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Volume 68, Issue 19, Friday, September 20, 2002


Conference can't ground Golden Eagles

C-USA Football Notebook

Stuart Clements

Conference USA teams with high hopes in the preseason continue to dig holes, but other teams with no expectations are finding new hope.

Why is it that when you put a C-USA team in the fight of its life with a nationally ranked team, you can expect the unexpected, watch a team fight and beat a team it had no chance of beating?

But you put two league teams in the same stadium, and they produce a mediocre result?

Conference play

The undefeated Golden Eagles of Southern Miss took on the less-than-stellar Memphis Tigers on Saturday. Here's a hint of what happened: the Golden Eagles are still undefeated.

These two teams accomplished an average game Saturday, but with some real shiners.

The Golden Eagles schooled the Tigers 33-14 with the help of senior running back Derrick Nix, who flew past the Memphis defense like they were standing still, earning him C-USA Offense Player of the Week.

Southern Miss senior running back Derrick Nix has led the Golden Eagles back to the top of Conference USA.

Kevin Harwerth/The Daily Cougar

Nix recorded 196 yards in the game with two touchdowns, while moving up to third place on the league's all-time rush list with 2,864 yards.

The Tigers had a chance of being a contender this season, but its performance wasn't impressive against the Golden Eagles, despite sophomore quarterback Danny Wimprine's astonishing 72-yard touchdown pass to receiver Antoine Harden. Fluke? Maybe.

East Carolina finally got its act together so as to not be an embarrassment to the conference. The Pirates fell flat on its face at the beginning of the season, losing to Duke and becoming the laughing stock of Division I-A football.

The sunken privateers finally won their first game and against C-USA rival Tulane, no less. ECU defeated the Green Wave 24-20. What was the key? Turnovers.

Tulane can't do anything against a team that holds on to the ball.

Its like a cherry-picker team the Green Wave forces a fumble (or more appropriately prays for a fumble) close to the opponents end zone and scores. There's no legwork involved.

The trouble is that the Pirates didn't have a single fumble against the Green Wave.

No love

I retract anything good I ever said about Louisville. This team has been nothing but a disappointment thus far, and I don't see anything that'll change. The Cardinals win the easy games and lose as underdogs.

Saturday I saw the most terrific fourth quarter I'd ever seen in football when the Cards were trying to race ahead of the Colorado State Rams.

The game ended 36-33, with the Rams taking home the victory, but the Cards outscored the Rams 19-3 in the fourth quarter. Why couldn't Louisville have played that way for both halves?

Army continues to be the joke of the league. The Black Knights will remain at the bottom of my rankings until the end of time, not because I'm prejudice, but because it is that bad. It is now the only team in C-USA that hasn't recorded a win.

Rutgers made a mockery of this nation's future officers by pulling off a 44-0 win over the Knights.

Kids, if you're good at football and the service institutions try to recruit you, "Aim High."

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