For all you passionate fans, you big-time stats guys, you BTSG's. Here are some notes, nuggets and tidbits of all things from the Conference USA bowl games. Impress your friends it's time to kickoff!
East Carolina outscored Ohio 20-3 in the fourth quarter as the Pirates won the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl, 37-20. East Carolina finished the season at 10-3. It was the second time that they finished with at least 10 wins (1991 they had 11). Shane Carden eclipsed the 4,000-yard passing mark for the season (he caught a touchdown in this game as well) and Justin Hardy went over the 3,000-yard mark for career receiving yards. Since I wrote about Carden and Hardy earlier this season I will give props to the running back. Tay Cooper had a career-high 198 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He became the third ECU player to reach 1,000 rushing yards in back-to-back seasons. The 198 rush yards was the 12th most in school’s history. That total was also the fifth most by a Conference USA player in the 2000s. Here is a list of that top five:
- DeAngelo Williams (Memphis) 2005 Motor City Bowl: 233 rush yards
- Chris Johnson (ECU) 2007 Hawaii Bowl: 223 rush yards
- Tarrion Adams (Tulsa) 2008 GMAC Bowl: 207 rush yards
- Kevin Smith (UCF) 2005 Hawaii Bowl: 202 rush yards
- Tay Cooper (ECU) 2013 Beef ‘O’ Brady: 198 rush yards
Maryland led 20-17 early in the fourth quarter, but Marshall roared back with an Essray Taliaferro touchdown run and a Rakeem Cato to Gator Hoskins touchdown pass put the Thundering Herd ahead as they won the Military Bowl. The win gave Marshall 10 wins for the first time since 2002. Cato had three touchdown passes; it was the 32nd straight game with a touchdown. Next season the junior could break the NCAA record of 38 held by current NFL star Russell Wilson. Cato now has 91 career touchdown passes, the second highest in school history behind Chad Pennington. One stat that Cato tied Pennington in is most touchdown passes in a season. Both have the school record with 39. Here is a breakdown between Cato this season and Pennington in 1997.
Rakeem Cato (2013)
- 0 TD passes: (0 games)
- 1 TD pass: (3 games)
- 2 TD passes: (4 games)
- 3 TD passes: (3 games)
- 4 TD passes: (1 game)
- 5 TD passes: (3 games)
Chad Pennington (1997)
- 0 TD passes: (0 games)
- 1 TD pass: (0 games)
- 2 TD passes: (2 games)
- 3 TD passes: (8 games)
- 4 TD passes: (0 games)
- 5 TD passes: (1 game)
- 6 TD passes: (1 game)
Pennington did throw three more in the bowl game to end the season with 42. The NCAA did not start counting bowl game stats until 2002 so his official total remained at 39.
In the school’s second ever New Year’s Day bowl game (the other one being a loss) North Texas outscored UNLV 29-7 in the second half including 22-7 in the fourth quarter and won 36-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. The 36 points is the most North Texas has scored in a bowl game and the nine wins were tied for the second most wins in team history. It was the Mean Green’s first New Year’s Day win, their first win at the Cotton Bowl and their first win against UNLV. North Texas showed a great mixture of defense and offense in the victory. The defense had five sacks and held UNLV to 262 total yards. On offense wide receiver Brelan Chancellor had two fourth-quarter touchdown runs (he has four touchdown runs in his career). Quarterback Derek Thompson, who hurt his knee for awhile, finished with 256 passing yards and two touchdown passes. Two must be a magical number for him, since Thompson finished his senior season with the school’s second most passing yards, second most completions and second highest completion percentage. He is also second at North Texas in career passing attempts, pass completions, passing yards and had the second most 200-yard passing games.