NCF Nation: Kent State

Non-AQ predictions: Week 11

November, 11, 2010
11/11/10
9:00
AM ET
Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

Three straight weeks of going 7-3 is not that bad considering the alternative. I did get one of my upset specials right, though I didn’t expect Navy to hang 76 on East Carolina. Props to New Mexico. Does it count that I said there was a “slim chance” of an upset? Hey at least I said there was a chance!

With a 64-40 overall record, bring on Week 11.

East Carolina 41, UAB 35. (Tonight) The Pirates have to get past the 76 points they allowed to Navy last week. UAB is going to have to get running back Pat Shed going, because Dominique Davis will be able to pass for the Pirates. The East Carolina defense has been bad, but somehow the Pirates will find a way to bounce back with bowl eligibility on the line. They have got to hold on to the football, though. Four turnovers on five possessions in the third quarter against Navy let the game get out of hand.

No. 4 Boise State 45, Idaho 13. (Friday). You know the atmosphere is going to be rowdy, what with offseason comments from Boise State president Bob Kustra stirring the pot. This is the final scheduled game in the rivalry now that the Broncos are leaving for the Mountain West. The Vandals would love nothing more than to end their undefeated season, but they are one of the most penalized teams in the country. Idaho hasn’t beaten Boise State since 1998. The Vandals’ last win at home over the Broncos? 1995.

No. 3 TCU 38, San Diego State 10. Sure this is the classic “trap” game for the Horned Frogs, who will be coming down off an emotional 47-7 win at Utah. San Diego State is much improved this season, and bowl eligible for the first time since 1998. Ronnie Hillman already has 1,000 yards rushing and will be the No. 1 target to stop. The Aztecs have won four straight but haven’t looked good doing it. They have won their past three games by an average of eight points. Their opponents in those three games have a combined six wins.

No. 14 Utah 35, at Notre Dame 20. The Utes have to bounce back and fast to put the embarrassment of last weekend behind them. This certainly will be a big test for coach Kyle Whittingham to get his team to stay focused for the remainder of the season. The Irish have a handful of starters out because of injuries. Bank on Jordan Wynn putting the mistakes of last week behind him to have a big game.

No. 21 Nevada 45, Fresno State 40. This one is not going to be easy for the Wolf Pack, but they come into the game riding a major 844-yard output on offense, with three 100-yard runners and a 300-yard passer in a win over Idaho. Chris Carter and Logan Harrell each have nine sacks for Fresno State, but the first key is to stop the run. The same can be said for Nevada -- Fresno State has gotten good production from Robbie Rouse in the last three games. He is coming off a 286-yard day against Louisiana Tech.

UCF 35, Southern Miss 21. The Knights are the only undefeated team left in Conference USA and are the favorites to win the entire conference. They survived a scare on the road against Houston last week and now face an East Division rival that has been inconsistent. But the Golden Eagles have lost their two league games by a combined two points. Still, their defense has been somewhat disappointing and is going to have a hard time slowing down Jeff Godfrey.

BYU 30, Colorado State 27. I am trying not to read too much into the Cougars’ offensive explosion last week because it came against UNLV. But still, it has to be encouraging to see Jake Heaps throw for more than 100 yards in a game. This one features the two top freshman quarterbacks in the league, and the Rams are much improved with Pete Thomas leading the way. But BYU has an improving defense -- and has to win to keep bowl hopes alive.

Army 30, Kent State 27. The Black Knights have to win either against Kent State or next week against Notre Dame to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1996. This one is an intriguing matchup -- Army has the No. 8 rushing attack in the country, averaging 277 yards a game. Kent State has the best run defense, giving up just 69 yards a game. But the Golden Flashes have to major injuries on defense: linebacker Cobrani Mixon and safety Brian Lainhart. Mixon is second on the team in tackles, while Lainhart is third. Quarterback Spencer Keith also has a sprained thumb and is listed as day-to-day.

Troy 28, FIU 17. Though FIU is 3-5, the Panthers are 3-1 in conference play, half a game behind Troy (4-1). So essentially the Sun Belt title is on the line. Troy has never lost to FIU, so bank on the Trojans to win this one and eventually win their fifth straight league title. Great special-teams matchup to watch between T.Y. Hilton of FIU and Jerrel Jernigan of Troy.

UPSET SPECIAL: Tulsa 45, Houston 44. The top two scoring offenses in Conference USA battle it out with the West division title at stake. The Golden Hurricane have loads of confidence after winning three straight, and plenty of weapons for Houston to try and handle. Tulsa has a more high-powered attack than UCF, which scored 40 in a win last week, so the Golden Hurricane get the edge.

Non-AQ bowl look

November, 9, 2010
11/09/10
5:03
PM ET
You saw my bowl projections from Sunday. Now here is a breakdown of the teams that have a shot at becoming bowl eligible this weekend.

Conference USA

Already eligible: UCF, Tulsa, Southern Miss, UTEP.

Vying for a spot: East Carolina, SMU and Houston each have five wins. The Pirates are hoping to bounce back after an embarrassing 76-45 loss to Navy at UAB. Houston hosts Tulsa in an important West division game, while SMU is off. SMU, Houston and Tulsa each have two league losses. SMU already beat Tulsa but lost to Houston. If there is a three-way tie atop the division when the season ends, the first tiebreaker is overall record to determine who plays in the Conference USA title game.

On the other end of the spectrum: Tulane (3-6), Marshall (3-6) and UAB (3-6) have to win out. Rice (2-7) and Memphis (1-8) have been eliminated.

Guaranteed bowl spots: Six.

MAC

Already eligible: Temple, Toledo, Ohio and Northern Illinois.

Vying for a spot: Miami (Ohio) is 5-4 and has a great shot at becoming bowl eligible in the next two weeks with games at Bowling Green (2-7) on Wednesday and at Akron (0-10) on Nov. 17. Kent State (4-5) needs to win two of its final three against Army (5-4), Western Michigan (3-6) and Ohio (7-3).

On the other end of the spectrum: Western Michigan has to win out. Buffalo, Central Michigan, Bowling Green, Akron, Eastern Michigan and Ball State are out.

Guaranteed bowl spots: Three.

Mountain West

Already eligible: TCU, San Diego State, Air Force, Utah.

Vying for a spot: BYU (4-5) plays at Colorado State in a critical must-win before closing against New Mexico and Utah.

On the other end of the spectrum: Colorado State, Wyoming, UNLV and New Mexico have been eliminated.

Guaranteed bowl spots: Five.

Sun Belt

Already eligible: No one.

Vying for a spot: Troy (5-3) is the only team with five wins. A home win against FIU on Saturday gets the Trojans bowl eligible. ULM (4-5) and Arkansas State (4-5) have to win two of three. The Warhawks have LSU, North Texas and Louisiana. Arkansas State has Western Kentucky, Navy and FIU.

On the other end of the spectrum: FIU, Middle Tennessee and FAU are each 3-5. The Blue Raiders may have the easiest road with games against North Texas, Western Kentucky, FAU and FIU remaining. FAU has Troy and Texas on its schedule. FIU also has tough games against Troy, Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee. North Texas, Louisiana and Western Kentucky have been eliminated.

Guaranteed bowl spots: Two.

WAC

Already eligible: Boise State, Hawaii, Nevada, Fresno State. Hawaii has accepted an invite to the Hawaii Bowl.

Vying for a spot: Idaho (4-5) has to win three of four against Boise State, Utah State, Fresno State and San Jose State. Since the Vandals have a 13-game schedule, they have to get to seven wins. Louisiana Tech and Utah State are both 3-6 and have to win out. The Bulldogs have New Mexico State, San Jose State and Nevada. Utah State has San Jose State, Idaho and Boise State.

On the other end of the spectrum: New Mexico State and San Jose State (1-8) have been eliminated.

Guaranteed bowl spots: Four.

Independents

Navy (6-3) became eligible for the Poinsettia Bowl. Army (5-4) needs one more win with games left against Kent State, Notre Dame and Navy. Army does not have an automatic bowl tie-in this year, but has backup agreements with the Armed Forces Bowl and Military Bowl. Notre Dame (4-5) needs two more wins with games remaining against Utah, Army and USC.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

November, 8, 2010
11/08/10
3:30
PM ET
Here are the non-AQ Players of the Week, as selected by each conference:

Conference USA

Offense: UCF quarterback Jeff Godfrey. Went 15-of-19 for 294 yards and a pair of touchdowns and rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown, giving him 399 yards of total offense in a 40-33 win against Houston. It was just the second 100-yard rushing game by a UCF quarterback in school history.

Defense: UCF linebacker Josh Linam. Had 17 tackles, 1.5 for a loss and a pass breakup against Houston. It more than doubled his previous career-high of seven.

Special Teams: Tulsa kick returner Damaris Johnson. Totaled 322 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns in a 57-27 victory against Rice. Johnson became the Conference USA record-holder for career kickoff return yards with 3,054 yards and needs only 64 yards to become the NCAA’s all-time kick-off return leader.

MAC

East Division

Offense: Temple quarterback Mike Gerardi. Threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-10 win at Kent State. In four games, Gerardi has three starts and is 54-of-81 for 871 yards and eight touchdowns.

Defense: Ohio defensive lineman Stafford Gatling. Recorded six tackles, including 1.5 sacks and two tackles for loss with a forced fumble in a 34-17 win against Buffalo.

Special teams: Kent State punter Matt Rinehart. Averaged 48.4 yards on seven punts in a 28-10 loss to Temple. Rinehart had a pair of punts downed inside the 5-yard line as the Flashes averaged an impressive 48.1 net average.

West Division

Offense: Ball State receiver Jack Tomlinson. Had a career day with seven catches for 175 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-30 double overtime win against Akron.

Defense: Central Michigan linebacer Armond Staten. Recorded 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack and three forced fumbles in a 26-22 win against Western Michigan.

Special teams: Ball State kicker Ian McGarvey. Made three field goals and four extra points against Akron.

Mountain West

Offense: TCU quarterback Andy Dalton. Went 21-of-26 for a career-high 355 yards and three touchdowns in a 47-7 win at No. 5 Utah. His 93-yard touchdown pass to Josh Boyce marked the second-longest play in MWC history.

Co-Defensive Players: TCU linebacker Tanner Brock and San Diego State linebacker Miles Burris. Brock had a career-high 12 tackles, an interception and a pass breakup in the win against Utah. Burris had a career-high 10 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles in a 24-19 victory against Colorado State.

Special teams: New Mexico kicker James Aho. Kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired to help New Mexico stop a nine-game losing streak with a 34-31 win against Wyoming. He also made a career-best 51-yard attempt.

Sun Belt

Offense: FIU receiver T.Y. Hilton. Had 291 all-purpose yards, scoring four touchdowns in a 42-35 win in double overtime against ULM. He had two receiving touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and one kickoff return for a touchdown.

Defense: Arkansas State linebacker Demario Davis. Had seven tackles and a career-high two interceptions in a 51-24 victory against Middle Tennessee.

Special teams: Hilton. Had 168 kick return yards, including 95 on a touchdown return. The return was his fourth-career return for touchdown, tying him for first all-time at FIU.

WAC

Offense: Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore. Went 30-of-37 for a career-high 507 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-7 win against Hawaii. The 507 yards are the second most by any player in the nation this year.

Defense: Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner. Tied a career-high with 17 tackles in a 27-22 win against New Mexico State.

Special teams: Louisiana Tech return specialist Phillip Livas. Returned seven kickoffs for 225 yards, including a 95-yarder for a touchdown, and a punt for another 29 yards in a loss to Fresno State.

Non-AQ Weekend Rewind

November, 8, 2010
11/08/10
2:00
PM ET
Let's take a look at the good and the bad for the non-AQs in Week 10.

The good: Boise State and TCU remained in the national title hunt with big wins this weekend. Though their offenses made headlines -- the Broncos racked up a school-record 737 yards and TCU had more than 500 yards -- both defenses played something fierce. They both held their opponents to fewer than 200 yards of total offense. Now they are the top two teams in the country in total defense and scoring defense. TCU is No. 1 in both categories. … Meanwhile, New Mexico won its first game of the season, 34-31 over Wyoming. Quarterback Stump Godfrey made his first career start as B.R. Holbrook sat out because of an injury and went 16-of-20 for 211 yards with two touchdowns. The Lobos, which had been giving the ball away as if it was a Christmas present, forced four turnovers. It was just the second time all season they won the turnover battle in a game. … How about Nevada racking up 844 yards of total offense? Not only did Colin Kaepernick have 300 yards passing, the Wolf Pack had three 100-yard rushers: Mark Lampford, Mike Ball and Vai Taua.

The bad: Western Michigan controlled its own bowl destiny heading into its game against Central Michigan. None of the four opponents left on its schedule had a winning record, so finishing up 7-5 or 6-6 seemed realistic. But the Broncos lost for the fifth straight time to their in-state rivals -- even though the Chippewas went into the game with just two wins. Backup RB Brian Fields fumbled 2 yards from the end zone with 1:37 remaining, the fourth lost fumble of the game for Western Michigan and the Chippewas held on 26-22.

The heartache: The Akron Zips are now the only winless team in the country, but missed out on a great opportunity in a 37-30 double-overtime loss to Ball State. After tying the score late to send the game into overtime, the Zips and Cardinals traded touchdowns in the first overtime. Ball State went ahead in overtime No. 2. But all hopes were lost for Akron when Patrick Nicely was intercepted on third down by Joshua Howard to end the game. Akron had more first downs and more rushing yards than Ball State and won the turnover battle as well. … Tulane had Southern Miss on the ropes heading into the fourth quarter. The two teams were tied at 30, but the Golden Eagles scored 16 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win 46-30. Tulane (402) outgained Southern Miss (358) and had 11 more first downs.

[+] EnlargeTCU defense
Douglas C. Pizac/US PresswireTCU shut down the high-powered Utah offense.
The off-balance: Utah and Hawaii went into their respective games as some of the highest-scoring teams in the country. But each were held to just a touchdown. Utah had been averaging 45.2 points a game, tied for No. 3 in the nation. Hawaii had been averaging 39. 2 points a game. … Meanwhile, BYU exploded offensively for the first time all season, posting more than 300 yards passing and 200 yards rushing and a season-high 55 points against UNLV. The Cougars are 39-0 since 1972 and 5-0 under current head coach Bronco Mendenhall when passing for 300 and running for 200.

A few more helmet stickers: FIU WR T.Y. Hilton had 291 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns in a 42-35 double-overtime win over ULM. He became the first Panther to score a touchdown three different ways in the same game, as he caught two touchdowns, ran for one and returned a kick for a score. … Central Michigan LB Armond Staten had 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack and three forced fumbles in an upset win over Western Michigan. … San Diego State LB Miles Burris had a career-high 10 tackles, four tackles for loss (minus-39 yards), two sacks and two forced fumbles in a 24-19 victory over Colorado State.

A few injury items to note: Ohio quarterback Boo Jackson is questionable for the Nov. 16 game against Temple after reportedly getting into a fight outside a bar and sustaining serious injuries to his face. Coach Frank Solich would only say that Jackson is questionable for the game. Backup Phil Bates has been slowed by a shoulder injury, leaving the possibility that Ohio could burn the redshirt of true freshman Kyle Snyder. “We’re going to have to talk about it some more and look at it from different angles and make a decision about a player being brought out of redshirt if he needs to be,” Solich said. … Kent State star LB Cobrani Mixon is doubtful for Saturday’s game against Army with a shoulder injury, and starting quarterback Spencer Keith injured his thumb and is day-to-day. … BYU TE Marcus Mathews is out for the season with a lacerated spleen.

Week 11 look ahead: TCU plays San Diego State (7-2) in a classic letdown game. Will the Horned Frogs suffer an emotional low after an emotional high over Utah? Boise State has a big rivalry game against Idaho, perhaps made even bigger after comments during the offseason where school president Bob Kustra slammed Vandal culture as “nasty” and “inebriated.” Southern Miss travels to UCF in a big East Division game. The Knights, ranked for the first time in school history, control their destiny. We can’t forget about the big Tuesday night game between MAC West Division leaders Toledo and Northern Illinois.

Non-AQ Picks, Week 10

November, 4, 2010
11/04/10
9:00
AM ET
Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

My picks in Week 9 were decent, and I got my upset special right. Tulsa beat Notre Dame to help me get to 7-3. Should have known Western Kentucky might have a letdown after its first win since 2008.

With a 57-37 overall record, bring on Week 10.

Drumroll please: No. 3 TCU 24, No. 5 Utah 21. Yes, I know Utah has a 21-game home winning streak. Yes, I know TCU is 0-3 in Utah. But I am picking the Horned Frogs for two reasons: 1. I think the defense is better. 2. I think Andy Dalton and his experience will be a big key. These teams are so evenly matched, turnovers could make a difference. Utah has struggled until recently in creating them. TCU is at plus-5. Utah is at minus-1 in turnover margin. For more on my pick, check out my prediction video on this game later today.

No. 4 Boise State 38, Hawaii 23. The Warriors will give the Broncos a test with their passing offense. The Boise State secondary has to step up and prove it is not a weak link on this defense. In the end, Boise State will get enough pressure on Bryant Moniz to throw him off rhythm, and Kellen Moore will be able to make enough plays to help the Broncos win.

No. 23 Nevada 35, Idaho 17. Nevada got back on track last week on offense in a win over Utah State. But coach Chris Ault had some choice words for his defense, which gave up 42 second-half points after shutting the Aggies out in the first two periods. “We stunk up the field and played with absolutely no sense of urgency,” Ault said. That should be corrected against the Vandals, who had 14 penalties for 152 yards and four turnovers in a loss to Hawaii last week.

Air Force 28, Army 21. The Falcons have hit a bit of a rough stretch, losing three straight. All three were to bowl-eligible teams, including No. 3 TCU and No. 5 Utah. Army is putting together its best season since 1996, but the Falcons have the edge in this game because their triple option offense is better. They gave Utah all it could handle last week, but had five turnovers. If Air Force wins, it gets the Commander-In-Chief Trophy for the first time since 2002.

UCF 27, Houston 17 (Friday night). This is going to be a grind-it-out game between two teams that are relying on running the ball. But the difference here is UCF will be able to run on Houston, which ranks No. 98 in the country in run defense. Ronnie Weaver has emerged, and is coming off a career night. Bryce Beall, Houston’s leading rusher, is banged up and his status is in question for the game. UCF has the best defense in Conference USA and will be able to slow Houston down.

UPSET SPECIAL: Kent State 21, Temple 20. The Golden Flashes are undefeated at home, and have the nation’s top-ranked rushing defense. That is going to pose a problem for Temple, which relies on Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown to set the tone. Temple has won three straight against MAC bottom feeders, including back-to-back shutouts of Akron and Buffalo (combined two wins). This will be the Owls’ biggest challenge since losing to Northern Illinois on Oct. 9.

UPSET SPECIAL II: Navy 35, East Carolina 27. If you can figure Navy out this year, please raise your hand. The Midshipmen have been on more highs and lows than a yo-yo. But East Carolina is going to have a hard time stopping the run game, and the Navy defense should return to form to get it to six wins and bowl eligibility. Last week was a very uncharacteristic performance from a Navy defense that has generally played well all season.

Troy 35, North Texas 23. Troy has won six of the last seven meetings between the schools, and no longer has any margin for error if it wants to win the Sun Belt. That is because the Trojans lost to ULM last week, their first conference loss in two years. North Texas won last week under interim coach Mike Canales, but Troy has more talent and depth and will be even more motivated to win.

SMU 30, UTEP 20. The Miners are in a tailspin, losing three straight games. Trevor Vittatoe hasn’t been healthy, and he has played erratically because of it. SMU is the stronger team on offense and defense. One more point: Since 2006, the Miners are just 4-15 in November.

Wyoming 33, New Mexico 17. Slim chance for an upset here -- the Lobos are the worst team in America for a reason. Now add in the fact that they could be without starting quarterback B.R. Holbrook and well, this one is looking like another loss. Wyoming has been eliminated from bowl contention, but I’m sure the players don’t want to be the ones to end the New Mexico losing streak.

Lunchtime Links

November, 3, 2010
11/03/10
12:15
PM ET
Just three days until the big showdown between Utah and TCU. Who's pumped?

Now on to some links:

The big news yesterday came out of the Big East, which wants to expand. TCU and UCF are at the top of the list, but the invites might be football only.

What about Houston?

Arkansas State routed Middle Tennessee on Tuesday night.

Utah cornerback Lamar Chapman has overcome life's challenges to star for the Utes.

TCU would love to avenge its loss in Salt Lake City in 2008. Utah would love to avenge its loss to TCU last season.

Idaho coach Robb Akey downplays his team's penalty issues.

No word on whether Southern Miss WR DeAndre Brown and CB C.J. Bailey will be able to play on Saturday at Tulane.

SMU DL Szymon Czerniak has put family problems behind him to make an impact this season.

The Mountain West had determined a botched call against San Diego State in a loss to BYU was the result of "combined human error."

Kent State has confidence headed into its game against Temple.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

November, 1, 2010
11/01/10
4:49
PM ET
Here are the non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each conference:

Conference USA

Offense: UAB running back Pat Shed, UCF running back Ronnie Weaver. Shed ran for a career-best 176 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 50-49 double overtime win against Southern Miss. He finished with 235 all-purpose yards as the Blazers posted their first win in Roberts Stadium. Weaver ran for a career-high 180 yards on 30 carries with two touchdowns in a 49-35 win against East Carolina.

Defense: Tulsa linebacker Shawn Jackson. His interception with 37 second left in the first half gave Tulsa the momentum in its 28-27 win against Notre Dame. He also had six tackles, a sack and two quarterback hurries.

Special teams: Tulsa punt returner Damaris Johnson. Had a 59-yard punt return for a touchdown, the second of his career in the win. He is 25 yards shy of tying the Conference USA all-time kickoff return record.

MAC

East Division

Offense: Miami receiver Nick Harwell. Had eight receptions for 97 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-9 win at Buffalo.

Defense: Bowling Green defensive tackle Chris Jones. Had six tackles, five tackles for loss, three and a half sacks and recovered a fumble in a 17-14 win at Central Michigan.

Special Teams: Kent State punter Matt Rinehart. Averaged 52 yards on four punts as the Flashes posted a 43-yard net in a 33-14 win against Ball State.

West Division

Offense: Western Michigan receiver Jordan White. Had a career-high 14 receptions for a career-high 180 yards and one touchdown in a 28-21 loss to Northern Illinois.

Defense: Northern Illinois defensive end Jake Coffman. He had four tackles and the game-saving interception on Western Michigan’s final offensive play to seal the win.

Special Teams: Toledo punter Vince Penza. Averaged 40.6 yards on five punts in the Rockets' 42-7 win at Eastern Michigan.

Mountain West

Offense: San Diego State receiver DeMarco Sampson. Had seven receptions for 175 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-38 win against Wyoming. He has three straight 100-yard games.

Defense: Utah safety Brian Blechen. Had a career-high nine tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery in a 28-23 win at Air Force.

Special teams: San Diego State punter Brian Stahovich. Kicked the longest punt in San Diego State history at 89 yards in the second half against Wyoming. It was his only punt of the day.

Sun Belt

Offense: North Texas running back Lance Dunbar. Ran for a season-high 215 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-6 win at Western Kentucky. The 215 yards was the most by any player in the Sun Belt this season and the third-highest rushing total in the nation this week.

Defense: ULM Darius Prelow. Had six tackles and an interception in a 28-14 upset win against Troy. The defense held Troy to its lowest point total in a Sun Belt game since 2006.

Co-Special Teams: Louisiana kicker Brett Baer, North Texas kicker Zach Olen. Baer made a field goal and four extra-point attempts, and had two perfectly placed onside kicks in a loss at Ohio. Olen made two field goals, including a 48-yarder, the longest by a North Texas kicker since 2005.

WAC

Offense: Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz. Went 27-of-38 for 326 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-10 win against Idaho. He also rushed seven times for 43 yards and another score. Moniz is the first quarterback in the nation to reach 3,000 yards this season (3,247).

Defense: Hawaii S Mana Silva. Had nine tackles (six solo), including one for a loss of 13 yards, and intercepted a pass in the win against Idaho.

Special teams: New Mexico State kicker Tyler Stampler. Went 3-for-3 on field goal attempts in a 29-27 win against San Jose State. He made a 42-yard field goal as time expired in the first half and then added a 25- and a career-long 43-yarder in the fourth quarter of a tight game.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

October, 25, 2010
10/25/10
3:00
PM ET
Here are your non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each league.

Conference USA

Offense: Tulane WR Casey Robottom. Had a career-high 10 receptions for a career-best 151 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a 34-24 win over UTEP. His 43-yard touchdown catch gave the Green Wave the lead for good with 5:30 remaining in the game.

Defense: Houston LB Sammy Brown and UCF DE Darius Nall. Brown led the Cougars with eight tackles, two sacks and a forced a fumble in a 45-20 win over SMU. In the past two games, Brown has recorded nine tackles for loss and four sacks. Nall had 2.5 sacks, forced a fumble, had a pass pressure and tied for the team lead with six total tackles as UCF defeated Rice 41-14.

Special Teams: Houston KR Tyron Carrier. Scored on a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in a win over SMU. It was the sixth of his career. Clemson's C.J. Spiller holds the NCAA career record with seven kickoff returns for touchdowns.

Mid-American

East Division

Offense: Kent State WR Tyshon Goode. Had a career-high 12 catches for a season-high 158 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-6 win at Bowling Green. He also extended his consecutive games with a catch streak to 15.

Defense: Temple DT Muhammad Wilkerson. Led the Owls with six tackles and a career-high 2.5 sacks in a 42-0 win at Buffalo. Temple had its first shutout since 1992 and first shutout of a BCS opponent since 1984.

Special teams: Kent State K Freddy Cortez. Scored 12 points in a 30-6 victory at Bowling Green. Cortez tied his career-high with three field goals (29, 32, 30), while making all three extra points. He missed a 51-yarder.

West Division

Offense: Western Michigan WR Juan Nunez. Had six receptions for a career-high 192 yards and three touchdowns in a 56-10 win over Akron.

Defense: Northern Illinois LB Tyrone Clark. Had two interceptions in a 33-7 win over Central Michigan. Both came in the second quarter to stop Chippewa drives and ensure that the Huskies would have a halftime lead.

Special Teams: Toledo KR Isaiah Ballard. Returned three kickoffs for 103 yards, including a 56-yard return, in a 31-24 win over Ball State.

Mountain West

Offense: TCU RB Ed Wesley and Utah QB Jordan Wynn. Wesley had a career-high 209 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 28 carries to help the Horned Frogs beat Air Force 38-7. Wynn completed 23 of 29 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters of action in a 59-6 win over Colorado State.

Defense: BYU LB Brandon Ogletree. Had career highs of five solo tackles and three tackles for loss in a 25-20 win over Wyoming. Four of the tackles came on Wyoming’s final drive of the game, and two were for a loss.

Special Teams: BYU KR Cody Hoffman. Had 104 kick return yards in the victory over Wyoming. In all, Hoffman averaged 26.0 yards on four kick returns.

Sun Belt

Offense: Western Kentucky QB Kawaun Jakes. Went 18-of-22 for a season-high 262 yards and one touchdown in a 54-21 win over Louisiana, snapping a 26-game losing streak. He also picked up 28 rushing yards and scored two rushing touchdowns. He led the Hilltoppers to scores on nine straight offense possessions.

Defense: Arkansas State DB Adrian Hills. Recorded a career-high two interceptions, including one returned 37 yards for a touchdown, over the final 10 minutes of a 37-16 fourth-quarter comeback victory against Florida Atlantic.

Special Teams: Western Kentucky K Casey Tinius. Score 12 points in the Hilltoppers’ victory over Louisiana. His 47-yard kick as time expired in the first half tied a career long.

WAC

Offense: Hawaii running back Alex Green. Ran for a career-high 172 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries in a 45-7 win at Utah State. He had a career-long rush of 60 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Defense: Hawaii linebacker Corey Paredes. Had a game-high 10 tackles and two interceptions at Utah State. Paredes helped anchor a defense that held its opponent to 181 yards of total offense, the fewest in a game for the Warriors since 2005.

Special Teams: Fresno State K Kevin Goessling. Made all four of his field goal attempts in a 33-18 win at San Jose State. Goessling was also 3-for-3 on extra point attempts to run his consecutive streak to 116 -- 12 shy of the all-time WAC record.

Non-AQ Weekend Rewind

October, 25, 2010
10/25/10
2:00
PM ET
Let's take a look at the good and the bad for the non-AQs in Week 8.

The good: Pollsters might not have noticed, but Utah is on an incredible tear. The Utes are No. 3 in the nation in scoring offense, having scored more than 50 points in four of their wins. They are outscoring opponents 183-36 in league play – the latest a 59-6 win against Wyoming that was one of their most complete games of the season. People have slammed the Utah schedule, but the Utes did beat Iowa State 68-27 – the same Cyclones team that just beat Texas.

TCU is on a tear, too, outscoring its opponents 141-10 in four Mountain West games.

[+] EnlargeGee Gee Greene
AP Photo/Rich SchultzRunning back Gee Gee Greene and Navy dominated Notre Dame, 35-17.
You have heard all about Navy’s impressive 35-17 win against Notre Dame. Those Navy seniors are now the third class in Academy history to beat Notre Dame three times, joining the classes of 1937 and 1964.

Meanwhile, the past two weeks have seen two winless teams win. Western Kentucky became the latest on Saturday in a 54-21 win against Louisiana. One interesting nugget from the win -- the victory was the first career coaching win for head coach Willie Taggart. It came on the same field where he played his last collegiate game, in 1998, when the Toppers dropped the season finale.

Say what you will about the WAC, but the league has five teams that are .500 or better right now.

The bad: Two MAC bowl teams from last season are having a difficult time of it in 2010. Bowling Green, which went 7-6 last season with a trip to the Humanitarian Bowl, has been eliminated from bowl contention after a 30-6 loss to Kent State. The Falcons have dropped five straight and are 1-7, including 0-4 in the MAC. Injuries have hurt, but so has the loss of several key players from last season. Bowling Green has struggled to run the ball, averaging 1.9 yards a rush, and has had trouble stopping the run, too. “We’ve got to find a way to play much better than we’ve been playing,” Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson said.

Defending West Division champion Central Michigan is at 2-6 and needs to win out to even be bowl eligible, but that would give it no guarantees for getting into a game. The Chippewas went 12-2 last season and have made four straight bowl games. But they have a new head coach in Dan Enos and are without quarterback Dan LeFevour, one of the best players in school history.

Meanwhile, Utah State has been outscored 69-13 in its past two WAC games. … Winless Akron has failed to score more than 17 points in its four MAC losses.

The heartache: UAB has read through this script before, and the Blazers have got to hate the results. Yet again, they came oh so close to upsetting an SEC team before coming up just short. UAB pulled ahead of Mississippi State 24-23 with 10 minutes to go in the game, but failed to hold on. The Bulldogs kicked two field goals to squeak out a 29-24 victory. No need to relive the 32-29 overtime loss to Tennessee earlier in the year that featured five missed field goals. Oh, wait. We just went there.

The off-balance: BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said his team would go with a power run game more in the final part of the season. He wasn’t kidding. The Cougars had a season-low 81 yards passing in a 25-20 win against Wyoming, while racking up 217 yards on the ground. This is not necessarily good news, considering Cougars fans probably want to see more out of true freshman Jake Heaps. Is he not developing or does he not have playmakers around him? BYU has to win three of its final four to become bowl eligible. With games against UNLV, Colorado State and New Mexico, that remains a possibility.

A few more helmet stickers: Kent State receiver Tyshon Goode had a career-high 12 receptions for a season-high 158 yards and two touchdowns in a win against Bowling Green. … Western Kentucky quarterback Kawaun Jakes’ 262 passing yards and 290 yards of total offense in a win agaist Louisiana were the most for him since his first career start when he passed for 276 yards and posted 320 offensive yards at Navy last year.

A few injury items to note: San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman has a hip pointer, but isn’t expected to miss any games. … Air Force isn’t going to get any of its injured players back this week for Utah. Jared Tew (leg) and receiver Kevin Fogler (knee) are still out, and nose tackle Ryan Gardner (groin) and receiver Zack Kauth (ankle) won’t practice this week.

Week 9 look-ahead: Plenty of big games ahead this weekend. No. 8 Utah begins the tough stretch of its schedule with a trip to Air Force. East Carolina travels to UCF for a big Conference USA showdown. Western Kentucky might even be able to put together a two-game winning streak as it hosts North Texas. The Mean Green will be playing their first game since coach Todd Dodge was fired.

Lunchtime Links

October, 21, 2010
10/21/10
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Here are a few links to help you make it through another day. But hey! There is football on tonight. Join me and Pac-10 blogger Ted Miller for a live chat during the UCLA-Oregon game, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

TCU coach Gary Patterson reportedly berated a team doctor for concluding RB Ed Wesley had suffered a concussion against SMU. Dr. Sam Haraldson told amednews.com he was "verbally accosted by the coach." Patterson said he was never contacted for the story, and couldn't go into details because of privacy laws.

The Utah starting offensive line gave up its first and only sack of the year last week against Wyoming, and it's not happy about it.

Kyle Whittingham appears to have made the right choice when he decided to coach Utah over BYU, writes Kurt Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Nevada RB Courtney Randall is a student of the game, and last May became the first person in his family to graduate from college. He is in graduate classes and wants to become a sports psychologist.

Bowling Green is going to be thin at cornerback Saturday against Kent State. Starter Robert Lorenzi was dismissed from the team and Cameron Truss is out with injury.

Rice will also be missing several players for its game at UCF.

Former Southern Miss coach Jeff Bower is considered a leading candidate to replace Todd Dodge at North Texas.

UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe had the walking boot off his ankle, but the Miners aren't saying whether he will play Saturday against Tulane.

Western Michigan is trying to avoid what happened the last time it played Akron -- a wild finish that ended with a Zips win.

UAB backup quarterback David Isabelle has an injured hand, and that might force Joe Bento into action if anything happens to Bryan Ellis.

Purdue is not pleased that Kent State dumped its game in favor of one against Alabama to open 2011.
Nick Saban will face his alma mater in the season opener next season when Kent State travels to play Alabama on Sept. 3.

The schools made the announcement Wednesday. The game will be the first meeting between the two schools.

Saban played defensive back for the Golden Flashes from 1970-72. He was teammates with NFL Hall of Famer Jack Lambert and current Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel in 1972 when Kent State won the only MAC championship in school history under coach Don James.

He graduated from Kent State in 1973 and then went on to earn a master's degree in sports administration in 1975 while serving as a graduate assistant for two seasons. He then spent a year as the linebackers coach in 1975.

“What a tremendous opportunity for us to open our 2011 season against one of the preeminent programs in the country, especially when the head coach is a Kent State alum,” Kent State athletic director Joel Nielsen said in a statement. “In addition to the obvious tie to coach Saban, the experience of playing in that kind of atmosphere will be a memorable one for our players and fans.”

The remainder of Kent State’s 2011 nonconference schedule is comprised of home dates with Louisiana on Sept. 10 and South Alabama on Sept. 24 and a road trip Sept. 17 to play Kansas State.

Lunchtime Links

October, 20, 2010
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Another coach has joined Tim Brewster on the unemployment line. North Texas said good bye to Todd Dodge today. You kinda knew it was only a matter of time.

Now on to some more headlines of the day:

TCU coach Gary Patterson wants a special effort from his defense against Air Force.

The possibility lurks that UCF could play the Gators in the Liberty Bowl.

Utah kicker Joe Phillips is in the middle of a history-making run, overcoming personal tragedy along the way.

Air Force fullback Nathan Walker is ready for his opportunitywith Jared Tew out.

Can Hawaii be a giant killer in three weeks?

San Diego State defensive coordinator Rocky Long is staying mum leading up to the Aztecs' game against his former team, New Mexico.

FAU's inexperienced offensive line has been a problem all season.

Kent State quarterback Spencer Keith has been inconsistent, but coach Doug Martin gave him a vote of confidence this week.

Non-AQ Did you know, Week 7

October, 15, 2010
10/15/10
9:00
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Time for a little trivia in our weekly edition of non-AQ Did You Know?

TCU quarterback Andy Dalton became only the third player in Mountain West Conference history to top the 10,000-yard mark for total offense in a career. He joins former BYU quarterbacks Max Hall (11,569) and John Beck (11,060). Dalton has 10,075 yards through the games of Oct. 9.

More notes on the TCU defense: The Horned Frogs are one of two FBS teams with two shutouts this season (Oregon), and the only team to record back-to-back shutouts. TCU has held opponents scoreless for eight straight quarters. The league record for most consecutive quarters without allowing an opponent to score is 11, shared by BYU (Sept. 13 to Oct. 4, 2008) and Utah (Nov. 15, 2003 to Sept. 2, 2004). Through the first six weeks of the season, TCU has yet to allow an opponent to pass for 200 yards.

Utah and Boise State are the only two teams in the country that have allowed just one sack entering Week 7.

Western Michigan is the first MAC team to play Notre Dame since the league was formed in 1947. The Broncos have played Notre Dame twice in program history, 1919 and 1920, losing both. Notre Dame is one of two all-time opponents that Western Michigan has never scored against. Virginia Tech is the other.

This will be the third different team Brian Kelly has coached against a Bill Cubit-led Western Michigan team (Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Notre Dame). Here is what Cubit had to say about the matchup:

“We’re not going to match up physically or talent wise,” he said. “We’ve got our work cut out. We know that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the tough challenge we’ve got against them, talent-wise and home-field advantage. But my kids are going to go out there and play hard, play smart and go and execute.”

Kent State will retire the No. 9 jersey worn by Joshua Cribbs in a halftime ceremony against Ball State on Oct. 30. Cribbs joins Jim Corrigall (No. 79, 1967-69), Jack Lambert (No. 99, 1971-73) and Eric Wilkerson (No. 40, 1985-88) as the only players in the 88-year history of the program to have their number retired.

During his four-year career with the Golden Flashes from 2001-04, Cribbs became just the second player in NCAA history with two “double-1,000 seasons” (1,000 yards passing and rushing). He set the school career passing mark with 7,169 yards, while his career rushing total of 3,670 yards ranks third.

In addition, Cribbs still holds the career records for rushing touchdowns (38), completions (616), attempts (1,123), total plays (1,755), total yards (10,839), points (246) and total touchdowns (41). The first three-time captain in school history, he was an honorable mention All-American as a senior in 2004.

Boise State receiver Austin Pettis has caught four touchdown passes this year and has 33 in his career, the most of any active player. He is nine shy of tying the WAC’s all-time record of 33, set by Wyoming’s Ryan Yarborough from 1990-93.

Idaho has done some nice things defensively this season. The Vandals have the WAC’s best red-zone defense, allowing teams to score 64.7 percent of the time. They have allowed a total of three points in the first quarter of games this year, the fewest by any WAC team in a quarter this season. And they lead the WAC and rank fourth in the nation in sacks with 3.4 a game.

Through five games, East Carolina has already matched its 14-game total from a season ago in passing touchdowns with 15. The Pirates are averaging nearly 80 more yards per game in passing offense with a league-leading 297.2 per game. That figure is up from 227.4 yards per game through the air in 2009.

UTEP’s Trevor Vittatoe is the seventh player in Conference USA history to throw for 10,000 yards. Last week against Rice, he became the Miners’ all-time leader in touchdown passes (89), passing yards (11,260) and total offense (11,117).

Kolton Browning’s 1,075 yards passing through five games are the most by a ULM quarterback since it joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2001. He is also the first ULM quarterback to throw for more than 200 yards in four straight games since Steven Jyles did it five times in 2004.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

October, 11, 2010
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Here are your players of the week from all the non-AQ conferences:

Conference USA

Offense: UTEP WR Kris Adams. Had five catches for 134 yards with three touchdowns in a 44-24 win over Rice. He tied his career high for touchdown catches and also extended his streak of games with a reception to 30.

Defense: UCF FS Kemal Ishmael. Made seven tackles, had an interception and forced a fumble to lead UCF’s defense to a 42-7 win over UAB.

Special teams: Southern Miss K Danny Hrapmann. Made a school-record five field goals (tying the C-USA mark), hitting them from 28, 39, 39, 49 and 49 yards in a loss to East Carolina. He has now converted 16-straight field goal attempts dating back to last season.

MAC

East Division

Offense: Ohio QB Phil Bates. Ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries also completed a 47-yard pass to Donte Foster for 191 yards of total offense in a 49-25 win over Bowling Green.

Defense: Kent State DL Roosevelt Nix. The freshman had five tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a pair of hurries in a 28-17 win over Akron. His 6.5 sacks and 10.0 TFL on the year both rank in the top 10 in the nation.

Special Teams: Kent State P Matt Rinehart. Averaged 41.2 yards on nine punts in a 28-17 win over Akron. Six of the nine kicks were downed inside the 20 yard line, including a season-long 64-yarder.

West Division

Offense: Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish. Had 282 yards of total offense with 211 yards passing and 71 rushing in a 31-17 win over Temple. Harnish had a season-high 20 completions in 25 attempts and threw touchdown passes of 10 and 4 yards.

Defense: Western Michigan DB Lewis Toler. Intercepted Ball State QB Keith Wenning and ran 24 yards for the Broncos' second TD in the first minute of the game in a win over Ball State.Toler has three interceptions in the past three games.

Special Teams: Western Michigan K John Potter. Made five field goals, six extra points and scored a touchdown on a fake field goal in the win over Ball State.

Mountain West

Offense: Utah QB Jordan Wynn. Led Utah to its highest point total in 27 years in a 68-27 road win over Iowa State. In three quarters of play, Wynn went 23-of-31 for 325 yards and two touchdowns.

Defense: Air Force CB Reggie Rembert. Made a season-high seven tackles, had an interception, three pass breakups and a fumble recovery in a 49-27 win over Colorado State.

Special Teams: Utak PR/KR Shaky Smithson. Returned five punts for 145 yards and finished the game with 261 all-purpose yards. He had the longest punt return of his career, going 78 yards down to the Iowa State 2-yard line.

Sun Belt

Offense: Troy QB Corey Robinson. Went 26-of-37 for 259 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Middle Tennessee.

Defense: Troy LB Kanorris Davis. In his first collegiate start, Davis led the team with nine tackles, including three for losses. His first quarter sack and forced fumble led to the Trojans’ second TD of the game.

Special Teams: North Texas K Zach Olen. Made all five of his kicks against Arkansas State, going 4-of-4 on field goals and 1-for-1 on extra points. No North Texas kicker has been perfect in at least four attempts since North Texas returned to FBS in 1995.

WAC

Offense: Nevada RB Vai Taua. Ran for 196 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries in a 35-13 win over San Jose State. It was his fifth straight 100-yard game.

Defense: New Mexico State DE Donte Savage. Had nine tackles, including two sacks, forced two fumbles and broke up two passes in a 16-14 win over rival New Mexico. His forced fumble late in the game set up the winning field goal.

Special teams: New Mexico State K Tyler Stampler. Made three field goals, including a 22-yarder with 1:56 left to win the game.

Non-AQ Did You Know, Week 6

October, 8, 2010
10/08/10
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Time for a little non-AQ Did you Know, Week 6 style. Thank you to the school and conference public relations departments for these wonderful nuggets.

Arkansas State has scored at least 24 points in each of its first five games, marking the first time since 1995 it has scored 20 or more points in five straight games. The Red Wolves play at North Texas on Saturday.

Wyoming plays at No. 5 TCU, marking the third time in six weeks the Cowboys will be facing a Top-5 team. Wyoming is the only team in the country that will face three Top 5 teams through the first six weeks of the season. The Cowboys played at Texas, then ranked No. 4 on Sept. 11, and faced then-No. 3 Boise State in Laramie on Sept. 18.

Air Force has not allowed a point in the fourth quarter this season. The Falcons have outscored their opponents 54-0 in the fourth quarter through the first five games. Air Force and Oregon are the only teams in the nation that have held their opponents scoreless in the fourth quarter this season.

Quarterback Andy Dalton broke two more TCU passing records in a 27-0 win at Colorado State. Dalton became the Frogs’ career leader in both touchdown passes (50) and pass attempts (1,122). He already holds TCU marks for completions (681) and passing yards (8,364). Dalton broke Max Knake’s former school record of 49 touchdowns, set from 1992-95, with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Young in the fourth quarter.

Colorado State quarterback Pete Thomas has thrown for 1,197 yards through five games and is 8 yards shy of the school freshman record for passing yards. Caleb Hanie holds the record with 1,204, set in 2004.

Big home test for Houston this weekend. The Cougars have won a league-record 18 straight home games, the fourth-longest active home winning streak in the NCAA. In 10 of those 18 wins the Cougars have scored 50 or more points. Houston hosts Mississippi State on Saturday.

Marshall senior DE Vinny Curry continues to lead the nation in sacks with eight. He posted two more at Southern Miss last week. Teammate Mario Harvey leads the nation in tackles, averaging 13.0 per game.

Boise State senior kicker Kyle Brotzman is about to become the WAC’s all-time scoring leader. Brotzman has 377 points in 44 games, 18 shy of Hawaii’s Jason Elam, who scored 395 points from 1989-92. Brotzman has made 60-79 field goals and 197-of-199 PATs in his career. He is also second in WAC history in field goals made, 19 shy of Elam’s record.

Winless New Mexico State has not recorded a sack, recovered a fumble or intercepted a pass this season.

Ohio earned its 500th victory in program history last week, improving to 500-519-48 overall, with a 30-17 victory at Eastern Michigan.

In addition to Kent State ranking first in the nation in run defense, the MAC also features three of the top 25 teams in the country in that category. Toledo (95.4 avg.) ranks 13th and Miami (106.8 avg.) ranks 24th.

Army has already reached the end zone more than it did in 12 games in 2009. Army scored 18 offensive touchdowns (13 rush, 5 pass) last season. In the first five games of 2010, the Black Knights have 21 touchdowns, including 18 rushing scores.

Since Kyle Whittingham became head coach at Utah, the Utes are 5-0 coming off regular-season bye weeks.

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