Welcome to this week’s Gee, Five Thoughts. Who is ready for midweek CUSA action??
Thursday has two CUSA games and an AAC barnburner between Temple and Tulsa. But before we get to those games, let’s take a look at the week that was in the world of the Group of 5.
Best Game You Probably Didn’t See – Louisiana 45, Buffalo 38
If this fell through the cracks amidst the Notre Dame-Ohio St. game, the White-Out Bloodbath and whatever else was actually televised, I don’t blame you. I feel bad for you, but I get it.
Buffalo has really been struggling this year, off to an 0-4 start and giving up no less than 38 points in every game. They took on a Louisiana team that had struggled to find consistency but made a change at quarterback following an underwhelming loss to Old Dominion a couple weeks ago. If you saw the first half of this game, which saw the Ragin Cajuns take a 10-0 lead into the break, you would have thought nothing worthwhile had happened.
Then Zeon Chriss did Zeon Chriss things (I hope).
Louisiana got out to a 31-7 lead about 10 minutes after the break thanks to a borderline dominant rushing attack. Chriss rushed for two scores as did running back Jacob Kibodi, each one ripping off a run of over 50 yards. Buffalo did make it close enough to be able to attempt an onside kick but it was too little, too late.
This game is clearly more about Louisiana. The Sun Belt West is largely considered South Alabama and Troy at the top and a bunch of up-and-comers, but Louisiana was dominating this division not that long ago. If Chriss provides the answer at quarterback, then this team can definitely be a threat to the top of the division once again.
Most Pleasant Surprise – Colorado St. got into the win column
The Rams kinda got thrown to a couple of wolves (nature joke) in the early season. Week One they took on a Washington St. team that appears on a mission to prove they belong in a conference – any conference. Then Week 3 they were “the other team” in a showcase for Colorado. It was probably nice for them to be able to take on someone who didn’t have some sort of vendetta against the college football world.
Saturday they travelled to Middle Tennessee St. to take on a Blue Raider team that was on the same level as the Rams. Nothing against MTSU, but Colorado St. had a rough go of it this September, so to follow up that emotional loss to the Buffs with a win was nice to see. They needed some good vibes going into a Mountain West schedule that will definitely challenge them. This Saturday they get a much deserved home game against Utah Tech before we see what the Rams are really made of.
Biggest Disappointment – Southern Miss
Let’s me start by saying nice things about Arkansas St.
Putting freshman quarterback Jaylen Raynor in as starter injected the offense with a level of energy that was sorely needed. He was making plays with his arm (passing for 233 yards on just 11 completions) and his legs (rushing for 97 yards and 2 scores). There is definitely something fun there for a program that desperately needed it.
But having said that, what the hell Southern Miss?
There are some serious problems here. The traditionally Nasty Bunch defense gave up a ton of big plays. On top of that, it may be time for a quarterback change of their own. Billy Wiles is just not taking this offense where it needs to go. Frank Gore and Rodrigues Clark combined for over 200 yards on the ground and two scores, so the rushing attack is doing its part. But with a schedule that was considered one of the toughest in all of college football, the Golden Eagles are in danger of things going south quickly.
Biggest Overreaction – Air Force has a chance to go undefeated.
I have actually mentioned this a couple times in my G5 Top 25 column on Sundays, but this team really has a chance to run the table this year.
The San Jose St. game Friday night looked dicey for the first half, as the Spartans got out to a 20-17 halftime lead. But the script completely flipped in the second half, as the Falcon defense absolutely shut down Chevan Cordeiro and the SJSU offense. On top of that, the triple option looked every bit as dominant as they always have. Emmanuel Michel and John Lee Eldridge each ran for 100+ yards and quarterback Zac Larrier didn’t make any mistakes. This team has a lot more speed than you might think of with the Falcon offense, and there are run defenses that could shut them down, and the Commander-in-Chief games against Army and Navy are always tough, but there is no Fresno St. and those previously tough run defenses (namely San Diego St. and Wyoming) come to Colorado Springs. They end the season at Boise St., which won’t be easy. But I’m saying there is a chance.
Game of the Week – Boise St. at Memphis
Speaking of Boise St., their brutal non-conference slate wraps up this week with a game at 3-1 Memphis. Quite frankly, this is a game that both teams really need. The Broncos do have a conference win over SDSU under their belt, but currently sit at 2-2 overall. This game is important to them for reputation more than anything else. All 3 losses would be to non-con opponents that they have made their name by beating in the past. To lose to the Memphis’s and UCF’s of the world (Washington is a wagon, let’s leave them out of this discussion) may suggest the Boise St. name is not as daunting as it used to be.
On the other hand, we have a Memphis team sitting at 3-1 with a narrow loss to Missouri their only blemish. They may not be looking at this game from a big pictures perspective as much as an opportunity to establish themselves as one of the top teams in the G5 and get some confidence heading into a bye week that sees a home game against Tulane on the other side of it.
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