Conference USA Football Power Rankings: Week 11

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight week another number one team losses and another team takes the throne. Who is number one this week?

The C-USA west is once again wide open with five teams still alive for the division title, while in the east it is all East Carolina and Marshall's to lose, as we enter the last quarter of the college football season. Here are our Week 11 rankings.

14. Southern Miss. Golden Eagles (0-8, 0-4) Last: Bye, (L) 63-13 @ Marshall: Next up: @ LA Tech, Last Week Rank: #14

Same ole same ole with the Golden Eagles. This time it was Marshall who racked up 636 yards of total offense to go along with five Rakeem Cato touchdown passes. They only positive is you can see Nick Mullens is improving at quarterback as he threw or 323 yards and only interception. He is one of seven true freshman to start this season for the Golden Eagles.

13. FIU Golden Panthers (1-7, 1-3) Last: (L) 34-13 Vs. East Carolina, Up Next: @ Middle Tennessee, Last Week Rank: #12

FIU played smart football, by using 40:37 of the clock and running 37 times to slow down ECU's high flying offense. It worked as they were down only eight headed to the fourth quarter. But the ECU defense turned up like the kids say, and shut down the Golden Panthers though this game was close despite the final score. FIU showed some life against a really good team, though they still rank no better than 110th in the FBS in most stat categories and three of their last four are on the road to end out the season.

12. UTEP Miners (1-7, 0-5) Last: (L) 57-7 @ #15 Texas A&M, Up Next: @ North Texas, Last Week Rank: #13

The Miners played their best quarter of defensive football all season, then Johnny Football went Johnny Football throwing up 50 unanswered points thanks in large part to four UTEP turnovers on offense. The first six games UTEP could not stop anybody, and now they can't move the ball on anybody. Large in part to play calling that has been very vanilla and predictable. The Miners have a serious quarterback situation as Kugler announced this week is an open competition for the starter, sources say even Freshman Mack Leftwich may get in the mix. The Miners continue their Texas road trip to Denton to play red-hot North Texas, no telling what UTEP team we will see lots's of questions heading into this one.

11. UAB Blazers (2-6, 1-3) Last: (L) 24-21 Vs. Middle Tennessee, Up Next: @ Marshall, Last Week Rank: #11

The Blazers played a solid game against a team that was high with momentum after a big win as Middle Tennessee figured to roll an easily over UAB. A stout defensive performance combined with the Logan Kilgore I've seen for most the year helped keep UAB in the game until late in the fourth. Once again the big play killed the Blazers and allowed MTSU to get back in the game late in the fourth. A good performance to build on for the Blazers, though prolific offenses like Marshall, ECU and Rice (in that order) are the next three on deck, they have to find different ways to get Darrin Reaves the rock, he is my favorite Blazer.

10. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (2-6, 1-3) Last: (L) 34-15 Vs. UTSA, Up Next: @ ECU, Last Week Rank: #8

The Golden Hurricane let UTSA dominate them inside their house, as Cody Green has some terrible just terrible numbers. That might have been his last piece of action for the Golden Hurricane this season. Trey Watts did his thing again as that is now twelve consecutive games he has had 100 all-purpose yards, he has done it 25 times in his career, NFL? The Golden Hurricane some decent young players most notably Keevan Lucas, Dane Evans may finish the season at quarterback or see some PT, as the Golden Hurricane have went from conference contender mode to re-loading and re-tooling mode.

9. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (3-5, 2-2) Last: Bye, Up Next: @ So Miss., Last Week Rank: #9

The Bulldogs return to action after a needed bye, and have a very winnable game in Hattiesburg on Saturday. LA Tech is on the outside looking in at the rest of the C-USA west, though they still have an outside chance if they win out. The run defense has hurt them most of the season, and after Southern Miss two of the last three opponents are ahead of them in the standings. Ryan Higgins will also be another key if they plan on making a run, I wouldn't count Skip Holtzs kids out, they will not be easy to beat.

AROD's Sharp Pick: LA Tech 31 So. Miss 17

8. Florida Atlantic Owls (3-6, 2-4) Last: (W) 34-17 Vs. Tulane, Up Next: Bye, Last Week Rank: #10

I hate to say I called it but I called it. I posted my prediction before the Carl Pelini scandal came out and stuck by it that night on the podcast though I doubted it. FAU's physical defense shut down Tulane, and Jaquez Johnson is quietly having a nice season while getting better and better with each game. If your not rooting for this team the rest of the way you have a problem. Tough to play under that wrap Pelini will leave on that program, but those kids have a lot to play for still. With Southern Miss., NM State, and FIU left, could a 6-6 FAU get a bowl bid?

7. UTSA Roadrunners (4-5, 3-2) Last: (W) 34-15 @ Tulsa, Up Next: Vs. Tulane, Last Week Rank: #7

UTSA took another huge step and gained a lot of respect as a program, as they mopped up Tulsa on the ground and have some serious momentum heading into their last three. They stay put in the rankings this week because as far as the top teams are concerned they are still on the outside looking in, though they have the perfect opportunity to change that and write another chapter in the young school history and are playing their best football right now. UTSA will be fun to watch the next couple of weeks, what is scary about them is next year they return David Glasco and Kam Jones who have tearing up lately. They proved they can stop good running teams all year, Tulane is in trouble this week, though the big test is in Denton on the 23rd.

6. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (5-4, 3-2) Last: (W) 24-21 @ UAB, Up Next: Vs. FIU, Last Week Rank: #6

Some respect was lost for the Blue Raiders, who squeaked out a last second win against a struggling UAB. That was a huge game to make a statement but Logan Kilgore struggled again as he has for most of the season as they failed to put up points. The running game is in the top-50 in the nation in yards per game and they should go on to win eight games with the schedule they have remaining. The Blue Raiders will go bowling, are we going to see the team that rolled North Texas on the road or will they continue to play down to teams they should roll?

AROD's Sharp Pick: MTSU 34 FIU 10

5. Tulane Green Wave (6-3, 4-1) Last: (L) 34-15 @ FAU, Up Next: @ UTSA, Last Week Rank: #2

Tulane has struggled to put up points and yards all year long, and it finally caught up last weekend against a inspired FAU. Lorenzo Doss did have another interception as they have defended the pass well, but after three solid weeks of run defense they have now given up back-to-back 190-plus yards on the ground. They will need to put up points against UTSA as the Runners will rack up another 200 on them, is that a late season falter I smell?

AROD's Sharp Pick: UTSA 38 Tulane 16

4. Rice Owls (6-3, 4-1) Last: (L) 28-16 @ North Texas, Up Next: Bye, Last Week Rank: #1

For the Rice Owls this will be a long bye week after that tough loss to North Texas. They drop from the top spot, but do not count them out. Charles Ross still had 100 yards rushing against a rock solid North Texas defense and they have a favorable schedule remaining, though the will be in for a battle against LA Tech when they come out of the bye. How they respond against LA Tech will tell how the last two games will go. I expect Rice to win out though that loss to North Texas may haunt them and leave them with just a bowl trip to end what has been a solid football season in Houston.

3. Marshall Thundering Herd (5-3, 3-1) Last: (W) 61-13 Vs So Miss, Up Next: Vs. UAB, Last Week Rank: #5

The Herd bounced back from that tough loss agains MTSU to roll So. Miss. as Rakeem Cato threw five touchdowns. The offense has not been all about Rakeem though as 15 different players have scored touchdowns for Marshall this season. Essary Tallafero has become the workhorse out of the backfield as he has back-to-back games of 100 yards rushing. Marshall controls its own destiny in the east, its hard to see them lose their next three after the way they responded against the Golden Eagles. I can't wait for Cato v. Carden for the east crown, Marshall should hold up their end as will ECU though anything can happen in the next three weeks.

AROD's Sharp Pick: Marshall 50 UAB 17

2. North Texas Mean Green (6-3, 4-1) Last: (W) 28-16 Vs. Rice, Up Next: Vs. UTEP, Last Week Rank: #4

North Texas jumps two spots up after their upset of Rice last Thursday. The Mean Green had the better play makers and made more big plays as they have done all year. Brelan Chancellor is the best skill player in the conference and showcased that last week. If Tulane loses, which will happen, North Texas will be in control of the west after they beat UTEP. Those goal line stands defined the culture of football we can expect to see from ongoing. Looking ahead, that home game against UTSA is going to be very pivotal in the west race, if UTSA comes into that game at 4-2 what an important game it will be.

AROD's Sharp Pick: North Texas 37 UTEP 17

1. East Carolina Pirates (6-2, 4-1) Last: (W) 34-13 @ FIU, Up Next: Vs. Tulsa, Last Week Rank: #3

East Carolina is back at number one in the Power Rankings and has bounced back nicely from that overtime loss to Tulane a couple of weeks ago. Shane Carden threw three touchdowns in the first half against FIU, as the Pirates are now 10th overall in the FBS in passing yards per game. ECU has a favorable schedule before that Marshall game, they could be playing for 10 wins in that game with they way things could possibly set up. Carden has been great all year and is on his way to All-Conference honors, as well as the defense that statistically is the best in the conference.

AROD's Sharp Pick: ECU 34 Tulsa 21

MinerRush C-USA Players of The Week:

Offense: David Glasco II, UTSA

Defense: D'Joun Smith, FAU

Special Teams: Brelan Chancellor, North Texas

C-USA Individual Statistic Leaders

Passing

Player Comp-Att-Int Yards TD Avg/G
Shane Carden-ECU 251-541-5 2589 19 323.6
Rakeem Cato-Marshall 167-277-6 2069 20 258.6
Derek Thompson-North Texas 177-264-11 2084 12 231.6
Eric Soza-UTSA 179-283-9 1991 11 221.2
Ryan Higgins-LA Tech 128-120-8 1311 4 218.5

Rushing

Player Attempts Yards Avg. TD Avg/G
Charles Ross-Rice 131 798 6.1 6 114.0
Aaron Jones-UTEP 150 805 5.4 4 100.6
Jordan Howard-UAB 95 650 6.8 2 92.9
Trey Watts-Tulsa 151 737 4.9 5 92.1
Kenneth Dixon-LA Tech 124 698 5.6 3 87.2

Receiving Yards

Player Rec Yards TD Avg/C Avg/G
Justin Hardy-ECU 72 901 5 12.5 112.6
Jamarcus Nelson-UAB 27 492 6 18.2 82.0
Ryan Grant-Tulane 57 737 7 12.9 81.9
Tommy Shuler-Marshall 59 593 5 10.1 74.1
Brelan Chancellor-North Texas 38 642 4 16.9 71.3

All-Purpose Yards

Player Rush Rcv Punt Ret Kick Ret Yards Avg/G
Trey Watts-Tulsa 737 322 136 172 1367 170.9
Brelan Chancellor- North Texas 31 642 316 522 1511 167.9
Justin Hardy- East Carolina 0 901 181 0 1082 135.2
Jamarcus Nelson-UAB 9 492 74 177 752 125.3
Kam Jones-UTSA 246 284 0 342 962 120.3

Sacks

Player Solo Total
I.K. Enemkpali-LA Tech 4 5.5
Montese Overton-ECU 5 5.0
Codie Brooks-UTSA 5 5.0
Derrick Alexander-Tulsa 5 5.0
Terrel Stanley-ECU 4 5.0

Interceptions

School INT Yards TD
D'Juan Smith-FAU 7 112 1
Lorenzo Doss-Tulane 6 185 2
Marcus Trice-North Texas 4 48 0
Damon Magazu-ECU 3 56 0
A.J. Leggett-Marshall 3 20 0

Make sure to stay tuned to MinerRush for more information on all things UTEP and C-USA sports. Also make sure to on Twitter, and, as always don't forget to like our Facebook Page. Make sure to tune into The Rush 2.0 Podcast Wednesdays @7PM MDT on Blog Talk Radio.

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