Entering Week 9 this past Saturday, there were four unbeaten Group of Five teams. Three days later as Week 10 officially kicked off, that number has been sliced in half.
Trailing by one at halftime and without their starting quarterback and a starting wide receiver for the entire second half, Northern Illinois outscored previously-unbeaten Toledo 16-10 over the last two quarters to hand the homestanding Rockets a 32-27 win. The Tuesday night affair was the Huskies’ sixth consecutive win over the Rockets.
A field goal early in the fourth quarter stretched UT’s lead to a game-high eight at 27-19. However, two NIU touchdowns over the last 9:27, the last coming with 1:59 remained, nearly sealed the Rockets’ first blemish of the year. UT had a chance to take the lead in the last two minutes, but a Phillip Ely interception on the ensuing drive officially sealed the loss.
Not only did UT suffer its first loss mere hours after appearing at No. 24 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, but they handed control of the MAC West over to Western Michigan. The Broncos are the only unbeaten team in the division at 4-0, while the Rockets (4-1), Central Michigan (4-1) and NIU (4-1) have one loss each. Those four teams will play each other a handful of times over the next four weeks, so that division will likely remain muddled until the end.
With Toledo’s loss to NIU tonight and Temple’s loss to Notre Dame Saturday, there are now two unbeaten G5 teams: Memphis and Houston. The Tigers came in at No. 13 in the initial CFP rankings, the Cougars No. 25. Despite the loss to the Irish, the Owls cracked those rankings at No. 22. Toledo likely won’t be that lucky as they will undoubtedly tumble out of the Top 25 when they are released next Tuesday.