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Sunday, October 3, 2010
What we learned from non-AQs: Week 5

By Andrea Adelson

There were not too many dramatic matchups among the non-AQs during Week 5, but there are a few things we learned:

1. Navy is beatable. Folks suspected that might be the case going into its game against Air Force, but Navy had won a record 15 straight games against the service academies, including seven straight over the Falcons. But Air Force won 14-6, setting the stage to wrest control of the Commander-In-Chief Trophy from Navy for the first time since 2002. Air Force ran for 292 yards, but more impressively, held Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs without a touchdown for the first time in his 17 career starts. In fact, it was Navy’s lowest point total since getting shutout 34-0 to Rutgers in October 2006. Going into the season, many thought Navy had a great chance to go undefeated. Now the Midshipmen are 2-2, while Air Force is 4-1.

Tim Jefferson
Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson scored both of the school's touchdowns (50 yards, 1 yard) in a win over Navy.
2. TCU may not be impressive, but it is winning. For the second straight week, the Horned Frogs were less than impressive. This time, it was a 27-0 win over one-win Colorado State. The defense did record the first road shutout in the Gary Patterson era, but the offense was not terrific and had only six points at the half. TCU suffered through dropped passes and much inconsistency. Andy Dalton was just 11-of-24 for 109 yards with a touchdown. But the running game came through with 346 total yards. A win is a win and TCU will take it.

3. No letdowns for Boise State, Nevada. The WAC frontrunners had little trouble on Saturday after big weekends. No. 3 Boise State beat lowly New Mexico State 59-0. Kellen Moore played a little more than a half and improved to 30-1 as a starter as the Broncos rolled up 608 yards of total offense. No. 25 Nevada, ranked in the both polls for the first time ever, handled UNLV 44-26. The Wolf Pack beat their instate rival for a record sixth straight time. The Broncos and Wolf Pack will collide Nov. 26 in Reno.

4. Temple, Northern Illinois appear to be the class of the MAC headed into their big game this week. The Owls (4-1) had a come-from-behind win over Army 42-35 thanks to Matt Brown, who became the first player in school history with over 200 yards rushing and four touchdowns in one game. Temple was down 15 before scoring 29 straight points to win. Coach Al Golden said, “That's the biggest win since I've been here, make no mistake.” Meanwhile, Northern Illinois (3-2) beat Akron 50-14 behind Chandler Harnish. Toledo and Western Michigan had disappointing losses. Meanwhile, watch Miami (Ohio). The RedHawks are 3-2 and off to their best start since 2003.

5. Louisiana-Lafayette can sure play special teams. The Ragin’ Cajuns got a blocked extra point with 31 seconds left to beat North Texas 28-27. The block was the 42nd under coach Rickey Bustle and the 12th extra point block over that span. The Cajuns rank fourth in the nation in blocked kicks since the start of the 2002 season. They did lose  starting running back Kevis Streeter (knee) and starting tackle Jonathan Decoster (ankle). Tight end Ladarius Green (ankle) also sat out. Louisiana is 2-1 in the Sun Belt.

6. Conference USA is better than the Big East. Well, at least it was on Saturday after Tulane upset Rutgers 17-14. It was the Green Wave's first win over a team from an automatic qualifying conference since 2006, when they beat Mississippi State 32-29.