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Group of 5: Five Up, Five Down for Week 1

Some teams pulled off major upsets and players had breakout games, while others were unimpressive.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Not many people are complaining about Week 1 of the 2015 college football season. There were upsets, close battles, and ridiculous plays. The Group of 5 didn't take down a ranked team in the opening weekend, but had a few conquer schools from the Big Ten and SEC.

The AAC had six teams put up 47 points or more over the weekend, while the entirety of the AAC East division held opponents to 20 points or less. Overall, one of the toughest G5 conferences had a successful opening weekend. Even SMU put a scare in the No. 4 ranked Baylor Bears Friday night which the game, at one point, was tied at 14.

Plenty of teams and players started out the season on a promising note. There also were others who failed to impress opening up the season.

Here are five players and teams who shined Week 1 and five that certainly did not.

Five Up:

1. Temple Owls' Defensive Dominance

Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg was supposed to recover from a porous sophomore campaign and steamroll Temple in his opener. Nobody in the 215 area code got that memo as Temple attacked a struggling O-line Saturday en route to 10 sacks. Senior linebacker Tyler Matakevich paced the group with three total while a plethora of his teammates joined the sack party Saturday afternoon.

After Akeel Lynch scored on a 41-yard TD run, Temple let up only 23 yards total in the second half and proved that their 2014 season defensively wasn't an anomaly.

2. Western Kentucky

Thursday night, WKU had another way of pulling out a victory other than relying on their offense. Only holding Vanderbilt to just 12 points and coming up huge on a defensive stop on a two-point conversion that would have tied the game at 14, Western Kentucky has conjured up fears in the C-USA. If they can dominate on both sides of the ball, it's plausible the Hilltoppers can run the table.

Picking off starting QB Johnny McCrary twice and not letting the Commodores tie the game has to be a major boost WKU who possesses an already stout offense.

3. Marshall QB Michael Birdsong

For junior Michael Birdsong, the Purdue Boilermakers didn't pose enough of a challenge for the first-time starter to stop him from securing his first victory. Going 23-for-36 with 234 yards through the air and two TD passes, Birdsong put pressure on the Purdue defense and took some off possible All-American candidate Devon Johnson.

Repeating last year's 13-win season might be a stretch, but Marshall looks to have a quarterback able to challenge Western Kentucky and the rest of the C-USA's elites.

4. Louisiana Tech QB Jeff Driskel

Watch out C-USA, Jeff Driskel has joined the conference and is seething redemption. It might have just been against FCS school Southern, but Driskel looked dominant and accurate going 12-for-15 for 274 yards passing and four touchdowns through the air.

Leaving Florida for a more desirable and open spot to be a team's primary signal caller, Driskel is poised to shred defenses this season.

5. New Mexico's Rushing Attack

New Mexico beat Mississippi Valley State 66-0 with zero touchdown passes. Throwing is a thing in the past for the Lobos who rushed for eight touchdowns and had five different players find the end-zone. They almost tripled their rushing attempts (53) to the amount of passes thrown (18) and are an interesting team in the Mountain West.

The Lobos have a daunting schedule, but look to have the running game down in Week 1.

Five Down:

1. UCF's Horde of Backs

It was a franchise-altering upset for Florida International Friday traveling to Central Florida and upsetting the Golden Knights. QB Justin Holman had an expected solid game for the home team, but only accumulating 46 yards on 30 carries is brutal for a team usually adept in that department.

William Stanback couldn't produce out of the backfield, rushing for less than a yard per carry on 10 touches. If UCF is going bowling this season, the tailbacks need to assist Holman who has developed into one of the conference's best at his respective position.

2. New Mexico State's No Good, Very Bad Day

Very bad is an understatement. The Aggies were a subject to theft as a culprit raided the team's bus and stole equipment during the 61-13 loss to the Florida Gators.  New Mexico State got steamrolled, which looks to be a constant sight as one of the nation's worst teams in recent years.

Larry Rose III gives the Aggies hope as a returning 1,000-yard rusher last season, but the talent isn't evident enough to challenge the elite of the Sun Belt yet.

3. Utah State's Offense

Whoever had QB Chuckie Keeton in fantasy going off on the Southern Utah Thunderbirds was heavily disappointed. The sixth-year senior couldn't surpass a 50 percent completion percentage only going 16-for-33 against the FCS squad. The Aggies needed a punt return touchdown late to win 12-9 in their season opener.

It was the predicted outcome, but Utah State is a perennial bowl team.

4. Georgia Southern

The Eagles were without their starting quarterback Saturday playing in Morgantown, but Georgia Southern couldn't find the end zone throughout the game as West Virginia dominated 44-0. Favian Upshaw was thrown to the wolves and gave up four interceptions while finishing with an abysmal -27.4 Passer rating.

Kevin Ellison can't come back soon enough from the two-game suspension and help the Eagles continue their substantial momentum from last season.

5. Western Michigan's O-Line

Michigan State dominated in the trenches against WMU, limiting possible MAC Player of the Year Jarvion Franklin to just 23 yards rushing on eight carries. The Mustangs also let Zach Terrell get sacked seven times. Western Michigan is a dominant MAC team and one to fear, but shaking off this defeat is a necessity to go bowling.

With wideout Corey Davis, WMU has an intriguing trio of playmakers that can salvage any offensive line issues.