By Lucas Owens
College football is in full swing now, and so is the American Athletic Conference. Two teams, Navy and Temple, had buys this week so there are only 10 games to cover, but boy are there some interesting games this week. The American went a solid 6-4 this week, with all four losses coming against Power-6 opponents. Some games were close, but for the most part they were pretty lopsided, so let’s get into this week’s American action!
Cincinnati (0) @ #5 Ohio State (42)
Cincinnati had a lot of trouble in week 2 in Columbus, with Justin Fields having an absolute field day with their defense. The offensive side of the ball for the Bearcats was not much better, with Desmond Ridder having a lot of trouble with the Buckeyes’ defense, throwing for just 166 yards and two interceptions. The rushing attack was also to blame, as they ran for just 107 yards as a unit. To put it very plainly, the Bearcats got handled hard in Columbus this weekend, but this could be a good thing for Cincinnati as they go into conference play looking to compete for the eastern division. This loss could either humble Cincy and make them re-evaluate themselves and keep on competing at a very high level like last year, or it could just lead to them having a very tough season this year. Only time will tell for the Bearcats.
Memphis (55) vs. Southern (24)
The Memphis Tigers proved they were, in fact, the better cats this week, as the Jaguars of Southern University were handled nicely by Memphis. Brady White, expectedly, exploded for 337 yards and two touchdowns against a struggling Southern defense, and the rushing attack also succeeded going for 177 yards and four touchdowns. However, the shocking aspect of this game was how Memphis’ defense fared. They won the game soundly, but to give up 24 to Southern is a little problematic, as it could show some bigger problems as the Tigers go further into the defense and play very potent offenses when they get into their American Conference slate.
USF (10) @ Georgia Tech (14)
The Yellow Jackets were able to buzz back to a win this week, as USF was just a loose ball away from getting back to .500 after a bad start to the season in week 1. The Bulls, instead, lost the football and their eight straight game in a row. The score of this one is very indicative of how the game was played, as both offenses could get very little going, as neither team passed for more than 200 yards, and only Georgia Tech RB Jordan Mason rushed for more than 50 yards, as he was only one yard away from hitting the century mark, going for 99 yards and a touchdown. Turnovers were a huge issue for the Bulls, as they had four fumbles and two which were lost throughout the game. However, there is a bright side to this one, as USF QB James McCloud threw for 90 yards on just four receptions. The Bulls should, unless something out of the ordinary happens, come away with their first victory next week against South Carolina State.
UCONN (23) vs. Illinois (31)
The Illinois pass offense got the better of the rough UCONN defense in this matchup, as QB Brandon Peters had a day with four touchdowns and 227 yards. Although UCONN’s QB Jack Zergiotis threw for 275 yards, his two interceptions and one fumble hampered the Huskies’ hopes in this close matchup. However, the real scapegoat for the Huskies is their rushing attack, as they got only 10 yards on 29 attempts. On the other hand, Illinois’ rushing attack also had a slightly bad day, although nowhere near what the Huskies went through, with only 130 yards rushing. The Huskies will rest up this next week as they have a buy.
ECU (48) vs. Gardner-Webb (9)
ECU sailed right past Garner-Webb this week, as they were able to outmuscle the Bulldogs on the front lines, rushing for 365 yards as a whole. The standout for the Pirates was Darius Pinnix Jr., rushing for 134 yards and two touchdowns. The passing attack for the Pirates was not up to the same standard as the running attack, although it did not need to be, as Holton Ahlers threw for 195 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The Pirates have their first in-conference test of the year next week as they face off against the triple option threat of the Navy Midshipmen in a naval battle for the ages.
SMU (49) vs. North Texas (27)
SMU trotted to a strong offensive win in this one, as they dominated the North Texas offense both by air and on the ground. Leading the air attack was the QB transfer from Texas, Shane Buchele, as he looked very strong against the Mean Green defense and hit his man very often on routes to get big gains. He ended the day with 292 yards and three touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, the Mustang defense controlled the North Texas passing offense, keeping a good QB in Mason Fine to 152 yards and one touchdown. However, that was not the case for North Texas’ Tre Sigger, who was able to run for 164 yards. SMU had a good counter to that with Xavier Jones, who himself rushed for 127 yards and three touchdowns.
#18 UCF (48) @ FAU (14)
Paradise was in fact not defended from the onslaught of the UCF offense, as the Knights exploded for 572 yards in this game that did not even go the full distance, as it was shortened by lightning in the area in the fourth quarter. Dillon Gabriel ended up getting the start for UCF over Brandon Wimbush and used that to his advantage going for 245 yards and two touchdowns. However, the real decider in this game was the potent UCF rushing attack, as they combined for 312 yards and five touchdowns, with each of those touchdowns being run by different Knights. FAU’s offense struggled for a while in this one, only really coming alive towards the end when things were already decided. UCF looked very strong, and hopefully for them that continues as they go further into the season, beginning with a tough test against Stanford in Orlando next week.
Tulane (6) @ Auburn (24)
The Green Wave could not muster much current in this one, as they only scored 6 against a tough Auburn defense even with their strong defensive performance against a good offense led by a strong QB in Bo Nix. The Tulane defense held Nix to just 207 yards and one touchdown passing, and the rushing unit to 172 yards and two touchdowns. However, the Green Wave’s defensive effort was not matched with their offense, as they struggled all game with a great Auburn defense. The Green Wave should start rolling again next week when they host Missouri State.
Houston (37) vs. Prairie View A&M (17)
Houston had a fine performance this week against the Panthers of Prairie View A&M, totaling 360 total yards, four touchdowns, and just two turnovers. However, this game was surprisingly close in the end. Houston entered this game as 35 point favorites, so for them to win by just 20 in the end would be surprising, if the Panthers did not score that late touchdown to bring it from a 27 point deficit to 20. Overall, I do not think much can be taken from the expectations of Houston in this one, as they still won this one and will look forward to playing Washington State in Houston next week.
Tulsa (34) @ San Jose State (16)
The Golden Hurricane knew their way to San Jose, as they broke away from the San Jose State Spartans in the second half to come out with a victory out west. Tulsa’s offense far improved from their week 1 performance, going for an insane 539 yards. The Tulsa defense also played better than their performance against Michigan State, allowing San Jose State just two touchdowns and 339 yards. The Golden Hurricane of Tulsa definitely showed their worth this week, as they look like a completely different team this year than year’s past.
Americ6n Team of the Week: Tulsa
Tulsa showed they have what it takes this year by controlling their game with San Jose State in the second half, and their defense only keeps improving after an impressive performance only allowing Michigan State four touchdowns in week 1.
Thank you for checking out this article and look forward to a lot of American Athletic Conference from this space in the future.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org