Around the Group of 5: Week 14 (Football)
The regular season is starting to wind down for the Group of Five and the independents. Last week, the Group of Five conferences were hit hard with cancellations and postponements, but there were still some games played.
Over in the American Athletic Conference, there were only three games last week. The two top teams in the AAC, No. 7 Cincinnati and No. 25 Tulsa, had their games called off due to COVID-19 concerns.
But there was still the War on I-4 last weekend, as UCF traveled to play USF. It was a high-scoring affair in which the Knights topped the Bulls 58-46. Dillon Gabriel had 336 yards and five total touchdowns, as UCF finished the regular season 6-3, while USF fell to 1-8.
The other games saw Memphis outlast Navy 10-7. A 26-yard field goal by Riley Patterson gave the Tigers the lead in the fourth quarter. Finally, a hot start helped East Carolina beat the suddenly struggling SMU Mustangs 52-38.
This coming week, No. 25 Tulsa takes on Navy before a big matchup with No. 7 Cincinnati the following week. Also, SMU and Tulane finish off their season with games against Houston and Memphis.
It was a quiet week for the independent schools as well. Liberty blanked UMass 45-0 in the only such game this weekend. Quarterback Malik Willis continued his impressive season, adding another four total touchdowns. The Flames are now 9-1 on the year.
In Conference USA, the theme of a quiet week continued, as just one game was played. UTSA ran all over North Texas 49-17. The Roadrunners ran for 443 yards and five touchdowns, most of that coming from Sincere McCormick, who had 251 yards and two touchdowns all by himself.
Next week, the Marshall Thundering Herd, No. 15 in the nation and the favorite to win the C-USA East, will return to action against Rice. The C-USA championship is set for Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.
The Mountain West saw a little bit more action than most Group of Five conferences with four games being played.
Last week, Nevada dropped to 4-1 after losing to Hawai’i. The Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors upset the undefeated Nevada Wolfpack 24-21. Hawai’i was fueled by a strong performance from quarterback Chevan Cordeiro. The sophomore went 26 for 32 with 246 yards and two total touchdowns.
Nevada sits at 5-1 and will try to bounce back against Fresno State, while Hawai’i is 3-3 and will travel to face undefeated San Jose State.
Down in the Sun Belt, both No. 18 Coastal Carolina and No. 25 Louisiana are set for a rematch in the Sun Belt championship game on Dec. 19. Both teams won their matchups this past weekend comfortably.
The Chanticleers continued to stay hot, rolling past Texas State 49-14 to win the East division. Running back CJ Marable powered the Chanticleers by running for 157 yards and three touchdowns. Next week, they host Liberty on Saturday at 2 p.m. College GameDay will be in Conway, South Carolina for pregame coverage.
The Sun Belt West champion Louisiana blew out rival Louisiana-Monroe 70-20. Levi Lewis led the way with 147 passing yards and five total touchdowns. The running game was also effective with 344 yards.
Finally, in the MAC, there were no cancellations last week. Central Michigan scored 25 points in the fourth quarter to beat Eastern Michigan, and Jaret Patterson put up video game numbers as Buffalo cruised past Kent State.
A late comeback propelled Central Michigan past Eastern Michigan, 31-23. The Chippewas were fueled by 25 points in the fourth quarter and Lew Nichols III, who ran for 196 yards and two touchdowns. The Chippewas are now 3-1, while the Eagles remain winless at 0-4.
Buffalo improved to 4-0 after Jaret Patterson ran all over Kent State 70-41. The junior running back was unstoppable, as he ran for 409 yards and eight touchdowns on 36 carries. He tied the record for most rushing touchdowns in a game and was just shy of beating Samaje Perine’s record of the most rushing yards in a game at 427.
Matt Scalzo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.