TAKEAWAYS | Group of 5 teams feeling the power of 5

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Everyone knows turnovers are better as pastries and takeaways are better in football.

ASN’s Doug Chapman, Marshall Hall of Famer, serves up his three takeaways from the college football weekend (above).

Here’s our top 4:

1OVERPOWERED 5

It might be time to stop referencing the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC as the “Power 5” when some of their members continue to be overpowered by Group of 5 teams.

Case in point: Western Michigan.

The Broncos throttled Illinois 34-10 on Saturday, their largest win against a Big Ten opponent. They also improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1994 with their second road victory against a Big Ten opponent. The Broncos beat Northwestern, 22-21, in their season opener.

Meanwhile, three American Athletic Conference teams scored wins against Power 5 teams:

  • UConn beat the ACC’s Virginia, 13-10; USF scored 28 unanswered points to rout the ACC’s Syracuse, 45-20; and Memphis blasted the Big 12’s Kansas, 43-7. Kansas is 0-2 against the Group of 5 this season.
  • Virginia, meanwhile, lost to FCS Richmond in the season-opener. But a bigger FCS upset was the Big Ten’s Iowa losing on Saturday to North Dakota State, the five-time defending FCS champions.

That partly explains why more wasn’t made of Western Michigan’s impressive win.

It was the first time WMU beat two Big Ten teams in the same season — only the fourth time that’s been done by a MAC team. But it’s also the second year in a row a MAC team pulled it off. Bowling Green beat Maryland, 48-27, and Purdue, 35-28, in 2015 — both on the road.

WMU head coach coach P.J. Fleck said his team was never overwhelmed by facing another Big Ten team.

“They never flinched; they weren’t going to be intimidated,” he said. “It’s no bigger or less than any other win.”

Take that, Power 5.

2HIGH FIVES

Speaking of the Group of 5, here’s an intriguing thought: Houston vs. Louisville in the national championship game. AAC vs. ACC. Group of 5 vs. Power 5.

Fun to consider, but it will never happen. They meet in Week 12 – Nov. 17 – with the loser certainly eliminated from College Football Playoff consideration.

For now, the Cougars remain No. 1 in our G-5 Top 5 (Western Michigan just missed the cut):

  1. Houston
  2. San Diego State
  3. Boise State
  4. Central Michigan
  5. USF

» Five schools from the ASN family are in the top eight of the latest STATS FCS Poll — No. 2 Sam Houston State, No. 3 Jacksonville State, No. 5 Chattanooga, No. 7 Richmond, No. 8 William & Mary. The Citadel is 10th and Stony Brook, which upset previously No. 2-ranked Richmond, moved into the Top 25 at No. 20.

3

BATTLE OF NORTH DAKOTA: FOOTBALL VS. HOCKEY

North Dakota State’s upset victory at Iowa on Saturday got us thinking about the state’s sports accomplishments this year.

The Bison, five-time defending FCS champions, beat a Big Ten opponent on the road. Meanwhile, North Dakota’s hockey team won the national championship, its first  since 2000 and eighth overall.

So we put it to you, North Dakota:

Which is bigger?

  • North Dakota State's football upset of Iowa (60%, 3 Votes)
  • North Dakota's hockey national championship (40%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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4

FOUR THE RECORD

Meet Middle Tennessee tailback I’Tavius Mathers, the weekend’s breakout player.

He became the second Blue Raiders player to gain both 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game. He’s the first FBS player this season to reach the 100-100 milestone.

“It took me a while to get going,” he said.

A while indeed.

He sat out last season after transferring from Mississippi. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native returned to his hometown after three years at Ole Miss.

In his first two games this season, Mathers gained 129 yards on 20 carries, an impressive 6.5-yard average.

But he really got going Saturday at Bowling Green, bursting for 157 yards rushing on 27 carries, include a 53-yard touchdown. He also had 103 yards receiving on four catches, including a 78-yard touchdown.

On the season, Mathers has 284 yards rushing, 186 yards receiving and 5 TDs.

The Conference USA offensive Player of the Week also earned an ASN FBS #GameChanger nomination.

“Good things come to those who believe,” reads his Twitter profile, “Better things come to those who are patient and the best things come to those who don’t give up.”


Above: Western Michigan celebrates a 34-10 victory Saturday at Illinois. (Courtesy Western Michigan Athletics/GS Photo)
Middle: Middle Tennessee’s I’Tavius Mathers had 100 yards rushing and receiving Saturday at Bowling Green. (Courtesy Brent Beerends, MT Athletic Communications)

Mike Bambach

Mike Bambach is senior web producer for ASN.