It is hard to believe we are already going into Week 5 of the College Football Season. There are still a lot of unanswered questions out there, but we have had enough time to get a decent feel for most teams. With conference play starting to heat up, these next few weeks will start to really tell us the state of QB play in each Group of 5 Conference. The playing field will be more evenly matched and there will not be as many games vs FCS or big Power 5 opponents (yes, I know Louisiana plays Bama this week). Week 5 presents us with several interesting QB vs QB matchups as well as QBs vs good defenses. Let’s dig into some of the most interesting QB match ups of Week 5.
Louisiana Tech vs North Texas
Why Is It Interesting? North Texas QB Mason Fine is the best quarterback in C-USA and one of the best quarterbacks from the entire Group of 5 Conferences. He leads the conference in passing yards with 1,328, tied for first with 10tds passing, and only 1int for the year. J’Mar Smith for La Tech is one of the better quarterbacks in C-USA and is coming off his best game of the season against LSU where he threw for 330yds and 3tds. North Texas’ defense is vastly improved from last year, having given up only 63 points in four games. La Tech’s defense has shown ability to play well thus far with LSU being the only team to break 30 on them. UNT is the favorite in this game and I expect Fine to continue to put up big numbers and protect the ball. I expect Smith to use his legs more than he did last week, but if he puts up passing numbers similar to last week, it could be a close game.
Boise State vs Wyoming
Why Is It Interesting? Anyone reading this article already knows how good Boise’s QB Rypien is. In only three games this season, he has thrown for over 1,000ds, 10tds, 0ints and a 71.4 completion percentage to go along with those numbers. Going into the season Wyoming’s defense was projected to be one of the best defenses in the Mountain West and started the season off hot only giving up 7 points to New Mexico State. However, since then they have given up over 40 points to both Washington State and Mizzou, before only giving up 14 to Wofford. Washington State and Mizzou have some of the top offenses statistically in the Power 5. I still think Wyoming’s defense can keep them in most Mountain West games, but this week will be another challenge going up against the best quarterback in the conference.
Pittsburgh vs Central Florida
Why Is It Interesting? As of now, UCF is close to a two-touchdown favorite heading into the game. If you briefly looked at this week’s game schedule, this one probably wouldn’t catch your eye. However, I think it is interesting for several reasons. First one being, if UCF wants any chance of being considered for the playoffs, they need to beat Pitt and do it handily. Pitt is UCF’s only Power 5 school they will play this year since their game against UNC was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence. Also, if UCF QB McKenzie Milton wants any shot at an opportunity to go to New York on December 8th, he will need to put up big numbers against a Pitt defense that gave up 51 points to Penn State and 38 points to North Carolina. I personally think the game has a chance to be close, but I fully expect Milton to put up big numbers and show no signs of dropping off.
Army vs Buffalo
Why Is It Interesting? Army is fresh off an overtime loss to OU in which they played a heck of a game. It took OU, who is considered to have one of the best offenses in the county, 5 quarters to get to 28 points. The week before that, Army held a red-hot Hawaii offense to only 21 points. Since the 34-14 loss against Duke in Week 1, Army has looked as solid as they were last year. Yes, their defense has played better since Week 1, but their best defense is when their offense has drives of 8, 9, 10 plus minutes and keeps the other teams’ offense off the field. This is exactly what they did to OU and will be what they need to do to Buffalo. Buffalo has one of the hottest offenses in the Group of 5 Conferences and has started the season 4-0 for the first time since 1981. Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson has lived up to the hype thus far, throwing for 1,052yds and 15tds through the first four games. Jackson has one of the strongest arms in all of college football and can make any throw on the field regardless if he is inside or outside the pocket. Jackson will have success when he is on the field, the big question is how much time will Army’s offense let Jackson on the field.
Florida Atlantic vs Middle Tennessee
Why Is It Interesting? Through the first four weeks of the season, FAU is 2-2 and MT is 1-2. FAU’s losses were to OU and UCF. MT’s losses were to Vanderbilt and Georgia. This game is the first conference game for both teams and each will be aiming to start off 1-0 in conference. FAU’s QB Chris Robison has shown that he has plenty of potential, but at the same time has shown that he is a young QB. The more experience he gets, the more comfortable he will be in the pocket and the better he will become at going through all of his reads. FAU also has two former-4 star recruits who are backing up Robison at QB if they ever decide to make a change. We haven’t heard much about Middle Tennessee’s QB Brent Stockstill this season, but that is largely due to the fact that two out of their first three games were against SEC opponents. Even though those games were lopsided in favor of the other team, Stockstill still displayed toughness and accuracy. After a few conference games, he will remind everyone why he is one of the best QBs in Conference USA. As of now, FAU is the slight favorite, but I expect an evenly matched game where we see some good QB play from Stockstill and learn more about Robison.
Other Games Worth Mentioning
Old Dominion vs East Carolina – Is ECU better than people were predicting going into the season? Does ODU QB Blake LaRussa pick up where he left off vs VA Tech? He is already ODU’s leading passer on the season after starting only one game.
South Alabama vs Appalachian State – App State QB Zac Thomas should continue to roll. However, does the sudden emergence of South Alabama QB Evan Orth make it a game?
Toledo vs Fresno State – Toledo QB Mitchell Guadagni has only started three games thus far, but could become one of the better QBs from the G5. Fresno QB Marcus McMaryion will look to continue a good senior season.
Southern Mississippi vs Auburn – I am not bold enough to think Southern Miss pulls an upset, just interested in seeing how QB Jack Abraham does against elite competition.
Northern Illinois vs Eastern Michigan – EMU has had good QB play from both Tyler Wiegers and Mike Glass III. Do they continue to alternate or finally stick with one guy?