Earlier this week I wrote about how week three could be a big one for the group of five as a whole and while they may not have done enough to flip the script they certainly won a lot of games against power five opponents. All of that and more right here, this is the week that was!
Best games of the week (going with G5vG5 for this one)
1. Eastern Michigan at Buffalo: The Bulls have started the 2018 season on a roll! Buffalo is now 3-0 and picked up a really good win over a Eastern Michigan team that just beat Purdue. Quarterback Tyree Johnson had an outstanding day through the air (more on that later) and he connected with K.J. Osborn a lot including the game winner. The Eagles didn’t go away quietly though as their quarterback Mike Glass III also had an impressive day but again more on that later. The Bulls stay undefeated and win 35-28.
2. Hawaii at Army: The rainbow Warriors were playing this game at six in the morning according to their body clock and it showed. The run and shoot offense had been off to a hot start with quarterback Cole McDonald but sputtered until it was too late. The Black Knights picked up a good win here as Hawaii was previously undefeated. The triple option attack overwhelmed Hawaii’s defense and eventually wore them down. Army holds off a late comeback attempt to win 28-21.
3. Arkansas State at Tulsa: Tulsa was coming off a pretty impressive showing in a loss against Texas last week and the Red Wolves were coming off of a bad loss at Alabama. Both needed a win under their belt and Arkansas State bounced back in a big way. This one was back and forth until Arkansas State’s Demari Medley intercepted a pass and returned for a touchdown. This created the seperation for the Red Wolves to win 29-20.
4. Tulane at UAB: UAB was coming off an embarrassing and unexpected loss to Coastal Carolina last week but they rebounded nicely with a win over Tulane. Willie Fritz’s Green Wave team seemed to be a team on the rise in the AAC and was looking to keep the momentum going but the Blazers offense proved to be too much. UAB quarterback A.J. Erderly did not have his best day but a late touchdown pass to Logan Scott sealed the win 31-24. ALSO BIG MAN TOUCHDOWN
Top Dogs of the week
1. Mason Fine- QB, North Texas: The Mean Green had an almost perfect day against Arkansas and that charge was lead by Mason Fine. The quarterback had 281 yards passing and one touchdown and while he’s had better days on the stat line it was his leadership that showed through in this win
2. Tyree Jackson/K. J. Osborn- QB and WR, Buffalo: I brushed on these two earlier and I thought it was only fair to give them both their due here. Jackson had 325 yards passing and 3 touchdowns and Osborn had 7 cacthes for 188 yards and three touchdowns in their win over Eastern Michigan.
3. ShawnDarrius Phillips- RB, Florida International: The Panthers offense put on a offensive clinic in their blowout win over UMass. It was Phillips that lead this charge with 117 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
4. Alvin Davis-DB, Akron: The Zips knocked off Big Ten opponent Northwestern and Davis was a huge reason why. He has TWO interception returns for a touchdown and that made all the difference.
Wins vs the Power Five
This is where I would normally put upsets of the week but this week deserved something a little different! There were A LOT of these! Let’s run through them quickly.
Troy over Nebraska: Neal Brown’s Trojans do it again by knocking off a power five team on the road for the second year in a row and made a lot of money in the process.
Temple over Maryland: The Owls season had gotten off to an unexpected 0-2 start but that didn’t stop them from knocking off a Maryland team that had beaten Texas in week one. Temple dominated in this game and they finally got their offense rolling in the 35-14 win over the Terps.
USF over Illinois: The Bulls looked better in this match up last year against the Illini but went on the road and got their second win vs a power five opponent in a row. These games are resume’ builders for that New Year’s Six bowl spot.
BYU over Wisconsin: This was the big one! These Cougars couldn’t look any more different than around this time last year. They go into Madison and knock off the #6 Badgers. They took a late lead and never looked back and picked up the victory after Wisconsin missed a FG.
North Texas over Arkansas: This was was never really that close. The Mean Green was just the better team and could be in the discussion for the best group of five team in the country. Seth Litrell’s team shined bright on the biggest stage by taking an SEC team to the woodshed.
Akron over Northwestern: Tommy Bowden has built a perennial bowl team at Akron and they’ve been close to knocking off a Big Ten team in the past but the Zips finally get it done here. Two pick six’s and a fumble recovery for a touchdown they knock off the Wildcats on the road.
Nevada over Oregon State: Man is this Wolfpack team fun to watch or what? While Oregon State might be in rebuilding mode this is still a good win and at one point it wasn’t even close and Nevada was dominating. They held off the Beavers 37-35.
San Diego State over Arizona State: Just one week after the Sun Devils and Herm Edwards were the toast of college football, Rocky Long and his Aztecs pick up yet another win over the Pac12. San Diego State was just more physical in this one but also needed a questionable targeting call at the end of the game to hang on.
Fresno State over UCLA: The Bulldogs are simply the better team but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying this one. Fresno took Chip Kelly’s new team to the woodshed by beating them 38-14. That’s two wins by the G5 over UCLA this season.
In the dog house
1. Doug Martin- HC, New Mexico State: Coming off of a bowl appearance the Aggies have started 2018 at 0-4. We knew they would be replacing a lot but a lopsided loss against rival New Mexico didn’t help things. It has some in Las Cruces wondering if 2017 was the outlier. Maybe it was....
2. Mike Sanford- HC, Western Kentucky: While the Hilltoppers fought valiantly and probably should’ve won the game against Louisville it still means an 0-3 start with one of those losses coming to FCS team Maine. What was at the time a risky hire hasn’t paid off just yet. Does he need more time? He was given the program in really good shape and it’s been trending the wrong way and that has some influential people calling for his job.
3. Mark D’Onofrio-DC, Houston- The Cougars gave up 63 in their loss to Texas Tech and that should never happen to a defens that includes Ed Oliver. A hire that was questioned from the start seems to be going about the way that most thought it would.
Tweets of the week
- While not a great tweet you knew this play had to be in here somewhere. THIS. PLAY. IS. AMAZING.
2. While the Broncos didn’t beat Oklahoma State they did beat Nebraska... kinda
3. He’s right ya know...
Cole McDonald threw a touchdown pass at 6:06 AM local Hawai’i time. As far as I’m concerned, the Heisman debate is OVER.— PodKATT (@valleyshook) September 15, 2018
What we learned
- Boise is good but not quite good enough: The Broncos has a lot of national buzz and rightfully so going into their game against Oklahoma State. Boise State comes back to reality just a little bit after this one. A loss to Oklahoma State on the road is nothing to be ashamed of but there was some playoff buzz with this team and now that’s gone. Still a lot to play for and a New Year’s Six bowl up for grabs.
2. North Texas is in the driver’s seat: As the race to grab that coveted New year’s six spot heats up the Mean Green have placed themselves firmly on top after a thrashing of SEC foe Arkansas. It’s hard to find a better resume’ builder in the committee’s eyes than a win over that conference and their schedule looks managble the rest of the way. Can they run the table?
BONUS: More turnover swag? Yes. Bad turnover swag? Absolutely!