Dale Money | September 13th, 2019
In this article, we will break down some of the biggest upcoming games in the Non-Power Conference.
Air Force vs Colorado
Instate opponents Colorado and Air Force meet for the first time in nearly a half-century on Saturday, which may seem like a bit of a surprise given their close proximity. Air Force will be looking to add to the Mountain West Conference’s impressive early-season success against Power 5 opponents. Week one against Colgate the Falcons scored all seven of their touchdowns on the ground split between five players.
Ranked in the top five in rushing yards per game for the past four years, their focus on controlling the game through the ground is imperative. Kadin Remsberg and Taven Birdow will continue to lead that running attack. The Falcons secondary will be in tough spot against Colorado’s passing game, which is putting up an average of 303.5 yards per game, good for 28th in the country.
Colorado is coming off a huge high against former Big 12 rival Nebraska Cornhuskers, as they would need to come back from 17-0 down in the third quarter and then eventually winning 34-31 in overtime on a 54-yard field goal by Laviska Shenault Jr. They will look to keep their perfect 2-0 season alive.
Four-year starting quarterback Steven Montez has been solid so far in his first couple of games, throwing for just over 600 yards along with four touchdowns. Alex Fontenot leads the Buffs in rushing with 167 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns and Jaren Mangham has 3 rushing touchdowns. On defense, Nate Landman and Aaron Maddox are tops on the team in solo tackles with 18, and 12 respectively.
7 Notre Dame vs New Mexico
Ranked Number Seven in the AP Poll coming off their bye week, Notre Dame jumped ahead of a Michigan Wolverines team that just managed to squeak by Army 24-21 in double overtime. The Irish did not have a great opening week against Louisville. Ian Book tossed for 193 yards along with a touchdown through the air on 14 completions.
He’ll be looking to get that passing attack straightened out in week 2 and against a Lobo’s secondary that was shredded for 443 yards, against two different Sam Houston quarterbacks. Book shouldn’t have a hard time putting up big passing numbers. Tony Jones Jr. started the season with a bang against Louisville as he carried the ball 15 times for 112 yards and a score, earning himself the offensive player of the game.
New Mexico scored all four of their touchdowns on the ground in their opening week. Ahmari Davis had over 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 16 carries, in the win against the Bearcats week 1. They used two quarterbacks, led by Brandt Hughes who didn’t do a whole lot to balance that attack, passing for just over two hundred yards.
Against Notre Dame, Hughes will look to spread the ball to three receivers in Q’Drennan, Aaron Molina, and Anu Somoye all of which are well over six feet. The Lobo’s will need to stick to their bread and butter being their versatile running game if they expect to keep that Irish offense off the field for as long as possible.
Ohio vs Marshall
In a renew of the Battle for the Bell, Ohio travels to West Virginia for the first time since 2015. Ohio won that last meeting 20-10 and leads the all-time series 33-20-6.
The Bobcats are on a four-game home winning streak and will be looking to add to it. Ohio is coming off last weeks 20-10 defeat by the Pittsburgh Panthers. De’Montre Tuggle scored the lone touchdown for the Bobcats along with 20 yards on four carries.
Nathan Rourke is in his third year as the starter, his 156.3 passer rating in 2018 ranked 15th in the country. In two games he has thrown for 365 yards along with a pair of touchdowns. Wide receiver Tyler Tupa had a very solid opening weekend against Rhode Island, but has since missed week two and will be questionable for this game.
The Marshall Thundering Herd will also be looking to rebound from their first loss of the season, having just lost a close one to the Boise State Broncos 14-7. Most of the Marshall offense came from Brendan Knox, as he ran for 71 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Knox has a great offensive line to work with, which afforded him the opportunity to break through a pretty darn solid Broncos defensive line. Facing a tamer defensive front this upcoming week, look for him to get fed early and often.
Quarterback Isaiah Green will be looking to move forward from his dreadful outing against Boise State, where he connected on ten of seventeen passing attempts for 56 yards and one pickoff. Corey Gammage currently leads all Herd receiving with five receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown this season.
Florida Atlantic vs Ball State
FAU has played has had a road rough so far in its first couple of games, starting the year with losses against two top 25 opponents in Ohio State and Central Florida. However with the toughest portion of their schedule now out of the way they can now focus on the here and now. Second-year Owl Chris Robison has had a mixed bag of results so far this year at quarterback, against Central Florida he completed 18 of his 40 throws for just 177 yards, one interception, and four sacks.
Looking to fill the hole left by Devin Singletary, freshman Larry McCammon III leads the team with 70 yards and two touchdowns in 29 attempts. Their biggest threat through the air would be at tight end, they’ve got two players in Harrison Bryant and John Raine that lead the team in receptions and should be used frequently in this game.
Ball State comes into this matchup with an even 1-1 record, losing in the opener to instate rival Indiana, and then just last weekend they blew out Fordham 57-29. Quarterback Drew Plitt has had an incredible start to the year, just last week he threw for over 430 yards and six touchdowns on 20 completions. Look for him to test that Owls pass defense that is ranked 94th in the country.
Running back Caleb Huntley has been pretty good so far, with back to back games with a rushing touchdown. Riley Miller, Antwan Davis, Walter Fletcher, and Justin Hall have each already topped 100 yards receiving and a touchdown. Miller, however, is the clear cut option, one of the few bright spots for the Cardinals in 2018, he was amongst the top receivers in the league, finishing third in receptions per game and finished second-team all-MAC.
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