Week Two of the college football season was like that Christmas party your mom insists on throwing December 10. It's got the feel of Christmas, with the lights and the tree and the presents, but it feels forced somehow. You don't get the REAL Christmas spirit, where your dad wakes up and pours a bourbon and starts drunkenly yelling at a candy cane while the dog eats the ornaments off the tree. I WANT REAL CHRISTMAS, DAMMIT. But despite some match-ups that should have been illegal, the Group of Five came away from this week with some interesting results that will pay major dividends down the road. Fake Christmas will do for now.
Looking back is always a good thing (unless you just hit somebody with your car), and that's why each week, Underdog Dynasty will bring you The Booth Review — the definitive roundup of all that hot, sweaty Group of Five action you so desperately crave. Come for the #MACtion, stay for Eastern Michigan. No seriously, please stay. Don't go. Where are you going?
UTSA gave Arizona a major scare Thursday night to open up the weekend and almost pulled off the upset had quarterback Tucker Carter not caught a momentary lapse of the dumb. The Roadrunners racked up 349 yards and stymied Rich Rodriguez's offense for only 26 points in the loss. I will not rest until UTSA is sponsored by ACME.
JOIN MY WOLF PACK
Brock Hekking and Mike Leach were on the same field. At the same time. In the same universe. And it didn't explode. That's the good news. The better news? Nevada controlled this game from the start and forced Washington State into backbreaking mistakes that ultimately cost the Cougs a W. The Wolf Pack outlasted WSU with a pragmatic offense and a defense that locked Leach's air raid in a dark closet for most of the contest. Connor Halliday threw 57 times. It will probably be the least amount of attempts he has all year.
Well. BYU is good. The Cougars once again wiped the floor with Texas, this time in an even more convincing fashion as Taysom Hill tossed three touchdowns and ran for 99 yards to gash the Longhorns' suspect defense and end Charlie Strong's brief honeymoon in Austin. BYU rolled up 429 total yards, 28 first downs and held onto the ball for almost 35 minutes in the victory. Matthew McConaughey must be PISSED.
A TOPPLED MONARCHY
Old Dominion began playing FBS football about 14 minutes ago. N.C. State has been playing for far longer. On Saturday, the Monarchs were extremely close to closing out a win against the Power Five version of the Wolfpack on the road. ODU actually led 21-10 in the second quarter, but could not hang on, falling 46-34. Monarchies are outdated anyway.
pUNT (PLEASE, BECAUSE SCORING THIS MUCH IS JUST MEAN)
North Texas just absolutely mollywhopped SMU 43-6 Saturday, and it wasn't even that close. Reggie Pegram rushed for 81 yards and a score and UNT's defense cashed in a touchdown on a fumble return to highlight a huge day for the Mean Green. C-USA is undefeated against the AAC, MAC, Sun Belt and MWC so far this season.
NATIONAL CHAMPION OF THE WEEK: SOUTHERN MISS
They did it. For the first time since Nov. 26, 2011, Southern Miss won a home game. It was against Alcorn State, and they needed a last-second interception to seal the deal, but the Golden Eagles finally secured a victory inside The Rock. Let's put it this way. That was the first win in Hattiesburg the juniors on campus have ever seen. It didn't matter that Todd Monken's team jumped out to a 17-0 lead before getting more conservative than Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz making out inside Chris McDaniel's church. The Eagles got it done, and USM fans celebrated like it was the 1999 Liberty Bowl.
Louisiana Tech and Louisiana — not Louisiana-Lafayette anymore :( — resumed their long-dormant rivalry Saturday, and the Bulldogs came away with an impressively dominant 48-20 win. Kenneth Dixon kicked things off with a wonderful 99-yard rushing touchdown and the rout was on from there. This game's rivalry trophy should be a bronze statue of Terry Bradshaw slurping gumbo out of Brandon Stokley's cleat.
GAME OF THE WEEK OF THE MONTH: NORTHERN ILLINOIS VS. NORTHWESTERN
The Huskies may be the most consistent Group of Five program not named Boise State over the past couple of years, and on Saturday NIU waltzed into Evanston and scraped out a 23-15 win over Northwestern. Holla!
PLAYER OF THE WEEK OF THE MONTH OF THE YEAR: JAY AJAYI
The Boise State running back thundered for 219 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries to lead the Broncos past Colorado State. He also had 61 yards receiving and gave the halftime pep talk before leaving the locker room to help guide people back to their seats. This guy is just the best.
OTHER SCORES OF NOTE: UCLA 35, Memphis 28; North Carolina 31, San Diego State 27; Central Michigan 28, Purdue 10; Illinois 42, Western Kentucky 34; Navy 31, Temple 24; Mississippi State 47, UAB 34; South Carolina 33, East Carolina 23; Texas Tech 30, UTEP 26