It’s time to hit the road again after an eventful week one trip through the Group of Five. Last week, we saw Coastal Carolina capture its first win as an FBS team against UMASS, 38-28. Running back Osharmar Abercrombie carried the Chanticleers to victory behind his 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
On the other side of the country, Boise State stifled the Troy offense on its way to a 24-13 victory. Quarterback Montell Cozart received nearly half the snaps for the Broncos and turned in an efficient outing with 50 passing yards and 36 rushing yards.
At Northern Illinois, the Huskies represented the only loss we saw when they fell to Boston College 23-20. NIU’s field goal attempt banged off the goal post is the waning seconds of the game to allow the Eagles to escape Dekalb.
Finally, we saw Marshall defeat rival Miami (Ohio) in a game that came down to the wire. For a full recap of that game, click here.
We gave the American Conference a bye week to start the season so this will be our first stop in the G5’s top conference. We’re going north to the City of Brotherly Love to see Temple square off with cross-town foe Villanova for the Mayor’s Cup.
The two schools are just 15 miles apart and have seen each other 32 times on the football field. Somewhat surprisingly, the series is tied 15-15-2. Villanova dominated the series in the early 1900’s while Temple is 10-5 since 1970. The Owls have won three in a row, following the Wildcats winning three in a row, but have not played Villanova since 2012.
Temple was dismantled by Notre Dame last week, 41-16, after falling behind 28-3 quickly. Nevertheless, new coach Geoff Collins should rebound against the Wildcats. The Temple defense will be much improved and should be on the conference’s best units by the end of the season.
Villanova is one of the top programs in the Colonial Athletic Conference and shouldn’t be overlooked by Temple. This game will be one of the more underrated games of the week.
From West Virginia on down to Louisiana, we stop in Ruston to catch the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs host the SEC Bulldogs of Mississippi State.
La Tech is 3-9 against Mississippi State but did beat them the last time the Dogs ventured into Ruston back in 2008. The Derek Dooley led Tech Bulldogs came out on top 22-14.
Louisiana Tech has been more than competitive against Power Five competition under Lou Holtz. Last season the Bulldogs came just one point shy of upsetting Arkansas and hung around in a shootout with Texas Tech. Mississippi State knows what Tech is capable of and should come prepared.
We could be in store for a shootout between two highly potent offenses. Tech is led by J’Mar Smith at quarterback, who is also a part of a three-headed rushing attacked with Jarred Craft and Boston Scott. The Bulldogs dropped 52 on Northwestern State last week, but will need the defense to step up this weekend.
Into the desert we go to Albuquerque, New Mexico where the New Mexico Lobos will face the New Mexico State Aggies. These two schools have been battling it out across numerous sports in the Rio Grande Rivalry since 1894. To put that into perspective, the state of New Mexico did not become a state until 1912. At which point, the series was tied at three games apiece.
The Lobos own a dominant 70-32-5 edge over the Aggies but dropped the last contest in 2016, 32-31. New Mexico State could be at the beginning of a break out year and a win against its bitter rival could be a catalyst.
New Mexico was solid in a week one 38-14 win against Abilene Christian. However, the offense was somewhat stagnant early on. The Lobos only led 14-7 at halftime. They ran the ball with seven different players and had success, finding 259 yards on six yards per carry. Most of these yards came in the second half, though.
The Lobos will need to come out like it did in the second half against Abilene Christian if they want to beat the Aggies. New Mexico State amassed 549 yards last week in a close battle with Arizona State. This has the makings of being another fun one in the Land of Enchantment.
Our last game of the week will be a trip into Mobile, Alabama where the South Alabama Jaguars will be hosting the Oklahoma State Cowboys. South took down Mississippi State last season and will look to spoil the Cowboys visit to Ladd-Peebles Stadium this year.
The Jags offense played well against Ole Miss last week but the Rebels ran away with the ballgame in the second half. First year starter Cole Garvin was efficient for Joey Jones’ squad, completing 61.3 percent of his passes for just over 200 yards. Running back Tra Minter was a nice surprise for Jags fans as he amassed 83 yards on the ground on just 12 carries.
Oklahoma State brings an offense to Lower Alabama that score with the best of them. The Cowboys should do as the Rebels did last week and pull away with an explosive pass attack. Nevertheless, expect this to be one of the more highly attended games in Mobile this season. The last time a P5 team came through, over 38,000 people were there to see it, which was a record crowd.