Around the Group of 5: Week 12 (Football)

Story posted November 19, 2020 in CommRadio, Sports by Matt Scalzo

The Group of Five and Independent schools have continued to impress throughout this season. In the most recent AP Top 25, they boast nine ranked teams, and two in the top-10.

In the American Conference, No. 7 Cincinnati continues to roll through its competition.This past week they dismantled East Carolina, 55-17.

Quarterback Desmond Ridder has this offense rolling, but what is more impressive is the defense. They are allowing just 12.4 points per game. This week they will face the UCF Knights at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN in a highly anticipated matchup.

Tulsa cracked the top-25 for the first time this season after the Golden Hurricane upset the No. 19 SMU Mustangs, 28-24. Tulsa scored 21 unanswered points. Senior quarterback Zach Smith led the way with three touchdowns.

On Friday, Tulsa will welcome Tulane to Chapman Stadium. The Green Wave is fresh off a 38-12 win over the Army Black Knights.

Independent school Liberty stays undefeated and sits at 8-0. The Flames are coming off a 58-14 win over Western Carolina. Junior Malik Willis had five total touchdowns. This week, the Flames take on NC State at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN3.

The No. 8 BYU Cougars return this week as they face winless North Alabama. Zach Wilson looks to keep the Cougars hot as they make a push for a New Year’s Six bowl.

No. 15 Marshall from C-USA stayed perfect this weekend. It was an emotional weekend down in Huntington as it was the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that killed 37 football players and eight coaches. The Thundering Herd honored all the passengers that died with a number 75 decal on all the helmets.

Marshall dominated Middle Tennessee State by a final score of 42-14. Quarterback Grant Wells tossed five touchdowns. This week, the Thundering Herd are off after their game against Charlotte was postponed due to COVID-19.

Another surprising team this year is No. 15 Coastal Carolina out of the Sun Belt. This week, the Chanticleers face off against Appalachian State in a game with Sun Belt championship game implications on the line. Kickoff is set for noon at Brooks Stadium on ESPN2.

In the Mountain West, Boise State responded from its embarrassing loss to BYU with a 52-21 stomping of Colorado State. Also, San Jose State stayed perfect.

Boise State was picked apart by BYU a couple of weeks ago, but they got back on track this week. Sophomore quarterback Hank Bachmeier returned and threw one touchdown. This week, the Broncos will travel to Honolulu to face Hawaii.

San Jose State stayed hot as they are 4-0 for the first time since 1955. The Trojans topped UNLV 34-17 as Nick Starkel tossed a pair of touchdown passes. This week, the Trojans are on the road against Fresno State.

MACtion is back in full force. Last week, Western Michigan scored two touchdowns in 45 seconds to beat Toledo, 41-38. Kaleb Eleby connected with a wide open Jaylen Hall on a fake spike for the game-winning touchdown.

On Tuesday night, it was the battle for the Wagon Wheel as Akron took on Kent State. Kent State walloped Akron 69-35, improving to 3-0 for the first time since 1958.

Also on Tuesday, Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson rushed for 301 yards as the Bulls improved to 3-0. Patterson is the first player this year to run for 300 or more yards this season.

Finally, on Wednesday night, it was the Victory Cannon Game as Western Michigan took on Central Michigan. The Broncos outlasted the Chippewas, 52-44. Kaleb Eleby led the way with five passing touchdowns. Western Michigan now sits at 3-0, while Central Michigan falls to 2-1.


Matt Scalzo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

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Matt Scalzo

Second Year / Broadcast Journalism

Matthew “Matt” Scalzo is a second-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, volleyball, basketball and hockey games. Matt is also the Penn State Women’s Volleyball play-by-play broadcaster calling games on both TV and radio. He has written countless articles and appeared on podcasts, live shows and is a part of The Extra Point, a talk show centered around the NFL. 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).