South Florida and Houston had big home wins over Power 5 squads and Navy had the upset win over previously Top 5 in the Power Poll Memphis to highlight Week 2 action in the FBS Group of Five schools.
The biggest riser for a second straight week has to be Hawai’i, where a team we predicted to be towards the bottom of the Mountain West Conference but has three wins already over MWC mate Colorado State on the road and Navy and Rice at home. The three wins match the win total from last year already for the Rainbow Warriors.
The number in parenthesis is the preseason ranking and noted with a (-) if they were outside of the Top 20.
1. (1) UCF (2-0 overall, 1-0 AAC)
Last week: Beat FCS South Carolina State 38-0 at home
This week: at North Carolina (CANCELED due to Hurricane Florence)
The Knights’ defense created three turnovers for the second straight week in the 38-0 shutoff of South Carolina State. A trio of interceptions – from Richie Grant, Kyle Gibson and Antwan Collier – helped keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard. In addition to the takeaways, UCF defenders accounted for 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including 4 sacks. The Knights’ offense had its own fair share of turnovers, also giving up three interceptions. Despite the miscues, UCF still racked up 566 yards of total offense. The Knights have now won 15 games in a row now and will have an unexpected bye week with the game at North Carolina canceled due to Hurricane Florence coming to the Carolinas.
2. (2) Boise State (2-0 overall, 0-0 MWC)
Last week: Beat Connecticut 62-7 at home
This week: at Oklahoma State
The Broncos gained a program record 818 yards, including 514 in the first half, in its 62-7 blowout of UConn. The previous record was 742 yards on Oct. 15, 2011 against Colorado State in Boise State’s first Mountain West game. QB Brett Rypien had his 16th career 300-yard passing game (362 yards), tying Kellen Moore for most with the program. UConn recorded just 78 yards and four first downs in the first half. The Huskies finished with 193 yards of offense. This week might be the biggest road test of the season, though as the Broncos travel to the Big 12’s Top 25 AP ranked Oklahoma State.
3. (4) South Florida (2-0 overall, 0-0 AAC)
Last week: Beat Georgia Tech 49-38 at home
This week: vs. Illinois (at Chicago’s Soldier Field)
The Bulls used a 21-point surge to rally back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to post a 49-38 victory over ACC foe Georgia Tech. QB Blake Barnett led the comeback with two fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns. The first was the go-ahead score from 19 yards out with just over five minutes to play and to seal the victory, he plummeted in from 5-yards out with just over two minutes remaining. Barnett ended the game with his second straight four-score game included a pair of touchdown passes. USF now travels to Illinois to play the Big 10’s Illini but the game will actually be a somewhat neutral site at the NFL Chicago Bears’ Soldier Field.
4. (5) Appalachian State (2-0, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Last week: Beat Charlotte 45-9 on the road
This week: vs. Southern Miss
QB Zac Thomas’ perfect game as a passer highlighted a complete performance from Appalachian State, which scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams in a 45-9 blowout of Charlotte. Thomas went 14 of 14 for 295 yards and three touchdowns through the air, marking the first time an App State or Sun Belt Conference quarterback finished a game with at least 10 completions and no incompletions. He also had a 5-yard rushing touchdown. The Mountaineers get their home opener this week with Southern Miss coming to Boone.
5. (7) Houston (2-0, 0-0 AAC)
Last week: Beat Arizona 48-18 at home
This week: at Texas Tech
QB D’Eriq King threw for a career-high four touchdowns and ran for two more scores to propel the Cougars to a 45-18 blowout win over the Pac-12’s Arizona in a score that really wasn’t even that close. Houston outgained the Wildcats in total offense 202-82 in the opening 15 minutes. The Cougars went on to build a 38-0 lead late into the third quarter. This week, Houston travels to the Big 12’s Texas Tech in what should be a much closer game.
6. (9) Cincinnati (2-0, 0-0 AAC)
Last week: Beat Miami (OH) 21-0 (at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati)
This week: vs. FCS Alabama A&M
The Bearcats defeated rival Miami 21-0 on a rainy night—the 13th straight time that Cincinnati has beaten the RedHawks in their Victory Bell Trophy annual game. QB Desmond Ridder rushed for 100 yards in the game, with RB Michael Warren II rushing for 91 yards and two TDs. Cincinnati gets what it hopes is an easier opponent in FCS Alabama A&M for their true home opener this week.
7. (10) Toledo (1-0, 0-0 MAC)
Last week: Bye
This week: vs. Miami (FL)
The Rockets got a bye this past weekend in preparation for this Miami of Florida and not the conference-mate Miami of Ohio. Miami is ranked in the AP Top 25 and comes in at 1-1 (loss was to LSU in the opening weekend and defeated FCS Savannah State last weekend).
8. (11) Florida Atlantic (1-1, 0-0 C-USA)
Last week: Beat Air Force 33-27 at home
This week: vs. FCS Bethune Cookman
QB Chris Robison recorded 471 passing yards in the 33-27 win over Air Force, setting a new FAU record previously held by Rusty Smith when he had 463 yards against Minnesota on September 15, 2007. With 33 completions, Robison had the second most in FAU single-game history. Rusty Smith holds that record with 35 completions against ULM on October 27, 2007. This week the Owls should get an easy win with FCS Bethune Cookman coming to visit.
9. (20) Hawai’i (3-0, 1-0 MWC)
Last week: Beat Rice 43-29 at home
This week: at Army West Point
Hawai’i got off to a fast start and then held off a game Rice squad for a 43-29 win. QB Cole McDonald threw for 319 yards and four touchdowns as the Rainbow Warriors scored 40+ points for the third straight game, a first since 2010. The sophomore has not thrown an interception in 111 pass attempts this season and his 13 touchdowns are the most by Hawai’i quarterback through the first three games of a season. This week Hawai’I makes the long trip to New York state to play Army.
10. (13) Ohio (1-0, 0-0 MAC)
Last week: Bye
This week: vs. Virginia (at Nashville, Tenn.)
The Bobcats had a Week 2 bye in preparations for Virginia. Ohio thought they would have a road game but Hurricane Florence caused the game to be moved to Nashville and will play at Vanderbilt Stadium there. Nashville is 545 miles from Charlottesville and 422 miles from Athens, Ohio.
11. (12) San Diego State (1-1, 0-0 MWC)
Last week: Beat FCS Sacramento State 28-14 at home
This week: vs. Arizona State
RB Juwan Washington rushed for 156 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, as San Diego State rallied for a 28-14 triumph over Sacramento State. The last two came after the Aztecs were trailing 14-13—both in the last five minutes of the game for the come-from-behind win. This week, SDSU gets the Pac-12’s Arizona State coming into town. Last year, the Aztecs beat the Sun Devils on the road 30-20—the first win ever in 12 meetings.
12. (14) Army West Point (1-1)
Last week: Beat Liberty 38-14 at home
This week: vs. Hawai’i
Army West Point took down Liberty 38-14 in its home opener. The Black Knights scored in every period and jumped out to a 24-0 lead before allowing their first points of the game three minutes into the second half. Senior Darnell Woolfolk led the Cadets with 98 yards rushing on 17 attempts. Fred Cooper and Calen Holt closely followed with 81 and 72 yards rushing, respectively. Now the Black Knights get a hot Hawai’i team at home this week.
13. (15) Navy (1-1, 1-0 AAC)
Last week: Beat Memphis 22-21 at home
This week: vs. Lehigh at home
QB Zach Abey ran for a 3-yard touchdown in a driving rain with 2:37 left, capping a fourth-quarter comeback that lifted Navy past error-prone Memphis 22-21. Navy trailed 21-9 before RB Malcolm Perry followed the Tigers’ third lost fumble with a 19-yard run with 11:07 remaining previous to the game winner. This week Navy hosts FCS Lehigh, who is a conference mate in all other sports in the Patriot League.
14. (3) Memphis (1-1, 0-1 AAC)
Last week: Lost to Navy 22-21 on the road
This week: vs. Georgia State
Memphis went scoreless in the final quarter and it looked quite bad after playing well through three quarters. Memphis’ three drives in the final frame amounted just 52 yards and had two turnovers that basically led to two direct scores for Navy. The Tigers hope to get back to the form it saw in the first three quarters in a home contest against Georgia State this week.
15. (6) Fresno State (1-1, 0-0 MWC)
Last week: Lost to Minnesota 21-14 on the road
This week: at UCLA
The Bulldogs were right there to pull off a win over the Big 10 Gophers. After converting a fourth-and-3 from the Minnesota 10-yard line, Fresno State was set up with first-and goal from the Golden Gopher 4-yard line with 1:24 remaining in the game. The ‘Dogs pulled a play out of the book from 2017, a halfback pass attempt from Josh Hokit to try and knot the game. But this one, intended for tight end Jared Rice in the back of the end zone, was intercepted by Minnesota defensive back Antonie Winfield Jr. to dash the Bulldogs’ hopes of winning. Another P5 opponent on the road awaits Fresno State this week with a trip to Los Angles to play UCLA.
16. (16) Utah State (1-1, 0-0 MWC)
Last week: Beat New Mexico State 60-13 at home
This week: vs. FCS Tennessee Tech
PK Dominik Eberle kicked six field goals and RB Gerold Bright rushed for a career-high 134 yards and a touchdown as Utah State opened the home portion of its schedule with a dominating 60-13 victory over New Mexico State. Another home game against FCS Tennessee Tech this Thursday awaits the Aggies for this week.
17. (8) BYU (1-1)
Last week: Lost to California 21-18 at home
This week: at Wisconsin
After forcing on turnovers last week in the win over Arizona, BYU’s defense and special teams came up with three takeaways. Senior Butch Pau’u forced a fumble early in the third quarter that was recovered by Dayan Ghanwoloku for a 36-yard touchdown. Then in the fourth quarter, Isaiah Kaufusi caught his first career interception and Ghanwoloku recovered another fumble on a muffed Cal punt return. But these were not enough to get by Cal in the 21-18 loss. This week, will be a very tough test for the Cougars in traveling to AP Top 10 ranked Wisconsin.
18. (19) Marshall (2-0, 0-0 C-USA)
Last week: Beat FCS Eastern Kentucky 32-16 at home
This week: at South Carolina
Marshall had turnovers on punt returns, and another on a mishandled kickoff return. An extra point was blocked in the first quarter, and a punt blocked in the fourth. A bobbled pass turned into an interception, and the giveaways piled up. But despite the miscues, the Thundering Herd took care of FCS Eastern Kentucky 32-16. Those kinds of mistakes will need to be corrected this week in Marshall’s trip to the SEC’s South Carolina (which is as of today still on despite the pending Hurricane Florence).
19. (-) North Texas (2-0, 0-0 C-USA)
Last week: Beat FCS Incarnate Word 58-16 at home
This week: at Arkansas
North Texas scored the most points in its first two games in program history, registered consecutive 400-yard passing games by a quarterback for the first time, and is 2-0 for the first time since 1994. For the second week in a row, North Texas got strong efforts from its defense and QB Mason Fine to go along with three-touchdown performances from both RB DeAndre Torrey and WR Rico Bussey, Jr., to roll to a 58-16 victory over FCS Incarnate Word. The Mean Green will take that perfect record to the SEC’s Arkansas this week.
20. (-) Eastern Michigan (2-0, 0-0 MAC)
Last week: Beat Purdue 20-19 on the road
This week: at Buffalo
Freshman PK Chad Ryland drilled a 24-yard field goal as time expired to give the Eastern Michigan a 20-19 win over the Big 10’s Purdue. With the win, EMU secured its second victory over a ‘Power 5’ opponent in program history. The win moved the Eagles to 2-0 on the season, and is just the third time they have won back-to-back games to open the season in the past 20 years. Now this week, EMU will travel to Buffalo, who also is 2-0 (and would be my #21 team this week).
Dropped Out: Wyoming, Northern Illinois
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football is the Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.
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