Conference USA had its share of drama with the West Division being settled on the next to last weekend when UTSA held off UAB 34-31.  The East Division went down to the last weekend as Western Kentucky defeated Marshall and earned a chance for revenge against UTSA in the CUSA Championship Game.  However, the Road Runners were not to be denied and beat the Hilltoppers for the second time in the season 49-41.  In their two games UTSA and Western Kentucky combined for 188 points and 2358 yards of offense.

Western Kentucky was akin to the old LA Rams “greatest show on turf”.  QB Bailey Zappe led a high-octane attack that produced more than 400 yards of offense in 12 of their 13 games.  Along the way Zappe passed for 5,967 yards and 62 touchdowns, both FBS single season records.  Jerreth Sterns, Zappe’s favorite target led the FBS with 150 receptions for 1902 yards.   The Hilltoppers closed the season with a resounding 59-38 win over App State, breaking the Mountaineer’s 6 game bowl winning streak.

UAB once again was in contention in the CUSA West.  Early season losses to Georgia and Liberty weren’t total unexpected, but a major stumble at Rice put the Blazers in a must win situation for the remainder of the season.  They couldn’t close the deal at UTSA and finished second in the West.  The Blazers came out firing on all cylinders in their bowl matchup with BYU, jumping out to a quick lead and holding on for an upset of the #12 Cougars. 

Marshall, under new coach Charles Huff had an up-and-down season, finishing second in the CUSA East, finishing 7-6 with a bowl loss to Louisiana.   Old Dominion and North Texas both caught fire, winning their final 5 games, and earning bowl eligibility.  Both lost their bowl games, but their late-season runs bode well for 2022. UTEP earned their first bowl trip since 2014.  Though they dropped their bowl to Fresno State, the Miners had a season to remember.  Middle Tennessee State won a matchup of five win teams over FAU in the final weekend of the regular season to gain bowl eligibility.  The Blue Raiders kept it rolling, knocking off favored Toledo to open the 2021 bowl season. 

2021 Conference USA Final Standings
2021 Final Standings CUSA
Division/TeamConferenceAll Games
EastWLPctPointsAgainstWLPctPointsAgainst
Western Kentucky710.875363184950.643619411
Marshall530.625247183760.538429309
Old Dominion530.625234202670.462359361
Middle Tennessee St440.500236206760.538388334
Florida Atlantic350.375201223570.417305309
Charlotte350.375234326570.417326408
Florida Intenational080.0001313581110.083244476
WestWLPctPointsAgainstWLPctPointsAgainst
Texas San Antonio710.8752971911220.857516345
Alabama Birmingham620.750275161940.692384302
North Texas530.625212197670.462343356
Texas El Paso440.500201199760.538326328
Rice350.375186260480.333258434
Southern Miss260.250145220390.250335394
Louisiana Tech260.250192244390.250212335
2021 Conference USA Season Awards
PlayerTeamAward
Bailey ZappeWestern KentuckyMost Valuable Player
Sincere McCormickTexas San AntonioOffensive Player of the Year
DeAngelo MaloneWestern KentuckyDefensive Player of the Year
Tommy HeatherlyFlorida IntlSpecial Teams Player of the Year
Elijah SpencerCharlotteFreshman of the Year
Jerreth SternsWestern KentuckyNewcomer of the Year
Jeff TraylorUT San AntonioCoach of the Year
2021 Conference USA Team Statistical Leaders
Click to Scroll. G5 Leader is highlighted in green.
StatisticTeamMetric
Team Scoring Offense and Defense
Points Scored Per Game-TotalWestern Kentucky          44.21
Average Game Margin-TotalWestern Kentucky            14.9
Points Scored Per Game-ConfWestern Kentucky45.4
Average Game Margin – ConfWestern Kentucky22.38
Passing Offense
Pass Attempts Per GameWestern Kentucky49.9
Pass Completions Per GameWestern Kentucky34.4
Completion PercentageWestern Kentucky68.9
Passing Yards Per GameWestern Kentucky433.7
Passing TDs Per GameWestern Kentucky4.5
Rushing Offense
Rushing Attempts Per GameNorth Texas49
Rushing Yards Per GameNorth Texas233.9
Average Yards Per CarryNorth Texas4.8
Rushing TDs Per GameMarshall2.9
Total Offense
Plays Per GameNorth Texas79.3
Total Yards Per GameWestern Kentucky536.4
Average Yards Per PlayWestern Kentucky7.2
Penalties
Penalties Per Game (Fewest)UTSA5.1
Penalty Yards Per Game (Fewest)UTSA50.9
Offense Turnovers
Fumbles Per Game (Fewest)North Texas0.3
Interceptions Per Game (Fewest)UTSA0.4
Total Turnovers Per Game (Fewest)UTSA0.9
Team Scoring Defense
Points Allowed Per Game-TotalAlabama Birmingham23.2
Points Allowed Per Game-ConfAlabama Birmingham20.125
Passing Defense
Completions Allowed Per GameSouthern Mississippi15.8
Passing Yards Allowed Per GameSouthern Mississippi202
Passing Completion % Per GameMarshall54.8
Passing TDs Allowed Per GameUTEP1.2
Rushing Defense
Rushing Yards Allowed Per GameUAB112.2
Rushing Yards Per Carry AllowedUAB3.2
Rushing TDs Allowed Per GameOld Dominion0.9
Total Defense
Yards Allowed Per GameUAB329.3
Total Yards Allowed Per PlayUAB5
Turnovers
Interceptions Per Game (Most)Western Kentucky1.5
Fumbles Recovered Per Game (Most)UTSA1.1
Total turnovers Forced Per GameMiddle Tennessee State2.4
2021 Conference USA Individual Statistical Leaders
Click to scroll. G5 Leader is highlighted in green.
StatisticPlayerTeamMetric
Passing
CompletionsBailey ZappeWestern Kentucky476
Completion %Bailey ZappeWestern Kentucky69.30%
Passing YardsBailey ZappeWestern Kentucky5,967
Passing Yards Per AttDylan HopkinsUAB9.7
Passing TDsBailey ZappeWestern Kentucky62
Passer EfficiencyBailey ZappeWestern Kentucky168.8
Rushing
Rushing AttemptsSincere McCormickUTSA299
Rushing YardageSincere McCormickUTSA1479
Rush Yards Per AttDeWayne McBrideUAB6.7
Rushing TDsRasheen AliMarshall23
Receiving
ReceptionsJerreth SternsWestern Kentucky150
Receiving YardsJerreth SternsWestern Kentucky1,902
Yards Per ReceptionTrea ShropshireUAB26.1
Receiving TDsJerreth SternsWestern Kentucky17
Total Offense
Yards From ScrimmageJerreth SternsWestern Kentucky1,919
Total YardsBailey ZappeWestern Kentucky5,984
Total Yards Per Play
TouchdownsRasheen AliMarshall28
TDs Responsible ForBailey ZappeWestern Kentucky65
Kicking
Extra Points MadeBrayden NarvesonWestern Kentucky72
Field Goals MadeHunter DuplessisUTSA24
Field Goal PctEthan MooneyNorth Texas84.60%
Avg. Punt YardsTommy HeatherlyFIU46.6
Defense
Solo TacklesReed BlankenshipMiddle Tennessee State75
Total TacklesKD DavisNorth Texas120
Tackles for LossDeAngelo MaloneWestern Kentucky18
SacksClarence HicksUTSA10.5
InterceptionsQuincy RileyMiddle Tennessee State5
Passes DefendedMicah AbrahamMarshall14
Fumbles ForcedSantrell Latham, DeAngelo MaloneSouthern Miss, Western Kentucky4