Nick Mullens and the Southern Miss defense came up big on Friday afternoon as they punched their ticket to a bowl game. Mullens threw for 342 yards, and three touchdowns, while the Golden Eagles defense picked off LA Tech quarterback Ryan Higgins three times. LA Tech led 14-10 at the start of the second quarter, but Southern Miss took a 39-17 lead with 2:19 left in the game after a 1-yard run by Mullens for his fourth total touchdown of the game. Southern Miss finishes the season 6-6 overall, and 4-4 in conference play. LA Tech (8-4, 6-2), will represent in the west in the Conference USA championship game next week against WKU.
Ray Lawry ran for 194 yards, and three touchdowns helping the Monarchs notch nine wins on the season. FIU actually led 21-14 after a 45-yard interception returned for a touchdown by A.J. Branisel early in the third quarter. ODU would roll off 28 straight points after that, and held FIU to just 232 total yards of offense. FIU ends their season at 4-8 overall. Old Dominion finishes at 9-3 and will await their bowl destination.
Aaron Jones ran for a career high 301 yards, and four touchdowns as UTEP handily beat up on North Texas. Jones had touchdown runs of 83, 48, 58, and his three yard touchdown run gave UTEP a 52-17 lead with 7:51 left in the third quarter. North Texas was limited to just 304 total yards of offense, and still has slim bowl hopes at 5-7. UTEP ends their 2016 season at 4-8.
The Blue Raiders set school records for total yards in a game, and rushing yards in a game and things were crazy down in Blue Raider land. MTSU led 42-21 at halftime, but a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jason Driskel cut the lead to 49-42 early in the fourth quarter. I’Tavius Mathers had another big game running for 235 yards and three touchdowns. Without quarterback Brent Stockstill, wide receiver Richie James carried 22 times, and ran for 207 yards and three touchdowns, Dennis Andrews also ran for three touchdowns for the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee ends their regular season at 8-4, while FAU is looking for a new head coach and finished 3-9 overall.
UTSA celebrated their first ever bowl bid as they pulled away late from Charlotte. The Runners dominated the first half despite a 17-7 halftime lead. But pulled away with two late touchdown drives to seal up their first bowl invite. Both Dalton Sturm, and Jared Johnson provided steady quarterback play, with Johnson leading the last two scoring drives. Sturm threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns, Johnson came in and was 5-of-7 for 126 yards and a touchdown pass which put UTSA ahead 26-14 with 8:19 left in the game. UTSA ends their year at 6-6 and will await their bowling ticket. Charlotte ends their year at 4-8.
WKU led 41-0 at halftime, and gave Marshall hell in their season finale. Both Ace Wales, and Quinton Baker ran for 100 yards on the day for WKU (9-3, 7-1), who will now prepare for an epic rematch with LA Tech in the conference championship game. This is the third time this year the Herd have gave up more than 55 points this season, and end their year at 3-9.
Christian McCaffrey ran for 204 yards as the Cardinal handled Rice. The Rice offense was 5-for-20 on third down conversions, and only put up 291 yards of offense. Stanford led 20-3 at halftime, and put this one away with a 41-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Rice finished the season at 3-9 overall, and 2-6 in C-USA.