This year’s NCAA tournament has been nothing short of madness.
We witnessed the biggest upset in the history of the tournament with a No. 16 seed in Fairleigh Dickinson knocking off top-seeded Purdue. We’ve seen two No. 1 seeds go down and now get to watch 15-seeded Princeton play Creighton in the Sweet 16. Yes, it’s only the Sweet 16. That means (hopefully) more madness to come.
With March comes upsets, and now seems like a good time to revisit the biggest upsets in college football from last season. And those of which Group of Five programs were responsible for, of course.
These are in order from biggest underdog to smallest, but that doesn’t mean one upset is that much more significant than the rest.
Middle Tennessee Over No. 25 Miami
The Blue Raiders took a 10-0 lead in the first five minutes of the contest and never looked back, defeating the Hurricanes 45-31 as 25.5-road dogs.
MTSU dominated the entire game on both sides of the ball, outgaining Miami 507-367 in total yards despite running 28 fewer plays. MTSU led by 21 points at three different points in the game, and with the win moved to 3-1 on the season and 3-0 all-time versus the Hurricanes.
New Mexico State Over Liberty
In a season where the Aggies and first-year coach Jerry Kill were responsible for one of the biggest turnarounds in college football, the Aggies went into Week 13 as 24-point dogs. They scored 21 second-quarter points to knock off Liberty 49-14 on the road to win their fifth game. They became bowl eligible the following week.
The Aggies never trailed and scored 35 unanswered over the second and third quarters against Liberty. It was just the third winning season for the program in the 21st century, and it wouldn’t have been possible without this late-season victory.
Georgia Southern Over Nebraska
The one that ended Scott Frost’s tenure. In one of multiple upsets that came during Week 2, the Eagles went into Lincoln where Nebraska was favored by 23 and left with a 45-42 victory.
Georgia Southern’s offense could not be contained as the Huskers gave up 642 yards of offense — the most ever allowed in Memorial Stadium. The Eagles trailed with 3:05 remaining in the fourth quarter before Kyle Vantrease led a go-ahead drive where he completed a fourth-down conversion and ran in the final TD from eight yards out. Nebraska would miss the ensuing game-tying field goal from 52 yards.
The game even has itself a spot in the CFB Hall of Fame:
Marshall Over No. 8 Notre Dame
Another Week 2 upset that saw what is traditionally a powerhouse get knocked off. This loss got Marcus Freeman’s head coaching career off to a 0-3 start as the Thundering Herd went on the road and beat the Irish 26-21 as 20.5-point dogs.
Marshall ended Notre Dame’s streak of 42 consecutive wins over an unranked opponent — the longest in the nation — and received a $1.25 million payday for doing so. The Herd trailed in the fourth quarter before scoring two touchdowns in a 34-second span, which included a pick-six from Steven Gilmore to all but seal the victory.
App State Over No. 6 Texas A&M
Perhaps its biggest win since App State moved into the FBS ranks in 2014, the Mountaineers vultured another “easy” Week 2 win from a Power Five opponent. Jimbo Fisher’s squad was an 18-point home favorite but didn’t even score 18 points in a 17-14 loss.
App State held the Aggies to just 186 yards of total offense and 97 passing yards while forcing two turnovers. The Mountaineers took the lead midway through the fourth with a 29-yard field goal and the Aggies missed the following 47-yard attempt to tie the game on a kick that never had a chance. Behind Camerun Peoples, App State controlled the game and the clock, running 82 plays to the Aggies’ 38 and winning the time of possession 41:29 to 18:31.