The first weekend is in the books for the Group of Five teams. Eight bowls were played Dec. 17th and 18th–all involving at least one G5 team in those games. The big story of the weekend was Western Kentucky’s QB Bailey Zappe breaking former LSU QB Joe Burrow’s record with 61st TD pass of season in WKU’s 59-38 win over Appalachian State in the Boca Raton Bowl. Zappe also broke the pass yardage record with over 5,800 yards passing.
Three of the five conference champions were in action in the first weekend. The biggest win so far might be Mountain West champion Utah State defeating Oregon State in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl. The Aggies defeated the Pac-12 squad 24-13 in this integral bowl game.
Sun Belt champion Louisiana closed out its season with its 13th win in a row in the New Orleans Bowl win over Marshall, 36-21 in their first game without Coach Billy Napier who left Lafayette to be the head man at Florida.
The third G5 conference champion though was not so lucky. MAC champion Northern Illinois possibly played in the most contested game of the weekend against Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers, who were the co-champions of the Sun Belt last year, defeated the Huskies 47-41 in the Cure Bowl. This was Coastal’s first ever bowl victory after the Chants lost the same bowl last year to Liberty.
And speaking of Liberty, the Flames won a lopsided contest of Eastern Michigan for their third bowl win in as many tries this year in the LendingTree Bowl.
BYU was ranked #13 in the final College Football Playoff rankings but were upset in the Independence Bowl by UAB.
Eight more bowl games involving Group of Five schools including another conference champion in UTSA (Conference USA) will be played this week.
Below are highlights from all 8 bowl games this past weekend with a full game recap in the hyperlink.
BAHAMAS BOWL (NASSUA, BAHAMAS) FRI, DEC. 17
Middle Tennessee 31 Toledo 24
TAILGREETER CURE BOWL (ORLANDO, FLA.) FRI, DEC. 17
Coastal Carolina 47 Northern Illinois 41
ROOFCLAIM.COM BOCA RATON BOWL (BOCA RATON, FLA.) SAT, DEC. 18
Western Kentucky 59, App State 38
PUBG MOBILE NEW MEXICO BOWL (ALBUQUERQUE, N. MEX.) SAT, DEC. 18
Fresno State 31 UTEP 24
RADIANCE TECHNOLOGIES INDEPENDENCE BOWL (SHREVEPORT, LA.) SAT, DEC. 18
UAB 31 BYU 28
LENDINGTREE BOWL (MOBILE, ALA.) SAT, DEC. 18
Liberty 56 Eastern Michigan 20
JIMMY KIMMEL LA BOWL (INGLEWOOD, CALIF.) SAT, DEC. 18
Utah State 24 Oregon State 13
R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL (NEW ORLEANS, LA.) SAT, DEC. 18
Louisiana 36 Marshall 21
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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