Group of Five 2022-23 Bowl First Weekend Recap & Highlights

Troy players accept the Cure Bowl Trophy after defeating UTSA in the only bowl game this year that matched two conference champions. The bowl win for the Trojans allowed them to finish with its best Division I victory total of 12. (Courtesy of Troy Athletics)

College football bowl games are upon us as the 2022 postseason begin this past weekend. The action kicked off on Friday, Dec. 16 and continued its first weekend into Saturday, Dec. 17.

In the first weekend of bowl action, there were a total of eight bowl games with seven of those involving Group of Five squads.

This first weekend of postseason play brought some very tight games, particularly in Saturday’s later bowls in the day. The Frisco Bowl and New Mexico Bowl were decided by a combined four points, and Southern Miss running back Frank Gore Jr. had a record-setting night in a LendingTree Bowl victory over Rice.

The action in the seven games saw four of the seven bowls involving G5 squads decided by a touchdown or less. The highlight match-up was the only bowl that saw two conference champions meet in the Cure Bowl. Troy took down UTSA 18-12.

Troy got the job done with one of its best defensive performances of the year. It forced an incompletion from UTSA QB Frank Harris to WR Zakhari Franklin deep over the middle at the 10-yard line with 1:32 left in the game to force a turnover on downs for the second straight possession. Harris also missed Franklin on fourth-and-goal with 7:01 remaining on its best scoring chance of the second half.

The Roadrunners jumped out to a 12-0 lead midway through the second quarter but had four turnovers on the next four drives (excluding a kneel down at the half) that led to the 18 straight points from the Trojans for the Sun Belt champions to defeat the Conference USA champions.

BYU and Boise State picked up wins in close fashion in their bowl contests. BYU stopped a two-point conversion from SMU late in the game to secure the New Mexico Bowl victory. Boise State held on in the end to defeat North Texas in the Frisco Bowl.

The best bowl game that came to the end was the Bahamas Bowl where UAB took a late lead with a couple of minutes to play. UAB just needed its defense to make a stop with the goal line on their back as Miami (OH) WR Jalen Walker was on his way to the end zone eyeing a last-second, game-winning touchdown. The Blazers wrapped up Walker and brought him to the ground at the 2-yard line, sealing a 24-20 win in this year’s Bahamas Bowl.

Two G5 squads faced Power Five schools in this opening weekend with Mountain West champion Fresno State picking up a win, while Cincinnati, who is playing their last season labeled as a G5 team, lost to Louisville in the Fenway Bowl.

See highlights of all seven of the opening bowl games below with the game recap in the hyperlink and the video highlights below that:

BAHAMAS BOWL (NASSUA, BAHAMAS) FRI, DEC. 16
UAB 24 Miami (OH) 20

DULUTH TRADING CURE BOWL (ORLANDO, Fla.) FRI, DEC. 16
Troy 18 UTSA 12

WASABI FENWAY BOWL (BOSTON, Mass.) SAT, DEC. 17
Louisville 24 Cincinnati 7

JIMMY KIMMEL LA BOWL (INGLEWOOD, Calif.) SAT, DEC. 17
Fresno State 29 Washington State 6

LENDING TREE BOWL (MOBILE, Ala.) SAT, DEC. 17
Southern Miss 38 Rice 24

NEW MEXICO BOWL (ALBUQUERQUE, N.Mex.) SAT, DEC. 17
BYU 24 SMU 23

FRISCO BOWL (FRISCO, Tex.) SAT, DEC. 17
Boise State 35 North Texas 32

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