Everybody Struggled Against Their Power Five Opponents
Ohio worked hard to get back into the game and make things interesting, but could never fully close the gap on the road against Virginia.
Meanwhile Kent State, Toledo, Miami (OH), and Ball State lost their games by a combined final score of 176-47.
The Golden Flashes briefly had Penn State scared, as an interception by the defense had them seven yards away from cutting the score to 21-14 Penn State. Instead they gained no yards, kicked a field goal, then watched Penn State score in only four plays to close out the half.
Toledo had no answer for Miami’s offense, Miami (OH) had no offense, and neither did Ball State on the road against Indiana. It was a real struggle against the Power Five.
Except for Akron, Because Of Course
It would make sense for this conference that the one team that managed to hit the road against a Power Five opponent and pull off an upset victory would be the one team that was just now playing their first P5 opponent rather than their second.
The Zips lost out on their opening matchup versus Nebraska, then handled Morgan State, and then came to Northwestern and trailed 21-3 at halftime before storming back for the victory.
Think about that; Akron’s opening drive of the second half stalled out in the red zone, they scored no points in the last seven minutes, and they still outscored Northwestern 36-13 in the second half.
We’ll see what the Zips can do against the likes of Iowa State or Buffalo, but this bodes well for their bowl hopes considering how much weaker their schedule looks now.
The conference is quite bottom heavy now; Akron, Buffalo and Eastern Michigan are 7-1, and the rest of the conference is a combined 7-18 and has yet to beat an FBS opponent.
Some of that is a P5-heavy early schedule, but Central Michigan, Miami (OH) and Kent State have all looked anemic. Bowling Green and Western Michigan have produced on offense but have struggled to stop anyone (no, Delaware State doesn’t count).
How About That Eastern Michigan/Buffalo Game Though
The Bulls and Eagles played a crazy uneven game. Buffalo led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, and still led by that score when Eastern Michigan took over possession with 5:40 left in the first half. What ensued was three consecutive 70+ yard touchdown passes, one by Tyree Jackson for Buffalo and two by Mike Glass for EMU.
By the half, the score was 28-21 Buffalo – Eastern Michigan outscored Buffalo 21-14 in a span of six minutes. This was followed by a third quarter where Eastern Michigan had the ball for almost 12 minutes, got inside the Buffalo 30 twice and scored zero points, while Buffalo never crossed their own 25.
The fourth quarter came, and the universe normalized as Tyree Jackson threw another 75-yard touchdown. This was nothing compared to the Bulls seven-overtime thriller against WMU last season, but they are now an entertaining 3-0 heading on the road to face the mighty Rutgers.