Around the Group of 5: Week Two

Story posted September 17, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Mathew Scalzo

Some big news came out of the Group of 5 and Independents this week, BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will join the Big 12 in 2023. After Texas and Oklahoma decided to leave the Big 12 to join the SEC in 2025, the conference adds four of the strongest Group of 5 teams.

Now let’s take a look at how the past week went around the Group of 5 and Independents.

In the American Athletic Conference, all the teams on their way out came out on top.

No. 8 Cincinnati dismantled Murray State with ease, 42-7. Junior running back Jerome Ford continued his impressive start to the season with 113 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The undefeated Bearcats head to Bloomington for a big showdown with the Indiana Hoosiers.

Houston got their first win of the season in dominant fashion over Rice, 44-7. Junior signal-caller Clayton Tune had a rough start to the year with four interceptions in the loss to Texas Tech but responded with 236 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers against the Owls.

Similar to their conference counterparts, UCF had no problems in their win against Bethune-Cookman, 63-14. Dillon Gabriel added to his strong start with 312 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Northwestern transfer Isaiah Bowser added four touchdowns on the ground.

The Knights head on the road to take on the Louisville Cardinals on Friday night, kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

It was another good week for the independent schools as well. Army, BYU, Liberty and Notre Dame all stayed perfect.

There was an upset in Provo, as BYU defeated No. 21 Utah, 26-17. The Cougars ended their nine-game losing streak to the Utes. Sophomore Jaren Hall paved the way with three passing touchdowns. It should be another exciting weekend as No. 23 BYU welcomes No. 19 Arizona State.

Notre Dame returned home and avoided an upset against Toledo, 32-29. The Irish trailed late, but Jack Coan connected with Michael Mayer for the game-winning touchdown. This week, a rivalry is renewed as Notre Dame faces Purdue for the first time since 2014.

In Conference USA, the top teams continued their winning ways.

UTSA improved to 2-0 on the year shutting out Lamar, 54-0, in the program’s first-ever shutout. The Roadrunners were led by Josh Adkins and Sincere McCormick, both players had two touchdowns.

Marshall is off to another strong start, this past week they topped North Carolina Central, 44-10. Freshman quarterback Grant Wells threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns in the win.

In the Mountain West, it was an impressive week, with the top teams picking up wins.

In a battle between the service academies, Air Force defeated Navy, 23-3. Junior Brad Roberts ran for 97 yards and a pair of touchdowns, quarterback Haaziq Daniels had a rushing touchdown as well.

Boise State got back in the win column with a dominating win over UTEP, 54-13. Meanwhile, Carson Strong and Nevada continued to impress as they destroyed Idaho State, 49-10. Strong tossed for 381 yards and four touchdowns.

Down in the Sun Belt, both No. 17 Coastal Carolina took down a Power 5 opponent, while Louisiana and Appalachian State had close encounters.

The Chanticleers dismantled low-tier Power 5 member Kansas, 49-22. Sophomore quarterback Grayson McCall threw for 241 yards and two touchdowns, while Reese White ran for three touchdowns. On Saturday, Coastal Carolina heads up north to take on the Buffalo Bulls.

The Ragin' Cajuns were able to stave off upset-minded Nicholls, 27-24. Levi Lewis threw for 304 yards and two touchdowns. As for Appalachian State nearly pulled off the upset against No. 23 Miami. A late field goal by Andres Borregales gave the Hurricanes the win, 25-23. 

Finally, in the MAC, it was a tough week for the conference, going 3-9. The top teams from a year went on the road and were shut down by two Big Ten teams.

Ball State traveled to Happy Valley and was dominated by Penn State, 44-13. Quarterback Drew Plitt threw two interceptions, with Chris Steele getting the lone touchdown. This week, Ball State travels to Wyoming for a matchup with the 2-0 Cowboys.

Meanwhile, Buffalo couldn’t get anything going in Lincoln, falling to Nebraska, 28-3. Kyle Vantrease threw for 224 yards and one interception. The Bulls are now 1-1 on the year.

After a ‘rocky’ performance, Michigan State transfer Rocky Lombardi and Northern Illinois look to rebound from their loss to Wyoming. Lombardi threw three interceptions in the defeat. This week, the Huskies head to Ann Arbor for a date with No. 25 Michigan.

Matthew Scalzo is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

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Matt Scalzo

Third Year / Broadcast Journalism

Matthew “Matt” Scalzo is a third-year from Ridgefield, Connecticut majoring in broadcast journalism. Matt is a Basketball Insider, broadcaster and writer for the sports department. With CommRadio he has called football, hockey, basketball, baseball, volleyball and lacrosse games. Matt has called matches for Penn State Women’s Volleyball on both TV and radio. He has written countless articles and appeared on podcasts, live shows and is a host of the Chi-Town Sit-Down with Thomas English, which covers everything Chicago sports. Matt spent the 2022 summer as the Drector of Broadcasting & Media for the Sanford Mainers in the NECBL. If you want to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).