Around the Group of 5: Week 9 (Football)
The Group of 5 has another conference playing football now, as the Mountain West Conference started play this past weekend. Now that we have four conferences playing, let’s take a look at how they played last weekend.
The American Athletic Conference produced a matchup that was supposed to be the best of the week: No. 9 Cincinnati at No. 16 SMU.
The Mustangs were able to keep this one close heading into the half trailing 14-10, but Cincinnati showed why they are a worthy top-ten ranking in the second half as the Bearcats outscored the Mustangs 28-3.
Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder shined on the ground, rushing for 179 yards and 3 touchdowns. He added 126 yards and one touchdown through the air as well. This game improves the Bearcats’ record to 4-0 and drops SMU to 5-1.
Memphis used a strong offensive second half to take down Temple, 41-29. Anthony Russo threw for 387 yards and four touchdowns in the losing effort for the Owls, while Brady White had another strong showing for the Tigers, throwing for 313 yards and four touchdowns.
Tulsa and UCF picked up blowout wins over South Florida and Tulane, respectively. Both South Florida and Tulane are still winless in the American this season.
This week brings us yet another challenge for No. 7 Cincinnati, as they host the offensive juggernaut, Memphis Tigers.
This game will be the ultimate contrast of play styles. Memphis is scoring 38.8 points per game this season, while Cincinnati is only giving up 12.5 points per game on defense.
Cincinnati has an outside chance at making the College Football Playoff this year, and a win over the Tigers would be a big one for their resume.
UCF, who sits at 3-2 and is having a disappointing season for their recent standards travels to Houston this weekend to play the Cougars. The Knights are averaging 646.8 yards per game, while Houston is holding opponents to 353.7 yards per game.
In the Conference USA, Marshall struggled early on against Florida Atlantic. The Thundering Herd were trailing 9-7 late in the third quarter but ended up winning 20-9. Marshall is now 5-0 and has a very good shot to finish the season unbeaten.
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns knocked off UAB this past week 24-20 after a late touchdown pass from quarterback Levi Lewis to Pearse Migl.
UTSA was trailing Louisiana Tech 26-13 heading into the fourth quarter, but scored 14 unanswered points in the final period to come away with the 27-26 win. The Roadrunners improved to 4-3, while the Bulldogs fell to 3-3.
The Conference USA’s leader, No. 19 Marshall had its matchup with Florida International postponed this week due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
The conference still has some good matchups this week, though. UTSA travels to Boca Raton to play Florida Atlantic, Rice plays at Southern Mississippi and UAB matches up against Louisiana Tech.
The independents are looking strong this year. BYU, Army and Liberty all had convincing wins last weekend moving their records to 6-0, 6-1, and 6-0 respectively.
BYU has been led by star quarterback Zach Wilson who has thrown for 1,928 yards so far this season, along with 22 total touchdowns. The Cougars are currently sitting at No. 11 in the AP-Top 25 poll.
No. 11 BYU is the only independent school in action this week and has what should be an easy matchup this week against Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are 2-4 this season.
The Mountain West is back, and ten of its teams were in action last weekend. Boise State and San Diego State looked the most impressive.
Boise State defeated Utah State by a score of 42-13 behind Hank Bachmeier’s 268 yards passing and three touchdowns. The Broncos earned the No. 25 ranking in this week’s AP-Top 25 poll.
San Diego State dominated UNLV en route to a 34-6 victory. The Aztecs outgained the Rebels 424 to 186 and rushed for nearly 300 yards.
Nevada, Hawaii and San José State also picked up victories of their own last weekend.
There are six Mountain West matchups this week, including Air Force hosting No. 25 Boise State.
The best matchup this week in the conference should be Hawaii at Wyoming. Hawaii comes into this game 1-0, while Wyoming is coming off of a close 37-34 loss to Nevada last weekend.
Looking at the Sun Belt, No. 25 Coastal Carolina continued its dream season with a 28-14 victory over Georgia Southern. The Chanticleers improved their ranking to No. 20 this week.
Appalachian State has been the most consistent team in recent years for the Sun Belt, and the Mountaineers won 45-17 over Arkansas State extending their record to 3-1 and 1-0 in conference.
This week, No. 20 Coastal Carolina travels to Atlanta to play Georgia State. South Alabama also travels to Georgia to match up with Georgia Southern.
Another good matchup in the “Fun Belt” this week will be between Troy and Arkansas State. Both teams are seeking their second win in the conference and fourth overall.
Trevor Grady is a junior majoring in management information systems and minoring in journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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