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The Dig: Hurting in Memphis and Battle of I-10 Edition


In the DigAll the Battle of I-10 News you need; College Football Talk thinks the C-USA is better than the Big East; A "Beard" is taking center stage in Huntington; and the Rush can't help but laugh at the Memphis Tigers a little bit.  If you dislike Memphis, you want to read today's Dig. 



Let's See it on Saturday:  Coach Mike Price was pleased, I mean ecstatic, over UTEP's closed practice yesterday.  He called it "one of the most fantastic practices I've ever seen."  Hopefully, a good week of work will be evident on the field Saturday night.

"This was one of the most fantastic practices I've ever seen; you really missed out," Price quipped Tuesday after the padless hour-and-45-minute workout. "Seriously, it was a good practice. We got a lot done. Outside of the high-profile injuries (Germard Reed's concussion, James Nelson's ankle and Nick Lamaison's and Matt Camilli's shoulder) UTEP is healthy.


A History Lesson:  UTEP AD Bob Stull is telling some stories about the Battle of I-10.

The Brass Spittoon came into existence in 1982, when former El Paso Mayor Jonathan Rogers and former Las Cruces Mayor David Steinborn agreed to present an additional trophy to the victor of the storied game. The series with New Mexico State is the longest running in UTEP history. The Miners and Aggies have squared off 88 times, with UTEP holding a 51-35-2 series lead.

Can the Aggies Handle Success?  Dewayne Walker wants to follow his first big win in Cruces with, well, another big win.

"After a big win, you follow it up with another big win," NMSU head coach DeWayne Walker said. "That's how you build programs." Even under normal circumstances this game would be a big one between two heated rivals.



Embarrassed: The Daily Gopher has the full story behind the Aggies win over Minnesota. 

For the second consecutive week the Gophers opened the game seemingly unprepared, uninspired and overmatched. Not exactly surprising last week at USC, but home against the team predicted to finish last in the WAC? This was just embarrassing. We over-confidently onsided the opening kickoff, did not recover and gave up a touchdown six plays into the game when New Mexico State connected on a 26-yard touchdown pass to take the early 7-0 lead. The Gopher offense proceeded to go three and out to give the ball right back to the Aggies. After last week's lackluster effort in L.A. I think we all expected a much different start against a presumed inferior opponent.

The Secondary:  The Aggies have a formidable duo at safety in Donyae Coleman and Ben Bradley.

Safety Donyae Coleman has been extremely productive for the Aggies thus far, registering a team-high 14 tackles in the season opener versus Ohio University, adding his first career interception and fumble recovery. He did however, settle down in the win over Minnesota but could be a pain in the side of the UTEP offense on Saturday. The team's other safety, Ben Bradley, had an outstanding performance versus the Gophers, tallying 13 tackles with an interception.

Volleyball has some photos from NMSU's 3-0 sweep of the Lady Miners yesterday.



Is Conference USA Better than the Big East?   College Football Talk thinks that Rice's wins over Rice and UCF's win over Boston College mean the C-USA is now the 6th best league in college football.  If UCF and/or Houston can get into the Top 25 next week, this argument might pick up steam.

But look what we have here, folks: Conference USA sneaking up past the Big East. Considering almost half the Big East used to reside in C-USA, it makes sense that they’re comparable. WVU and Pitt Backyard Brawl’d with Norfolk State and Maine, and the conference’s most convincing win was South Florida over Ball State. B-C-S!

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Ex-Tulsa Club:  The top story in Tulsa seems to be about a game between Clemson and Auburn.  You see Gus Malzahn is coaching against Chad Morris and they both of course have ties to Tulsa.

Eight years after their personal and professional relationship began, Malzahn and Morris will meet as foes on a college football field when Auburn plays Clemson this Saturday, their high school days in the past but never far from their minds.

The Marshall Thundering Herd

The Beard:  Marshall QB Rakeem Cato apparently has a beard. It's becoming kind of a pop culture phenomenon in Huntington.  Click here for a pic- it is a funny beard.

Cato himself carried a "Beard Mafia" T-shirt into player interviews Monday, one given by a fan after the Thundering Herd's 26-20 win Saturday over Southern Mississippi. Like everything else, it seems, the freshman is taking his newfound fan popularity in stride.

The Workhorse:  Tron Martinez is quickly developing into a workhorse for the Herd at running back.  But, the coaches want to see a better committee around him.

Martinez has 145 yards on 27 carries through two games, which puts him only behind Southern Methodist's Zach Line in Conference USA rushing yardage.

Meet George Carpenter:  The brother of Dallas Cowboy draft bust Bobby Carpenter, George, is a hard nosed, hard working LB at Marshall.  And he is the C-USA Co-Defensive Player of the Week.

George Carpenter, the son of former NFL player Rob Carpenter and brother of current Detriot Lions Bobby Carpenter, led Marshall with a game-high 13 tackles. Two of them went for a loss, including one of five Herd sacks. He also recovered two fumbles, one of which he forced.

The Southern Miss. Golden Eagles

I though UTEP had Turnover Problems:  USM had six turnovers in their loss to Marshall!  Six!

The Houston Cougars

Emerging Star:  Patrick Edwards, the Coog WR, was the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week.  His statline was insane.

Edwards caught eight passes for a career-high 187 yards and a touchdown in the victory. He is now fourth all-time in school history in career receiving yards with 2,953. Saturday was the 11th time in his career that he has recorded 100 or more receiving yards in a game.

The Central Florida Knights

Battle of the Turnpike  UCF plays FIU this week.  It's a chance for UCF players to head home to Miami.  This is a game between old friends and enemies.  A.J. Guyton dubbed it the "Backyard Brawl."

"This is like a backyard brawl," Guyton said. "Battle of the turnpike. That's what I call it. Straight down the turnpike. Both schools are ready. It's going to be a real battle out there. Nothing is going to be given to either team, so both of us have to come out there. The man who prepares better during the week, that's who's going to come out with a victory on Saturday."


This is Getting Way too Easy......

Look, UTEP almost lost to Stony Brook.  We aren't exactly in a position to laugh at anybody right now.  But, when it's Memphis its hard not to enjoy this a little bit.

Dead Last:  First, ESPN's Pat Forde on the Memphis Tigers

But the Tigers are worse. On Saturday they lost 47-3 to Arkansas State. That's Arkansas State, not Arkansas. Arkansas State had never beaten an FBS opponent by 44 points until Saturday, but they had their 47 points on the board in just three quarters. Jeff Sagarin's computer ranks Memphis 178th, lowest of any FBS team.

No Freaking Way:  Now, the knockout punch from Arkansas State Head Coach Hugh Freeze....

By way of introducing Arkansas State Coach Hugh Freeze in a Monday interview, Memphis radio host Chris Vernon rattled off statistics from the Red Wolves’ most recent victory. ASU posted 611 yards of total offense in a 47-3 embarrassment of the Memphis Tigers. Vernon jokingly asked Freeze, "What is your problem?" Freeze responded, somewhat uncomfortably, "I think we were very kind." Truthfully, the Red Wolves were very kind. Their victory could have been much bigger, according to those in attendance. Freeze pulled the team’s starters — every last one of them — after one series in the third quarter.

Arkansas State pulled their starters after one series in the third quarter because the game was out of hand.  Oh My.  Well, just another day in the C-USA.


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