We came into Week 5 with two Group of Five teams undefeated and those two squads were able to win this week to keep the two unscathed teams. Those two schools are both from the Sun Belt East Division in Coastal Carolina and FBS newcomer James Madison.
James Madison had the easier time this week as the Dukes’ RB Latrele Palmer ran for three touchdowns to help in a 40-13 victory over Texas State–the first Sun Belt home game for the Dukes.
Palmer had 27 carries for 106 yards and the Dukes (4-0, 2-0 Sun Belt Conference) got 257 passing yards from Todd Centeio. Their leading receiver was Kris Thornton with 97 yards on four receptions.
James Madison held the Bobcats to 246 yards, 11 first downs and 2-of-12 third-down efficiency. In contrast, the JMU offense had 460 yards, 22 first downs and was 6 of 13 on third down.
The other undefeated team in Coastal Carolina had to fight to the end to pickup its home Sun Belt win. RB CJ Beasley ran 24 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in the final minute, leaping over a defender on the way to the end zone, and Coastal Carolina defeated Georgia Southern 34-30. The game saw three lead changes in the final six minutes.
Beasley’s run capped a 485-yard offensive performance by the Chanticleers that was highlighted by QB Grayson McCall’s four touchdowns — three passing and one on the ground.
See highlights of these two games below:
Hurricane Ian Interruptions
Hurricane Ian was one of the biggest hurricanes to fit the west coast of Florida and it moved later to hit the Carolinas. It caused several disruptions of scheduling this week in the Group of Five.
The game above at Coastal Carolina was played but moved to a night game after being moved back. The game was originally scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday has been moved to a 7 p.m. ET kickoff.
After initially rescheduling their Week 5 game back from Saturday to Sunday, UCF and SMU will now play technically next week on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. ET. The moves makes sense given both programs are scheduled to have a bye in Week 6.
East Carolina at USF was originally scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The game saw a site location change to Boca Raton at Howard Schnellenberger Field, the home stadium of FAU, who is not in town for its Week 5 game as the Owls played at North Texas in Denton, Texas. The game kickoff was at 2 p.m. East Carolina won this game easily 48-28 and see highlights of this game below:
Cincinnati Keeps Going
The Bearcats QB Ben Bryant threw two touchdown passes, Cincinnati added two other scores on fourth down and the two-time defending AAC champion Bearcats opened league play with a 31-21 victory at Tulsa.
Bryant’s 61-yard pass to a wide-open WR Tyler Scott gave Cincinnati (4-1, 1-0) a 14-7 lead in the final minute of the first quarter and the Bearcats led the rest of the way in winning their fourth straight after starting the season with a loss at the SEC’s Arkansas.
See highlights of this first AAC contest for the Bearcats:
Tulane has to be the biggest surprise so far in the AAC. The Green Wave finished with just two wins overall last year but I had a good feeling as I selected them to finish fifth in the league in my preseason rankings.
That ranking might not be high enough as Tulane has already has doubled their win total from last year. The Green Wave already have a non-conference win over the Big 12’s Kansas State but possibly their biggest win to date came this past Friday at Houston after the Green Wave were defeated at home by Southern Miss last week.
Third-string QB Kai Horton tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to WR Tyjae Spears in overtime to give Tulane a 27-24 victory over Houston in their AAC opener.
Bubba Baxa kicked a 36-yard field goal for Houston (2-3, 0-1) in the opening possession of overtime.
Horton forced overtime after leading a 75-yard, 11-play drive capped by his 3-yard touchdown shuffle pass to Tyrick James that tied the game 21-21 with 39 seconds remaining.
Horton, who entered having thrown just one pass this season, took over for Justin Ibieta after Tulane’s first series of offense. Horton completed 11 of 21 passes for 132 yards that included a 13-yard TD pass to Duece Watts early in the second quarter.
Spears finished with six catches for 85 yards and added 54 yards rushing on 14 carries.
Houston was playing in their third overtime game already and are now just 1-2 on the season on a team that had AAC championship aspirations.
See highlights of this game below:
TOP 5 GAMES
Here are my top five games outside of what I showed above. There were three overtime G5 games (including the Tulane-Houston game listed above). The other two had to be my Top 2 this week and the other two were games that went down to the wire.
Here are highlights of these games with game recaps in the hyperlink.
1. BALL STATE 44 NORTHERN ILLINOIS 38 (2OT) (MUNCIE, Ind.)
2. KENT STATE 31 OHIO 25 (OT) (KENT, Ohio)
3. AIR FORCE 13 NAVY 10 (AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo.)
4. CONNECTICUT 19 FRESNO STATE 14 (EAST HARTFORD, Conn.)
5. SOUTH ALABAMA 20 LOUISIANA 17 (LAFAYETTE, La.)
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.
Reach him at this email or click below: