Sadly we don’t have many weeks of football left but as usual around this time of year things are heating up. In many ways it was a statement Saturday (and Thursday.) This is the week that was!
Games of the week
1. Cincinnati at SMU: The Bearcats were coming off of their first loss of the season and couldn’t afford to let it hang over them. SMU has had a ton of close games this year and this one would be no different. Both offenses has decent days through the air but were kept bottled up on the ground. SMU lead 20-17 until Cole Smith knocked in a 41 yard field goal to send it to overtime. Then the game was sealed as Ben Hicks’ pass was intercepted by James Wiggins for an 86 yard touchdown. The Bearcats win 26-20.
2. Louisiana Tech at Florida Atlantic: This game was an important one for the Owls if they wanted to keep their chances of making it to the Conference USA title game alive. Louisiana Tech was looking to stay on UAB’s tail in the West. FAU took a 10-0 lead early on but the Bulldogs came storming back to make it 14-10 at the half. The Owls would settle for a field goal in the second half and it would be their last points. With around eight minutes left to play the Bulldogs would take a 21-13 lead and never give it back. They get the win 21-13.
3. Arkansas State at Louisiana: This was the complete opposite of some other games this weekend, it was a shootout! Arkansas State was picked by a lot of people in the preseason to win their side of the sun belt and Billy Napier was just looking for something to point to and show that his program is building. There is too many scoring situations to write about in this one and a lot of chunk play touchdowns for the Rajun Cajuns but these teams went back and forth all night. Let’s skip to the end with just over a minute left and down by three, Trey Ragas would punch it in front the 2 yard line to take the lead and seal the win. Louisiana gets a big Sun Belt win 47-43.
Top Dogs of the week
1. D’Eric King- Houston, QB: The Cougars knocked off the #21 team in the country this week and King’s performance shined on that stage. He had 419 yards and five touchdowns through the air.
2. Khalil Lewis- Cincinnati, WR: The Bearcats got back on track this week and Lewis was a big part of their overtime win on the road. He had 174 yards and two touchdowns.
3. Shai Werts- Georgia Southern, QB(kinda): His passing stats were limited outside of a 50 yard touchdown bomb. But his day on the ground was exactly what you want in the triple option, he had 129 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles win over App State.
4. Northern Illinois Defense: If you look at the numbers BYU had a nice day but the number that mattered the most were the points scored and the Huskies held the Cougars to SIX... yes SIX points on the road. This lands them a spot here.
•No upsets again this week (unless you count San Jose State over UNLV) so I decided to keep this statement theme going•
Statement wins of the week
1. Houston over South Florida: USF entered the day at #21 in the country but they had been squeaking by every week. While the Bulls competed for awhile the Cougars offensive firepower proved to be too much for them. Kendall Briles has proven to be an excellent offensive coordinator hire for Houston. This win was such a statement that it catapulted them into the AP top 25 at #17.
2. Florida International over Western Kentucky: For some reason the Panthers still don’t have a lot of believers but maybe that’s the way Butch Davis likes it. They just keep on winning and they have a chance to lock up the C-USA East in the next two weeks. While a win against Western Kentucky isn’t something to write home about the fact that they didn’t fall into a trap game situation is in fact a statement itself.
3. Louisiana over Arkansas State: If you’re a Rajun Cajun fan you’re looking for signs in year one under Billy Napier that things are trending up. A win over the predicted preseason Sun Belt champion is definitely one of those signs. With this win over Arkansas State the program now has something to point to and build off of. That’s a HUGE statement.
4. Georgia Southern over Appalachian State: This one is really simple, a win over a top 25 football team? That is THE statement of the week. The Eagles not only beat App State but it wasn’t really that close. Can you say Georgia Southern is back? I think it’s finally safe to say that.
5. Nevada over San Diego State: The Wolfpack have been building up to a win like this all season. Grabbing a win over a Pac-12 team earlier on and almost knocking off Mountain West main stay Boise State. But you know who did best Boise State? San Diego State and Nevada just beat them. Jay Norvell’s complete turnaround of this program has been fun to watch and now they’ve gotten their statement win.
In the dog house
1. Tony Sanchez- UNLV, HC: The Rebels looked to be trending up the last few years under Sanchez but this season hasn’t gone as expected. This week they let San Jose State get their first victory of the season. No I’m not calling for his job because it’s entirely too early for that but this loss alone lands him in the dog house this week.
2. Randy Edsall- UConn, HC: Edsall was here last week and I’m not backing off this week. Yes he hasn’t had time to get ““his guys” into the program yet but they’ve been playing bad football and that falls at the feet of the head coach. Losing to UMass isn’t the insult that it once was but it’s not something UConn fans should be okay with either.
Out of the dog house
Brad Lambert- Charlotte, HC: Lambert appeared in the dog house a few times this year and even in my preseason edition. While Charlotte hasn’t had a breakout year they’ve picked up some wins along the way that show things could be headed in the right direction. This week’s win over Southern Miss takes Lambert out of the dog house.
Tweets of the week
1. Me too Tom, me too.
I enjoy Nevada football.— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) October 28, 2018
2. Ummm... we had two different experiences watching that game but okay!
Bout to start the day off right by watching USF/Houston which is the football version of this pic.twitter.com/OgfhsdumRd— BUM CHILLUPS (@edsbs) October 28, 2018
3. Indeed they are.
Georgia Southern is back back.— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) October 26, 2018
Let’s talk about the polls: Hey! There are some new faces in the AP top 25 polls this week. The AAC and Mountain West being the best the group of five has to offer continues to ring true with UCF, Houston, Utah State and Fresno State all being ranked this week and rightfully so. The complaining aboitnthe omission of Georgia Southern is something I’ll hold off on until a later date but for now it’s clear which conferences will hold the key to the sought after New Year’s Six bowl appearance.
Kick Six alert!!!