Wyoming fans storm War Memorial Stadium after the Cowboys defeated Texas Tech 25-33 in double overtime.

After the appetizer in Week 0, a full slate of games were in place in the traditional Week 1 Labor Day weekend for the 2023 season.

In this first week that started Thursday night and games through Sunday afternoon involving Group of Five squads, the four big wins over Power Five conference teams were at least my highlight of the week.

Texas State and Fresno State took care of their two P5 squads in regulation, while Wyoming and Northern Illinois needed overtime to dispatch their so-called big brothers.

Texas State arguably had its biggest win of its FBS win in its history with the largest margin of victory in these four G5 wins over P5 teams with its 42-31 win over the Big 12’s Baylor. The Bobcats moved up to the FBS ranks in 2012 and this was actually their first ever P5 win since that time.

New head coach G. J. Kinne, who came from FCS Incarnate Word, which is located in near-by to San Marcos, San Antonio. Kinne pulled a similar move to Power Five Colorado with getting a number of newcomers in this new era of college football that essentially allows players to go anywhere and not have to sit out like previous rules. The Bobcats had the second-most newcomers in the country with 71. Colorado, which upset No. 17 TCU 45-42 earlier Saturday about 100 miles away, had more with 87. 

One of the Bobcat newcomers was QB TJ Finley, who threw for 298 yards with three touchdowns and ran for another score to lead to the road upset. Finley played one season at LSU and two at Auburn after being rated as the top ranked quarterback coming out of Louisiana in 2019. Finley appeared in 18 games (11 starts) during that time, throwing for 2,199 yards with 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He was named the Bobcats starter this week after a competition with Arkansas transfer Malik Hornsby.

The new-look Bobcat offense is looking much like the Incarnate Word offense of last year. IWU led the FCS in scoring 51.5 points per game and was second with 581.2 total yards.

In this first game for Coach Kinne, his team had 448 total yards and scored touchdowns on six of their next eight possessions after the initial drive was stopped. The Bobcats only trailed in this game following that first drive as Baylor opened the scoring with a field goal but Texas State maintained the lead after that following their second possession of the game.

See highlights of this game below:

Fresno State also was the other team to win in regulation. In a thrilling contest that produced 74 points, the defending Mountain West champions Bulldogs defeated the Big Ten’s Purdue on the road. The final score was 39-35 thanks to a go-ahead touchdown catch by senior receiver Erik Brooks.

This was Fresno State’s first win over a Big Ten team since 2010.

Led by UCF transfer quarterback Mikey Keene, the Bulldogs finished with – yards through the air. He was 31 of 44 passing with 4 touchdowns and one interception. Keene exited the game briefly at the end of the first half with an apparent injury, but returned to start the second half and played the remainder of the game.

Brooks was the main beneficiary of Keene’s play, with nine catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns.

The Bulldog defense also did their part, particularly in the second half. A goal line stand with eight minutes to go stood out as a key moment, even though the Purdue defense would pick off Keene and take the lead shortly thereafter.

The Fresno State defense then prevented Purdue from scoring on their final drive and forced a turnover on downs with 31 seconds remaining. The Fresno State defense also prevented Purdue from converting on nine of 12 third downs and on two of four fourth down attempts.

Fresno State have now won ten games in a row dating back to last season.

See highlights of this game below:

The other two P5 wins for the G5 required extra time to get their victories. First, Northern Illinois QB Rocky Lombardi crossed the goal line from one-yard out on a quarterback sneak in overtime to give the Northern Illinois a 27-24 “Boneyard” win over Boston College Saturday in the 2023 season opener for both teams.

Lombardi’s sneak gave NIU its second consecutive win over an Atlantic Coast Conference team as the Huskies defeated Georgia Tech, 22-21, in its 2021 season opener. Boneyard Wins are awarded every time NIU defeats a team from a larger conference; the tradition dates back to 1983. Saturday’s win is the 18th Boneyard Win and just the second to come in overtime.

After the NIU defense held Boston College to a 39-yard field goal in its overtime session as the Eagles were unable to gain a first down, Lombardi connected with fullback Brock Lampe, who made a one-handed grab for a 16-yard pickup to the nine-yard line. A Gavin Williams rush gained eight yards to the one, setting up Lombardi’s quick snap sneak.

Boston College tied the game with a pair of touchdowns in the last six minutes of the game to send the game into overtime. Trailing NIU 21-7, BC quarterback Thomas Castellanos led the Eagles on a 10-play, 59-yard drive to close the gap to 21-14. The key play on the drive was a fourth-and-five conversion from the BC 46-yard line that saw Castellanos chased all the way back to the 15-yard line before he escaped and found Lewis Bond for a conversion. Castellanos completed the drive, scoring on a two-yard run with 5:59 to play.

See highlights of this game below:

And the last win for the G5 in this opening week was another thriller with Wyoming defeating the Big 12’s Texas Tech with the lone G5 team to host and get a victory. The Cowboys QB Andrew Peasley completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to TE John Michael Gyllenborg on a fourth-and-7, and RB Sam Scott punched in the 2-point conversion as Wyoming stunned Texas Tech 35-33 in double-overtime at War Memorial Stadium in the season opener for both teams.

Texas Tech QB Tyler Shough, who finished with 338 yards passing and three touchdowns, had given the Red Raiders a 33-27 lead after finding Jerand Bradley for a 15-yard score, but the senior quarterback’s conversion pass failed.

Scott’s walk-off score sent the crowd of 26,450 pouring onto the field late Saturday following a game that was delayed for 78 minutes due to a lightning storm that moved through Laramie.

Peasley, who limped off the field at the end of regulation after absorbing a big hit, ran for a 5-yard touchdown on the first possession of overtime.

RB Tahj Brooks answered for Texas Tech with a 6-yard touchdown run on third-and-2 to force a second overtime.

The Red Raiders stormed out to a quick 17-0 lead with the help of fumbles by Wyoming RBs Jamari Ferrell and D.Q. James but the Cowboys would not be denied and tied the game at 17-17 in the third quarter. The Cowboys took the lead on a FG by John Hoyland but Texas Tech would answer in the final minute of regulation with a tying FG of their own to send the game to extra time.

See highlights of this game below:

Top 5 Games of the Week

For this section, I looked at what I felt were the top G5 vs. G5 contests of the first week.

1. Louisiana-Monroe 17 Army 14 (MONROE, La.)

2. Temple 24 Akron 21 (PHILADELPHIA, Pa.)

3. Liberty 34 Bowling Green 24 (LYNCHBURG, Va.)

4. Tulane 37 South Alabama 17 (NEW ORLEANS, La.)

5. SMU 38 Louisiana Tech 14 (DALLAS, Tex.)