Around the Group of 5: Week 8 (Football)
There were a lot of good games this past week in all conferences. Let’s focus on the games in the American, C-USA, Sun Belt and the Independent schools.
In the American Athletic Conference, it was a week filled with close games and a lot of points. The No. 16 SMU Mustangs won a close one, while Memphis and UCF went toe-to-toe in what could be the game of the year for the American.
SMU defeated Tulane 37-34 in overtime to improve to 5-0. Kicker Chris Naggar drilled the 34-yard game-winning field goal. The Mustangs got a big performance from senior quarterback Shane Buechele. Buechele threw for 384 yards and two touchdowns.
Memphis outlasted UCF 50-49 in what is the game of the year so far. Both teams' offenses were rolling, combining for 1501 total yards. However, a missed field goal by Daniel Obarski cost UCF the game.
Brady White racked up seven total touchdowns to fuel the Tigers. White finished with 486 yards, six passing touchdowns and tacked on another rushing touchdown. On the other side, Dillon Gabriel ended with 601 yards and six total touchdowns. The Tigers improved to 2-1, while the Knights fell to 2-2.
The other games saw Navy top East Carolina 27-23 to get to 3-2 on the season. Temple beat USF 39-37 after USF was unsuccessful on their two-point conversion at the end.
This week, it is a battle of the top teams in the American as No. 16 SMU hosts No. 9 Cincinnati. The game is scheduled to kick off at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.
In the Conference USA, Marshall continues to roll as it took care of Louisiana Tech 35-17. Marshall also reached No. 22 in the new AP Poll.
The Thundering Herd were led by junior running back Brenden Knox as he ran 125 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman quarterback Grant Wells also tossed two touchdowns. Marshall reaches 4-0 for the first time since 2014.
UAB improved to 4-1 after they defeated Western Kentucky 37-14. The Blazers got a strong performance from running back DeWayne McBride. McBride had 131 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown.
The final game saw North Texas beat Middle Tennessee State 52-35. Quarterback Jason Bean had a big day as he had five total touchdowns to pace the Mean Green.
The Sun Belt produced some “Fun Belt” like action this weekend when Arkansas State and Georgia State faced off.
Arkansas State outlasted Georgia State in a high scoring affair, 59-52. Quarterbacks Layne Hatcher and Logan Bonner combined for seven passing touchdowns. Receiver Roshauud Paul even threw the game winning touchdown on a trick play.
Troy improved to 3-1 after they edged Eastern Kentucky, 31-29. The Trojans were fueled by an impressive performance from quarterback Gunnar Watson. Watson threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns.
The other two games saw Georgia Southern blank UMass 41-0. Senior quarterback Shai Werts led the way with four total touchdowns. South Alabama topped Texas State, 30-20. The Jaguars improved to 2-2 and the Bobcats fell to 1-5.
This week will have some good matchups that will shape the Sun Belt. No. 25 Coastal Carolina hosts Georgia Southern. Louisiana faces off with UAB at Legion Field. Also, Arkansas State travels to play Appalachian State on Thursday night.
Finally, the Independent schools, BYU, Army and Liberty continued to build off of their hot starts.
No. 14 BYU ran away from Houston 43-26 to reach 5-0. The Cougars were fueled by a strong finish to the game, scoring the last 29 points. Quarterback Zach Wilson continued his impressive season with 400 passing yards and four touchdowns.
The Army Black Knights improved to 5-1 as they defeated UTSA, 28-16. It was a well fought game by both teams, but the Black Knights were anchored by their strong run game. Anthony Adkins, Jakobi Buchanan, Tyhier Tyler and Cade Ballard had a rushing touchdown apiece.
Liberty stayed undefeated as it topped Syracuse, 38-21. The Flames were dominant on the ground as they ran for 338 yards. Running backs Shedro Louis and Peytton Pickett had strong performances. Louis ran for 170 yards and two touchdowns, while Pickett ran for 110 yards and a touchdown. Liberty is now 5-0 on the season.
This week, No. 12 BYU is back at home taking on Texas State. Army returns to Michie Stadium to host the Mercer Bears. Finally, Liberty welcomes Southern Mississippi to Lynchburg, Virginia.
Matt Scalzo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.