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|C-USA GETS CHANCE TO DEMAND EARLY NOTICE
September 1, 2004
Will Symmes, CUSA Columnist
C-USA should get off to a good start in week one (I predict 6-3 for the week) have an early opportunity to make noise this opening week of the college football season with two games against top 15 opponents West Virginia and Ohio State. Below are my predictions for the nine C-USA games scheduled for week one:
Thursday, September 2
Northwestern at TCU
TCU will get things rolling early and often when the Wildcats arrive in Fort Worth.
The Horned Frog faithful will get to see the entire depth chart as this game will
be out of reach before halftime. Brandon Hassell and Tye Gunn will each throw for
over 100 yards and the running corps consisting of Lonta Hobbs and Robert Merrill
will rush for over 200 yards.
Predicted score: Northwestern 10 TCU 45
Saturday, September 4
East Carolina at #11 West Virginia
The Pirates will play tough for a half, but the offense will struggle with the Mountaineer
defense and cause the Pirate defensive unit to be on the field way too much. Art
Brown will have some decent runs and show signs of returning to his old form, however,
the defense will eventually run out of steam and give up big plays late. Linebacker
stud Chris Moore will have more than twenty tackles.
Predicted score: East Carolina 13 West Virginia 38
Cincinnati at #9 Ohio State
This game will be close as it was last year, but the outcome will be the same as
#9 Ohio State will outlast Gino Guidugli and his fellow Bearcats. Linebacker Jamar
Enzor and company will keep the Buckeyes off balance and will score a defensive
touchdown, but the home field advantage of the Buckeyes will allow the advantage
they need to secure the win.
Predicted score: Cincinnati 20 Ohio State 24
Tulane at Mississippi State
This game would be a gimme for the Greenies if it were last year's squad, but this
isn't last year. Tulane will remain close as both offenses will struggle early.
The Bulldog ground game will be the difference as some option and power running
will give the home standing Bulldogs the edge. Roydell Williams will have a big
day with over a 100 yards receiving and at least one touchdown.
Predicted score: Tulane 17 Mississippi State 34
Baylor at UAB
The Blazers will dominate Baylor from the opening kickoff as Darrell Hackney will
throw for over 300 yards and run for two touchdowns. Baylor will not be able to
provide an answer to All C-USA linebacker Zac Woodfin as he will have double figure
tackles and cause at least one turnover.
Predicted score: Baylor 10 UAB 35
Memphis at Mississippi
Memphis will be much improved on defense and just as effective on offense this year
and will easily handle the Rebels in Oxford, MS. Although Michael Spurlock will
provide some exciting moments, he will not be as consistent as Eli was last year
and the Tigers' defensive scheme led by Joe Lee Dunn will very opportunistic. Danny
Wimprine will have over 200 yards passing, and DeAngelo Williams will rush for over
150 yards in the game.
Projected score: Memphis 31 Mississippi 19
Kentucky at Louisville
This game will be an offensive explosion on both sides as neither team decides to
travel their defense and just brings extra depth for the offensive units. Stefan
Lefors will go wild and throw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately,
the Cardinal defense will allow just as much and the game will come down to the
last drive, and the ground game as Eric Shelton will pound it into the end zone for
the game winning touchdown.
Predicted score: Kentucky 40 Louisville 44
Houston at Rice
This game has been very heated the past couple of years, and the Cougars will take
another hard fought game from the Owls. I believe the Owls will win their conference
this year, but the play of Kevin Kolb will lead Houston to the "W" over
future conference member Rice. Kolb will have more than 400 yards through the air,
but will have too many dropped passes to achieve the numbers he deserves. Rice
will have their moments, but costly turnovers will allow this game to slip away.
Projected score: Houston 56 Rice 35
Monday, September 6
Pittsburgh at South Florida
Neither team will be what you would consider an offensive power, but South Florida
will do enough to take the victory. Pittsburgh will come out strong, but the Panthers
will wilt under the heat and humidity of Tampa. Lee Roy Selmon Jr. will provide
a spark and cause a fumble which will result in a touchdown for the Bulls. The
Panthers will not have the deep threat that departed wide receiver Larry Fitgerald
provided. This will cause the Pittsburgh offense to be too predictable.
Projected score: Pittsburgh 14 South Florida 20
Southern Miss and Army do not play this week.
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