinnati.
The fumble Brown forced and recovered led
to the Cardinal's second touchdown and his interception iced the game for
the Cardinals with 1:54
remaining in the game. For his efforts,
Brown received Defensive Player of the Week honors in C-USA.
Louisville punter/place kicker Wade Tydlacka
received Special Teams Player of the Week honors. Tydlacka punted nine
times for an average of
42.6 yards per punt and four of his five
kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.
Louisville shares the top spot in the conference
with East Carolina, both teams sport a 3-0 record in conference play. The
Cardinals are now 7-1
this year and are mystifyingly still unranked
in either of the major national polls.
Louisville is far and away the best team
in a solid conference. Yet the Cardinals are ranked No. 29 and No. 30 in
the Associated Press and
ESPN/USA Today polls. It's sad to see
that a good team can be so disrespected by both coaches and sportswriters.
The Black Knights of Army got their second
win of the year, defeating Tulane 42-35 in an offensive showdown. The win
moves Army to 2-5 on the
year, 2-4 in conference play. Tulane drops
to 2-7 this season, just 1-4 in conference.
The star of the game was Army running back
C. J. Young, who ran the pigskin 39 times for 192 yards and four rushing
touchdowns. Young was
named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week.
Army set season highs in points with 42
plays run with 83, and total yards with 506.
Tulane senior quarterback Patrick Ramsey
was forced to sit out the game with an injury to his right hand. Sophomore
J.P. Losman made his first
start of the season, going 25-39 for 384
yards and three touchdowns. The 384 yard effort established a Conference
USA season high.
UH continued its losing ways, dropping
a 58-14 decision to the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi. The Cougars
are now 0-7 this season, 0-5
in conference. Southern Miss is 4-2 overall
and 2-2 in conference.
Southern Miss had scored only 86 points
all season, but a struggling Houston defense allowed the Golden Eagles
its highest output in a single
game since 1994. Quarterback Jeff Kelly
tied a career high with four touchdowns passes.
Houston quarterback Nick Eddy threw 56
pass attempts. Unfortunately for the Cougars, he was only able to connect
on 26 of those attempts, for a
paltry 46 percent completion rate.
If the Cougars lose again this week, they
will break a school record for consecutive losses with 12, dating back
to last season.
Houston is last in C-USA in a slew of defensive
categories, though their offense has been one of the better ones in the
conference, ranking third in
total offense behind East Carolina and
On a brighter note, Houston junior safety
Hanik Milligan is second in the conference at an outstanding 16 tackles
The Blazers of Alabama-Birmingham made
great strides towards a winning record this season when they defeated the
Memphis Tigers. The win
keeps UAB's bowl hopes alive. Their record
is now 4-4 overall, 3-2 in conference play. The loss moved Memphis to a
4-4 as well, but just 2-3 in
Southern Mississippi and UAB have the No.
2 and 3 ranked total defenses in Division 1-A. The Golden Eagles give up
a mere 246.5 yards per
game while the Blazers surrender just
250.1 yards per contest.
In a conference that is dominated by outstanding
offenses, it is surprising to see five schools in the top 50 in the nation
in total defense.