Group of Five 2020-21 Bowl Week 2 Recap & Highlights

Ball State wins its first ever bowl game in the Offerpad Arizona Bowl over San Jose State. (Courtesy of Ball State Athletics)

There were four bowl games in the second and final bowl week involving Group of Five teams. Late game action for the three games involving G5 versus Power Five schools all cost the G5 teams really in winning their contests.

Cincinnati had a big chance to show that they were one of the best teams in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against Georgia and nearly did that. The Bearcats raced out to a 21-10 lead after their first drive of the second half. The Bearcats then began the second half with a 79-yard touchdown run from RB Jerome Ford, expanding their lead to 21-10.

But Cincinnati could not put away the Bulldogs and allowed Georgia to to drive for a gam winning field goal with two second left.

As it stood, Georgia got the ball back with 1:28 remaining from the Cincinnati 20-yard line.

Ultimately, the Bearcats blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter when Georgia kicker Jack Podlesny kicked a 53-yard field goal with two seconds left in the game to give Georgia a one-point lead. The final scoring was a safety on the last play of to game on a botched snap by Cincinnati in the end zone to give the final score of 24-21.

One mild upset in the lone G5-G5 bowl match-up of Week 2 was Ball State handling San Jose State easily in the Offerpad Arizona bowl. SJSU came into the the final bowl week (like Cincinnati) as one of four undefeated FBS squads. Alabama and Ohio State were the others, who also won their bowl games this week to set-up next week’s national title game.

For the Cardinals, they started the season with a loss but won its last seven games and ended with their first bowl victory in school history. BSU beat the Spartans 34-13 in a dominating fashion on both sides of the ball. The balanced offense of both running and passing, along with a stiff defense won the game for the Cardinals.

Tulsa narrowly lost to Mississippi State in a game that was more highlighted for what happened after the game was over in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Mississippi State won the game 28-26 but Mississippi State WR Malik Heath intentionally kicking Tulsa S TieNeal Martin in the middle of the madness. The kick came moments after Martin threw aggressive punches at multiple Mississippi State players. Heath also threw punches during the fight. Both schools will likely see some discipline before next season for those players that are coming back.

Army also nearly won its game with a Power Five school in West Virginia but like the Cincinnati-Georgia game, a late field goal by the P5 team sent them home with a narrow loss in the Autozone Liberty Bowl. WVU replacement QB Austin Kendall found WR T.J. Simmons in the corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown to put the Mountaineers back on top 22-21. The Mountaineers went for two to make it a three-point game, and it was successful.

Army could not drive into field goal range in the last minute plus of the game and ended with the 24-21 loss. The loss meant Army fell one win short of its fourth ever 10-win season.

Below are some highlights of each of these four games. And as a reminder, after the Jan. 11th national title game, CSJ will release the final G5 rankings from Sagarin.

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Tex.) Wed., Dec. 31
Mississippi State 28 Tulsa 26

Offerpad Arizona Bowl (Tuscon, Ariz.) Wed., Dec. 31
Ball State 31 San Jose State 13

Autozone Liberty Bowl (Memphis, Tenn.) Wed., Dec. 31
West Virginia 24 Army 21

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (Atlanta, Ga.) Thurs., Jan. 1
Georgia 24 Cincinnati 21

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