Highlights: CSJ FBS Group of Five Top Five Games and Recap of Week 7

Georgia Southern fans and players celebrate at midfield after the Eagles defeated James Madison on Saturday. (Courtesy of AP)

And then there were none!

That is no Group of Five now after Week 7 remains undefeated. The two undefeated G5 teams coming into Week 7 were Coastal Carolina and James Madison, who both play in the Sun Belt Conference’s East Division.

Both teams had fellow East Division foes this week with JMU traveling to Georgia Southern, while Coastal Carolina hosted Old Dominion.

James Madison’s first week in the AP Top 25 ended with a painful reminder that even ranked teams must avoid turnovers.

Georgia Southern QB Kyle Vantrease threw four touchdown passes, including a 22-yarder to WR Derwin Burgess Jr. with 1:10 remaining, and Georgia Southern beat JMU 45-38 Saturday to spoil the Dukes’ first appearance in the AP Top 25 (was ranked #25).

JMU had four turnovers, including three interceptions by QB Todd Centeio. The Dukes also had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown to help lead the Eagles to the win over the former FCS power.

JMU led 14-0 early in the game and 24-14 early in the second half but the Dukes stout defense could not keep the Eagles down from the come-from-behind win.

Vantrease passed for a school-record 578 yards and had three receivers with more than 100 yards through the air.

Coastal Carolina had played some very tight games through is first five games of the season but the Chanticleers somehow found a way to win all those prior match-ups. But that was not the case this week with Old Dominion.

Facing one of the nation’s hottest football teams on its home field, ODU responded with its best and most complete game of the season and rolled to a runaway 49-21 victory in Conway.

After a tight game in the first half, the Monarchs erupted for 35 second half points to win this game on CCU’s homecoming night and a game nationally televised on ESPNU.

RB Blake Watson was ODU’s offensive star as he set the school record previously held by Thomas DeMarco by rushing for 256 yards on 18 carries. He also scored three touchdowns and his 14.2 yards per carry is also an ODU record for a game.

See highlights of these two games below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjiCM9cSiSE

Renewal of the Top G5 Contender?

The last two week’s Sagarin rankings had UCF ranked at the top spot amongst the Group of Five schools. The Knights look like a top contender to get to a New Year’s Six Bowl game–a place UCF had previously went after the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The 2018 team was the lone FBS school to be undefeated that season and the Knights proclaimed the national championship after defeating Auburn in the Peach Bowl.

The 2019 team also went undefeated in the regular season but fell to LSU in the Fiesta Bowl.

After those two seasons, the Knights took a slight dip as each of the last three seasons they finished with at least three losses yet still went to less marque bowl games each season.

The 2022 season though might be the return of the Knights to the top in what will be their last run in the Group of Five before heading to the Big 12 Conference next season.

UCF is coming off an easy home win over AAC conference foe Temple, 70-14 this past week. See highlights of this game below:

The Knights though will still have to contend with reigning AAC back-to-back champion Cincinnati at home in two weeks, as well as travel to another surprising contender in the AAC in Tulane on the road in mid-November.

UCF sits currently undefeated in the AAC and its lone loss was an out-of-conference game to the ACC’s Louisville in a game that the Knights had many chances in the end to win but fell short, 20-14.

But right now to me, this team looks like the most complete team amongst the G5 squads and with the two top AAC teams yet on the schedule, they very well could be going back to a New Year’s Six bowl game in their last dance.

TOP 5 GAMES

Here are my top five games in the G5 outside of what I showed above. East Carolina’s four overtime victory over Memphis at home had to be my top game this week but there were several others that went down to the wire this week before a winner came out despite many schools having bye weeks in Week 7.

Here are highlights of these games with game recaps in the hyperlink.

1. EAST CAROLINA 47 MEMPHIS 45 (4OT) (GREENVILLE, N.C.)

2. TROY 17 TEXAS STATE 14 (TROY, Ala.)

3. SOUTHERN MISS 20 ARKANSAS STATE 19 (HATTIESBURG, Miss.)

https://twitter.com/SouthernMissFB/status/1581466949959430144

4. FLORIDA ATLANTIC 17 RICE 14 (BOCA RATON, Fla.)

5. BALL STATE 25 UCONN 21 (MUNCIE, Ind.)