Just three weeks into the college football season, only three teams from Group-of-5 conferences remain undefeated. All will be in action this weekend, and each and every game is a “must-win” if these teams are to have a chance at making it into the College Football Playoff, or playing in a New Year’s Day/Eve bowl game.
Huskies continue winning ways – With a great quarterback tradition, the Northern Illinois Huskies may have found their QB of the future Saturday in a 48-34 win over the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. Sophomore QB Drew Hare got his first start of his career, and threw for 285 yards and 3 TDs, adding 74 yards on the ground with another score. The Huskies also got RB Cameron Stingily back from injury after he missed the first two games of the year. They didn’t know it, but they missed him — he ran for 102 yards and 2 TDs and should start the remainder of the season. This weekend, the Huskies travel to Arkansas to take on the Razorbacks in Little Rock. Arkansas ranks third in the nation, with 362 rushing yards-per-game, and is coming off a dominant win at Texas Tech. This will be the Huskies toughest game of the season, a victory in the Natural State would be huge for NIU.
Thundering Herd continues domination – The Marshall Thundering Herd continued to dominate last Saturday, defeating the rival Ohio Bobcats 44-14. Senior QB Rakeem Cato has continued to show why he is considered one of the best players of the nation. After just three games, he has thrown for 953 yards and 9 TDs and added 152 yards and two more TDs on the ground. So far this year, the Herd ranks in the top 20 nationally on both offense and defense, scoring 44.7 PPG and allowing just 16 PPG in their three victories. The Herd travels to Akron Saturday.
Bearcats open season with statement – Friday night, the Cincinnati Bearcats finally opened up their 2014 season, winning 58-34 over Toledo. The Bearcats showed signs of a team that has all the makeup to win a 2014 AAC Championship and be a candidate for a Big Six bowl. A big reason may be the play of QB Gunner Kiel. The Notre Dame transfer threw for six TDs Friday night on 418 yards of passing in his debut for the Bearcats. The Bearcats host Miami (Ohio) this Saturday before travelling to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Next week I’ll review this weekend’s game, and discuss other candidates for the Group of 5 slot in the College Football Playoff.