Category: Northern Illinois Huskies

Group of Five Update: Boise State pushes way back into the mix

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Welcome Boise State back into the Group of Five conversation. The Broncos picked up their second win of the season against a power conference opponent, even if it was against Virginia. The Broncos went on the road without their starting quarterback and they absolutely hammered Virginia. It was just the kind of win Boise State needed to remind people the Broncos still belong in the New Years Six discussions among Group of Five conference contenders.

The highest-ranked Group of Five champion as determined by the College Football Playoff selection committee’s rankings will receive a seat at the adult table in the New Years Six bowl line-up. Boise State grabbed that spot last season, but the Broncos are already playing catch-up in this year’s race due to a loss to BYU and the overall strength of the Mountain West Conference coming into question based on the on-field results this fall. If Boise State’s offense is going to tick the way it did against Virginia the rest of the way, then watch out for the Broncos. They have the brand image helping them out as well compared to other contenders.

Toledo still has some weight of its own with a road win at Arkansas to brag about, along with a win against Iowa State. Those wins are starting to drop in value though, especially the Arkansas game after the Razorbacks just dropped their third straight game. Maybe Toledo ruined Arkansas’ season. But the Rockets still must get out of the MAC to maintain their standing, and that means getting by Bowling Green and Northern Illinois at some point. The Huskies have fallen in the race with two losses but are still looking to be a solid threat in conference play. Bowling Green also has a pair of power conference victories and should be a tough team to beat in the MAC.

The American Athletic Conference saw all of its top teams remain undefeated this week. Memphis continued to show off its offensive skill in a wild win over Cincinnati, dropping the preseason AAC favorites to 0-2 in conference play and all but seemingly eliminated them from New Years Six consideration. Navy scored a road win at UConn and Houston blew away Texas State. Temple was off this week. The AAC also scored a win over the ACC with East Carolina edging Virginia Tech, but the conference also saw UCF drop to 0-4 at South Carolina and SMU upset at home against James Madison.

Here’s how I think the College Football Playoff selection committee might rank the top Group of Five teams at this point in the season.

  1. Toledo (3-0; two wins vs. Power 5 conferences)
  2. Memphis (4-0; looking like the team to beat in the American)
  3. Temple (3-0; Beat Penn State and Cincinnati, hoping to be undefeated when they face Notre Dame on Halloween)
  4. Boise State (3-1; Two wins vs. Power 5 conferences, but MWC holding them back)
  5. Navy (3-0; Mids are rolling with Keenan Reynolds and sound defense, big home game with Air Force this week before going to Notre Dame)

Teams on the radar: Houston, Bowling Green, Air Force

Houston’s biggest win of the season is still the week 2 upset at Louisville. If the Cougars get out of Tulsa with a win to fo 4-0, Houston could be lining up an undefeated regular season. The biggest games will come much later in the season with both Memphis and Navy at home.

Bowling Green has won two games against Big Ten opponents and they have the t-shirts to prove it. But those wins came against Purdue and Maryland. The Falcons have lost twice though, which means they could be chasing a couple of teams and need some help outside of the MAC.

Air Force is 2-1 and has a big game at Navy this weekend. The Falcons suffered a loss at Michigan State in week 3, their only opportunity against a power conference opponent. The strength of the Mountain West holds Air Force back for now, but a 10-2 Air Force team with a Mountain West championship would be a very intriguing Group of Five candidate for the selection committee to consider.

Looking Ahead Game of the Week

Navy (3-0, 2-0 AAC) vs. Air Force (2-1, 1-0 MWC); October 3, 3:30 p.m. ET

Not only is the first part of the Commander-in-Chief series underway between these two service academies, but positioning in the Group of Five race will be on the line. A win for Navy would move the Midshipmen to 4-0 and knock the Mountain West down another rung while boosting the American’s standing. With the margin for error already reduced for Air Force with one loss and a struggling MWC, a win may be critical for Air Force to keep much hope of playing in a New Years Six bowl alive.

Week 4, Statistically Speaking

stats word on a lptop computer
Associated Press

A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

.900 — Career winning percentage (27-3) of Michigan State’s Connor Cook, the best of any active FBS quarterback.  Next in line are Stanford’s Kevin Hogan at .750 (27-9) and Wisconsin’s Joel Stave at .750 (24-8).

5 — Field goals in the first two quarters for Nebraska’s Drew Brown, tying the NCAA record for a half last set by Nebraska’s Dale Klein (1985 at Missouri) and New Mexico State’s Dat Ly (1988 at Kansas). He also tied the record for most field goals in a quarter with four set previously by five players, the last of which was Oregon State’s Jose Cortez in 1998.  Brown failed to connect on a field goal in the second half.

6 — FBS teams that have won 10 or more games in a season since 2000: Boise State and Oklahoma (12); Ohio State (11); Oregon, TCU and Virginia Tech (10).

8 — Number of Power Five programs that have won at least 100 games since the start of the 2005 season: Ohio State (114), Alabama (110), Oregon (108), LSU (106), Oklahoma (104), TCU (104), USC (102) and Wisconsin (101).

at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.13 — Shutouts for Alabama since 2010, nearly double of the next-best total of seven by both Florida and Ohio State.  Stanford is just behind those two with six.

13 — Graduate students on Virginia’s roster, the most of any FBS team.  Right behind UVa. is South Carolina with 11, followed by Illinois, Louisiana-Monroe, Missouri and USC with 10 apiece.

13 — Games in which Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds has scored three or more rushing touchdowns, the most of any player in NCAA history.

13.1 — Yards per carry UT-San Antonio’s Jarveon Williams averaged in gaining 170 yards on Colorado State.  The junior came into the game averaging 4.2 ypc this season, and had averaged more than five yards a carry in just three of the 22 games in which he had played previously.

16 — Games scoring 60 points or more since 2009 for Baylor, the most of any FBS team.  Oregon is next with 12.

19 — Consecutive games in which Baylor and Michigan State have scored three-plus touchdowns in a game, the longest streak in the country.  Nebraska has pulled that trick in 18 straight.

31 — The number of first downs for Tulsa has earned in each of its three games this season.

LSU v Syracuse50 — Consecutive non-conference wins for LSU, extending the all-time best streak with a win on the road at Syracuse. LSU hasn’t lost a non-conference regular season game since a 26-8 defeat at Virginia Tech to open the 2002 season.

64 — Percentage of the TCU student body that’s female, a statistic that is likely mentioned prominently on the recruiting trail.

134 — Points SMU has scored through four games this season, after scoring 133 points in 12 games last season.

148 — Wins for Oregon this century, easily the most of any school in the Pac-12.  The next closest is USC with 122, although the Trojans’ number would climb to 146 if vacated wins were counted.

163 — Consecutive made extra points for Florida State’s Robert Aguayo, by far the longest streak in the nation.  Next closest is Duke’s Ross Martin, who has made 124 straight, while Middle Tennessee State’s Cody Clark has connected on 115 in a row.

173 — Passing yards combined for Boston College (92) and Northern Illinois (81) in BC’s 17-14 win.  A total of 19 quarterbacks threw for more than that combined total in one half in Week 4.

184 — Rushing yards for Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, setting a single-game school record for a quarterback.

193 — Points Ole Miss scored in 12 games in 2011, the year prior to Hugh Freeze‘s arrival in Oxford.  In four games this season, the Rebels have scored a total of 219 points.

267 — Receiving yards for TCU’s Josh DoctsonTCU v Texas Tech, breaking the school’s single-game record of 226 by Jimmy Young in 2008.

300 — Rushing yards on 42 carries for San Jose State’s Tyler Evans against Fresno State, the most for any player in the FBS this season.  His previous career high was 146 set last season.

316 — Combined receiving yards for Middle Tennessee State’s Ed’Marques Batties and Richie James; their Blue Raider teammates combined for a total of 14 yards.

350 — Players from the SEC on NFL rosters, the most of any Power Five conference.  Behind that league are the ACC (269), Big Ten (248), Pac-12 (246) and Big 12 (151).

447 — Yards passing for Southern Miss’ Nick Mullens in the loss to Nebraska, the second time he’s gone over the 400-yard mark in his career.  Not surprisingly, both of those games were losses for the Golden Eagles.

457 — Rushing yards for Notre Dame in a 62-27 win over UMass.  The Irish averaged nine yards on its 51 carries, with C.J. Prosise going over 100 yards (149) for the third straight game.

457 — Passing yards for Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty vs. Miami of Ohio, his third straight game of 400-plus yards and fifth time in the last six he’s gone over that mark.

TCU v Texas Tech485 — Career-high passing yards for Trevone Boykin in TCU’s wild win over Texas Tech.

517 — Yards rushing for UNLV in an 80-8 win over FCS Idaho State.  That romp snapped a nine-game losing streak.

620 — Team passing yards for Cincinnati in its Thursday night loss to Memphis.  While it’s an impressive total, it’s far off the single-game record of 771 yards put up by Houston in a 1989 game vs. SMU.

1956 — The last time Texas was 1-3 to start a season prior to this year.  It’s also the first time in program history the Longhorns have lost three games before the end of September.

1956 — The last time prior to facing No. 23 Northwestern and No. 20 Georgia Tech the last two weeks that Duke had played consecutive home games against ranked teams the same season.

1961 — The last time Memphis started a season 4-0 prior to this year.

1974 — Last five-game road winning streak for North Carolina State prior to the current one, tied for longest in school history.  The Wolfpack also won five straight away from home in 1962-63.

1977 — Last meeting with a Mountain West school for Penn State prior to its game against San Diego State.

2004 — Before this year, the last season UCF started a season 0-4, when the Knights finished 0-11 in George O’Leary‘s first season.

2008 — Last season Colorado had a three-game winning streak prior to their run to start the 2015 season.  The Buffaloes last won four straight in the same season in 2002 when they peeled off five in a row.

7,220 — Feet above sea level the University of Wyoming sits in Laramie, the highest elevation of any FBS program.

425,000 — Dollars FCS James Madison for beating SMU Saturday.

25,989,854 – Number of fans who have watched Nebraska play football during its record streak of 344 straight sellouts at Memorial Stadium, which began back on Nov. 3, 1962.

Week 3, Statistically Speaking

stats word on a lptop computer
Associated Press

A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

.960 — Completion percentage for Georgia’s Grayson Lambert (24-25) in the blowout win over South Carolina, setting an FBS single-game record for a minimum of 20 attempts. The record of 95.8 percent was previously held by Tennessee’s Tee Martin (1998) and West Virginia’s Geno Smith (2012).

.977 — Percentage of kicks (field goals and extra points) made by Florida State’s Robert Aguayo, the highest of any FBS kicker ever.  The most accurate kicker in the history of college football has been successful on 51-56 field goals and all 163 extra point attempts.

2 — Home losses for Boise State since 2010, the fewest of any FBS program.  Baylor, LSU, Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford and Wisconsin have all lost three home games in that stretch.

UAB v Western Kentucky6 — 400-plus passing yard games for Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty following a 484-yard performance in a three-point loss to Indiana.  It was also the 14th 300-yard game of his career.

7 — Non-conference wins over Power Five teams since 2012 for Northwestern, the most of any P5 program.

10 — Number of players who recorded at least one carry as Boise State ran for 344 yards in a 52-0 rout of Idaho State Friday night.

10 — Total points by which Army has lost its first three games: 37-35 to Fordham, 22-17 to UConn, 17-14 to Wake Forest.

11 — Consecutive seasons Kansas State has returned a kickoff for a touchdown, the longest such streak in the nation.  Auburn is next at six straight, followed by Florida and Northern Illinois with five straight each.

12 — Number of Oklahoma State players who caught at least one of the Cowboys’ 19 completions in a win over UT-San Antonio.  None of the players caught more than three passes.

12 — Active FBS head coaches with at least 150 wins: Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech), Steve Spurrier (South Carolina), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Dennis Franchione (Texas State), Bill Snyder (Kansas State), Gary Pinkel (Missouri), Nick Saban (Alabama), Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech), Jerry Kill (Minnesota), Tommy Tuberville (Cincinnati) and Terry Bowden (Akron).  Tuberville joined that club yesterday thanks to UC’s win over archrival Miami of Ohio.

Northwestern v California16.4 — Yards per carry Cal’s Khalfani Muhammad averaged in rushing for 164 yards and helping the Bears to a wild 45-44 win over Texas.

17 — Consecutive games in which USC has scored a first-quarter touchdown, the longest in the country.  TCU is next at 16 straight.

17 — Home winning streak for Baylor, the longest active streak in the country.  Florida State and Boise State are next at 16 straight, while Alabama saw its streak of 17 in a row come to an end.

26 — Career wins for Michigan State’s Connor Cook and Stanford’s Kevin Hogan as starting quarterbacks, tying Ohio State’s Braxton Miller for the most amongst active players.  Miller, of course, is no longer an active quarterback as he moved to H-back this past offseason.

29 — Consecutive wins for Florida over Kentucky, the longest current winning streak against a single opponent.  The Wildcats’ last win over the Gators came in 1986.  UK’s last win in Gainesville back in 1979.

40 — Former LSU players on NFL rosters opening weekend, the most of any FBS program.  Miami was next with 37, followed by USC’s 35, 34 each for Alabama and Georgia, 31 apiece for Florida and Florida State and 30 for Ohio State.  With four, the Trojans had the most quarterbacks on opening-day rosters.

40 — Years since the Georgia Tech-Notre Dame matchup that spawned both the legend of Rudy Ruettiger and, ultimately, the much-beloved movie “Rudy.”

56 — Wins by Stanford this decade, the most of any FBS private school.  Behind that is Baylor at 49 and USC at 46.

58 — Years since Nebraska lost to two unranked teams in September before pulling that trick this season in losses to Miami and BYU.  They have also started a season 1-2 for the first time since 1981.

137 — All-time record for consecutive weeks in the Associated Press Top 10, set by Miami (Fla.) from 1985-93.  Alabama, at 69 straight, owns the longest current streak.

141 — Years Jerry Kill‘s current Minnesota coaching staff, including his strength & conditioning coach, have served under him at various stops, the most of any staff in the nation.

Troy v North Carolina State189 — Pass attempts for Troy’s Brandon Silvers without an interception, the longest such streak in the nation.  West Virginia’s Skyler Howard has yet to throw a pick in his 161 career attempts.

203 — Rushing yards for Indiana’s Jordan Howard, his seventh straight 100-yard rushing effort.  The first four of those games came as a member of the UAB football program.

219 — Rushing yards for UCLA’s Paul Perkins in the one-point win over BYU.  It was the junior’s first career 200-yard game.

230 — Career-high rushing yards for Southern Miss’ Jalen Richard against Texas State, the first time he’s topped the century mark.  His previous high was 94 in September of 2013.

246 — Sacks by Stanford since 2007, the most of any FBS team.  Virginia Tech is next with 237 in that span.

261 — Receiving yards, on seven catches, for Roger Lewis in Bowling Green’s 44-41 loss to Memphis.  Included in that total was a school-record 94-yard touchdown catch among his three touchdown receptions.

379 — Career-high passing yards for Brad Kaaya in Miami’s roller coaster win over Nebraska.

487038352391 — Career-high passing yards for P.J. Walker in Temple’s win over UMass.

427 — Yards passing for Dane Evans in Tulsa’s shootout loss to Oklahoma.

499 — Rushing yards for Arizona in a 77-13 romp over FCS Northern Arizona, averaging 12.2 yards per carry.  The Wildcats’ leading rusher, quarterback Jerrard Randall, gained his 149 yards on just three carries.

505 — Total yards of offense for Trevone Boykin — 454 passing, 50 rushing — as TCU rolled its way past SMU 56-37.  As a team, the Horned Frogs posted 720 yards of offense.

695 — Total yards for Middle Tennessee State in a 73-14 win over Charlotte, setting a school record.  The 73 points were also second in school history.

917 — Wins in the history of the Michigan football program, the most of any FBS school.  Notre Dame is next at 885, followed by Texas (882), Nebraska (875) and Ohio State (866).  Winning percentage, though, is a slightly different story.

1950 — The last, and only, time Texas A&M and Nevada had met on the gridiron prior to Saturday afternoon’s game in College Station.  It was also the Wolf Pack’s first-ever against a current member of the SEC as the Aggies were SWC members at the time of the first meeting in San Antonio.  Nevada also played Missouri in 2008-09 when Mizzou was part of the Big 12.

1951 — The last time Nebraska played a regular season game in South Florida prior to its matchup with the Miami Hurricanes.  The Cornhuskers, of course, played in 17 Orange Bowls from 1954-1997, including six in seven years from 1991-97.

1968 — The last time a team (Houston) scored 73-plus points in back-to-back games prior to Ole Miss opening the season with scoring outbursts of 76 (UT Martin, Week 1) and 73 points (Fresno State, Week 2).  In its Week 3 game against Alabama, Ole Miss was “held” to 43 in a six-point win.

1978 — The last time Missouri won a game in which it didn’t hit double digits prior to Saturday’s 9-6 win over UConn.  That year, Mizzou beat Notre Dame 3-0 in the season opener in South Bend.

1984 — Michigan State’s last game against a service academy prior to Saturday’s win over Air Force.  That ’84 game was a 10-6 loss to Army, incidentally.

1991 — Last year Syracuse began a season 3-0 before opening 2015 with wins over Rhode Island, Wake Forest and Central Michigan.  In order to match that ’91 team’s 4-0 start, though, they’ll need to beat unbeaten LSU in Week 4.

30,294 — Rushing yards for Georgia Tech since Paul Johnson took over the football program beginning with the 2008 season, far and away the most of any FBS team in that span.The next-closest are Navy at 27,264 and Air Force at 27,146.