Last weekend, a career NCAA record was tied and a second team from a Group of 5 conference climbed into the AP Top 25. Meanwhile, two teams with completely different histories have emerged as division leaders in their conferences.
Thundering Herd Steam Roll Blue Raiders, Crack AP Top 25 – As expected, the Marshall Thundering Herd rolled once again, defeating the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders 49-24. There’s not much to be said about the Thundering Herd that hasn’t been said before, but they improved to 6-0 on Saturday once again looking and finally cracked the AP Top 25 this week. The Thundering Herd haven’t shown any signs of a team that doesn’t belong in a Big Six bowl, despite a weak strength of schedule. This Saturday, the Thundering Herd will face off against the Florida International Panthers, but all eyes should be on Senior QB Rakeem Cato who will be aiming to set a new NCAA record by throwing a TD pass in his 39th straight game, breaking Russell Wilson’s record.
Pirates win, despite struggles – The East Carolina Pirates kept their dreams of making a Big Six bowl game intact over the weekend with a 28-17 win at South Florida. It wasn’t an easy win for the Pirates, as they trailed 14-17 entering the fourth quarter, but a strong rushing attack helped the Pirates squeak by the Bulls. Senior QB Shane Carden threw for a season low 250 yards along with just 1 TD, but the 231 yards combined on the ground made up for a sub-par performance by the star QB. The Pirates moved to 5-1 on the season, while improving to 2-0 in conference play, and moved up to 18th in the AP poll. This is significant because the highest-ranked conference champion from a Group of 5 school will get a bid to one of the Big Six bowl games.
Could Owls foil Pirates plans? – Don’t look now, but the Temple Owls are a very surprising 4-1 after going 2-10 last year. The Owls have been one of the most impressive teams of the 2014 season, and they boast one of the best defenses in the nation allowing just 14.4 PPG, ranking fourth in the nation. This may not mean much at the moment as the Owls are just 2-0 in conference play, with wins over UCONN and Tulsa, but if the Owls continue their domination on defense, the November 1 game against East Carolina could be a thorn in any plans ECU has of making a Big Six bowl.
Georgia Southern continues to soar – The only thing that needs to be said about the Georgia Southern Eagles 2014 football team is “wow”. In the Eagles first season as a FBS team, the Eagles have soared to a 5-2 record, with their only losses coming by one point to ACC opponent North Carolina State, and by four to Georgia Tech, a 5-1 team that just lost for the first time this season. On offense, the Eagles have had no problem with their transition as they rank first in the nation in rushing with 322 YPG, while averaging 41.3 PPG. The Eagles are 4-0 in conference play, and could be on their way to a Sun Belt championship. Also, let’s not forget this Georgia Southern team went into Florida last year and pulled off a 26-20 upset win.