Highlights: CSJ FBS Group of Five Top Five Games and Recap of Week 7
October 18, 2020
Wow, what a game in Memphis even if both American Athletic Conference teams were coming off of losses coming into this game. This is not the first time these two teams have thrilled us.
In 2017, the American Athletic Conference was settled with a wild 62-55 UCF win in double overtime, after Memphis had erased a 48-34 fourth-quarter deficit and QB McKenzie Milton accounted for more than 550 yards and six touchdowns.
In 2018, they played twice. The first was a game in which UCF trailed 30-14 late in the third quarter but raced back to win 31-30. Then in that year’s AAC title game, UCF used a 21-point fourth quarter to win 56-41 too.
It sure looked like the Knights were well on their way to grabbing another victory this past week as UCF led 35-14 into the second half. But the tables turned this year as Memphis QB Brady White engineered a ridiculous comeback. He led the Tigers on a late drive to take a 50-49 lead with 1:08 to play. But that time was enough for UCF QB Dillon Gabriel to march the Knights downfield into field goal range.
This day, however, would be the Tigers day as UCF K Daniel Obarsk missed a last second field goal from39 yards out to give the victory to Memphis. It marks the first time UCF has lost consecutive games since November 2016 and the first time the Knights lost to the Tigers since 1990.
And that game was just the one of the wild finishes amongst the Group of Five this past week. Six other contests (amongst the total of 15 games this week) had games with a seven point or less margin of victory. See my Top 5 (and bonuses) below for highlights of these games.
Three teams had larger margins of victory than a single score of teams that came into this week undefeated. And one other had a very tight game to stay unblemished this week.
Liberty was a big headline winner as it won at the Power Five and Atlantic Coast Conference member Syracuse 38-21. The Flames improved to 5-0 and pushed their winning streak to seven games, their longest since a program-record 11-game winning streak spanning Oct. 20, 2007 through Oct. 11, 2008. The Flames, who had lost to Syracuse at home last year 24-0, used its running game to capture its first win over an ACC program in its history. Shedro Louis rushed for 170 yards on 10 carries, scoring touchdown runs of 75 and 52 yards. Peytton Pickett rushed 23 times for 115 yards and a score, giving Liberty two 100-yard rushers in a game for the first time since the season opener at Western Kentucky.
BYU rallied to also get to 5-0 on the season. The Cougars overcame a 26-14 third quarter deficit at Houston by scoring the game’s last 29 points to come away with 43-26 road victory over the other Cougars. The five straight wins to start the season is the best for a BYU since 2008 and the victory also handed Houston its first loss of the season. QB Zach Wilson continued his torrid start to the season in throwing his first career 400-yard game and threw for four scores.
SMU also stayed undefeated (5-0) but narrowly at Tulane. The Green Wave pushed the Mustangs to overtime following a 27-yard field goal by Merek Glover. SMU K Chris Naggar, who also kicked the game winning field goal against Memphis in the Mustangs last game, hit a 34-yard attempt in the first possession of overtime and Brandon Crossley intercepted Tulane QB Michael Pratt in Tulane’s first possession to end the game. The Mustangs ecked out the 34-31 road victory as a result.
Marshall also stayed undefeated with a road victory. The Thundering Herd improved to 4-0 with a relatively easy win at Louisiana Tech 35-17. Unlike Liberty and BYU, however, Marshall used its defense to win this game. The defense used a goal-line stance at the end of the first half to preserve a 14-3 halftime lead and it only allowed the Bulldogs seven yards rushing. The defense also only allowed one of ten third down conversions and picked up an interception as well. But its not to say the offense did its part though as QB Grant Wells threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns and RB Brenden Knox rushed for 125 and two scores as well.
I will admit that I did not see Coastal Carolina doing as well as they are doing. In fact, I predicted they would finish last in the Sun Belt East Division. But in my defense, I did not see redshirt freshman QB Grayson McCall winning the quarterback position even out of fall camp but after four games, I can now see why he is the Chanticleers signal caller and the biggest reason the team is undefeated so far this year.
This week, Coastal Carolina picked up its first ever win over an AP Top 25 ranked team and did it on the road against preseason Sun Belt West favorite Louisiana 30-27. K Massimo Biscardi made a 40-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in the game to give Coastal Carolina the win to push the Chanticleers to its best FBS start at 4-0.
But it was still the play of McCall even if this game’s statistics did not show it. He had McCall had two completions for first downs on the game’s final drive and finished with 202 yards passing to go with another 45 yards on the ground. He has 11 scoring passes in four games.
Let’s Hear for the Service Academies
Both Army and Navy picked up wins this week on the road.
Navy edged out East Carolina to stay perfect within the AAC standings (3-0) and 3-2 overall. The Midshipmen used its fullbacks Nelson Smith and Jamale Carothers to race out to a 27-13 led and let the Pirates score to get within a touchdown and a field goal but then was able to run out the clock at the end to preserve a 27-23 victory. The two fullbacks ran for 239 of 288 rushing yards for Navy.
Army had a close game into the fourth quarter at UTSA before QB Cade Ballard, who was making his first career start for the Black Knights, scored a touchdown to extend the Black Knights to a 28-16 lead. The Army defense then made a goal line stance with just over ten minutes to go and did not let the Roadrunners get within scoring range again to preserve the victory.
It was another week and college football saw a number of postponements. Georgia Southern was to have played Appalachian State this week but due to the Mountaineers COVID-19 positive cases, that game was actually postponed already last week. Instead Georgia Southern scheduled a game in what was independent Massachusetts first game of the season. Georgia Southern won easily 41-0.
Here is a list of the other games in all of college football that were postponed and when the game is scheduled to be made up.
Appalachian State at Georgia Southern
Oklahoma State at Baylor
Vanderbilt at Missouri
LSU at Florida
Cincinnati at Tulsa
FIU at Charlotte
Southern Miss at UTEP
Top 5 Games of the Week
Below are my top five Group of Five games (with a couple bonuses) of the week with highlights and a full recap of the game in the hyperlink.
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 in the western half of the United States– the Big Sky Conference and 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.
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 in the western half of the United States-- the Big Sky Conference and 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.