In The Dig: Some injury updates; Homecoming events; George O'Leary is making a big mistake; Bob Stull's infamous '5th Down" game just won'g go away; the best softball player in the universe is playing vs. UTEP tonight in El Paso; and UNM and NMSU are set officially set for the "Pillowfight of the Week."
Getting Set for the Rice Owls
Rice has struggled offensively this season but is that a result of level of competition? The Owls have played Texas, Northwestern, and Baylor. They did score over 30 against North Texas (their only win) and against SMU. The averages, though are not pretty.
The rushing offense is the problem, gaining just 98.4 yards per game, placing the Owls 11th in the 12-team Conference USA and 105th in the nation. Leading rusher Sam McGuffie showed some signs of improvement last week, rushing for 96 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries. Rice also has a relatively mediocre passing attack, throwing for just under 230 yards each time out. Quarterback Nick Fanuzzi has thrown for just one touchdown in 2010, while tossing six interceptions.
Get Over It
I've received literally 15-20 different articles celebrating the 20th anniversary of the "5th Down" play. Remember? Bob Stull coached Missouri who lost to eventual National Champion Colorado after the officials blundered and gave CU a fifth down. Move on! Coach Stull did and UTEP is better off because of it.
"The reason that game, that situation, never dies is because there's no real answer to it," said former Colorado quarterback Charles Johnson, who scored the winning TD and who is now an assistant athletic director at CU. "If you ask 10 different people, you'll get 10 slightly different versions of it. Everyone is still asking the question, even those of us who were involved in it.
Speaking of Coach Stull....
He wrote a short column in the Prospector this week explaining UTEP's new tailgating rules. As we thought, a few bad apples killed it for everyone. I think its time UTEP embraces the party atmosphere tailgating brings; every other school in America has.
Unfortunately, in recent years this safe environment has been threatened, particularly with the influx of underage drinkers on campus. We have found that many people are coming to our campus just to party and aren't even going to the game. Sad to say, it only takes a few disruptive individuals to spoil the healthy tailgating experience of responsible fans
By the way, the Prospector has a Miner and Rice game preview up here.
#3 Back in the Mix?
UTEP is facing perhaps its worst injury predicament of the season this week. We already lost Braxton Amy, and Donald Buckram's has only played in one game, but now for the first time we have significant injuries along the offensive and defensive lines. Left tackle Will Osilinksy didn't play against UNM and starting center Tanner Cullumber is banged up (as well as his backup Eloy Atkinson). MI has some good news though, a certain #3 was back on the field Tuesday.
Isaac Tauaefa suffered a broken knee and leg, according to Price, in the New Mexico game and will not be back for the rest of year. Donald Buckram participated in Tuesday’s practice, which is an encouraging sign.
Representing the AHS: Former Austin High School star basketball Tony Baker has mysteriously landed on UTEP's basketball roster. More on this tonight- I'm guessing he walked on obviously. Baker is a good athlete and it's always nice to have another EP kid on the roster.
Don't Miss the Parade
Check here at KVIA.com for a list of all the Homecoming events including a parade coming up on Thursday.
Homecoming Parade Noon · The Homecoming parade will begin from the P-9 parking lot. It will turn south onto Randolph Drive, left on Robinson Avenue, followed by rights on Oregon Street and University Avenue. The procession will end at Wiggins Road with the pep rally at Memorial Triangle.
Easy on the Eyes: The best softball pitcher in the world, Cat Osterman, will be pitching tonight in anexhibition vs. UTEP.
Conference Wide: From El Paso to Huntington!
Don't Buy the USM Hype: SLAM basketball magazine has a C-USA basketball preview. They have some questions about UTEP and think Southern Miss might pass up the Miners in the C-USA pecking order.
I like Southern Mississippi’s chances to break through in the conference standings this season. Last year’s contenders UTEP, Tulsa and UAB all lost key players and figure to drop off considerably while the Golden Eagles return all-conference forward Gary Flowers (15 ppg, 8.3 rpb, 1.3 bpg). Coming off a solid 20-14 season and with a surprisingly deep recruiting class arriving, expectations are high in Hattiesburg for the first time since a (much) younger Brett Favre was trolling around campus. Unless Randy Culpepper can improve upon his monster junior season and Tim Floyd’s defense can make up for some major holes at UTEP, Larry Eustachy’s team could be Conference USA’s best shot at being a two-bid league this season.
Hard to Argue With It: CBS Sports is ranking all of the football conferences. C-USA checks in at #9.
9. C-USA (LW: 9): Tulane scored the big win of the week for C-USA, knocking off Rutgers in Piscataway. In the other non-conference tilt, Easter Carolina couldn't keep up with North Carolina, being outscored 28-3 in the second half of what was a tie game. It is sort of a conference without an identity at this point missing its most recognizable player, Case Keenum. But it possesses a few teams capable of scaring teams from bigger leagues.
Bonehead Decision of the Day: UCF's offense was terrible when Rob Calabrese was the quarterback. So, so hold off a fan mutiny, O'Leary turned to dual threat freshman Jeff Godfrey who might be the most exciting player in the C-USA. It was Godfrey who led UCF to within one defensive play of beating ranked Kansas State. Now, O'Leary is going back to a two quarterback system. UCF plays UAB tonight on ESPN so check it out.
O'Leary said he wants to take Godfrey out periodically so he can learn and analyze how the game is going. Godfrey was 8-of-18 passing for 92 yards and two interceptions against Kansas State, but he also rushed for 99 yards. The Kansas State game was the first game that Calabrese has not played in this season.
My Pick: Since Picks Up! Won't be up till Thursday night or Friday morning, I'll toss out my score prediction now: UCF 27, UAB 17.
Pony Stampede: The KC Star has a preview up of the huge C-USA West battle between Tulsa and SMU this week.
On the other side of things, the Golden Hurricane defense started the 2010 campaign in terrible fashion. Opponents gained over 1,550 yards against Tulsa in the first three contests of the year, averaging an unprecedented 521 yards per game. However, the Tulsa defense has been able to right itself in the past two showdowns, giving up just 526 total yards combined and averaging 263 yards per contest.
The Land of (Dis)Enchantment
Yup, New Mexico and New Mexico State are both still locked into the Bottom 10. Looks like they will have another "Pillowfight of the the Week" this week. - ESPN Bottom 10. Man, how happy are you that you didn't go to school in New Mexico this week?