By Lucas Owens
Week 3, depending on what team you followed, was either a week of triumph or great pain in the American Athletic Conference. UCF won decisively over Georgia Tech. USF lost by nine scores to Notre Dame. Navy won Pun Battle 2020 with a fantastic comeback, but Tulane collapsed hard enough to let it happen. This week in the AAC was nothing but interesting, so time to look at each game.
USF 0 – 52 No. 7 Notre Dame
If there is any consolation for USF, it is that they got a game in Tampa against one of the best programs in college football out of this slaughter. The rebuild is very much still rebuilding after just two weeks, and coach Jeff Scott has a lot of work to do to get USF out of this funk that they have been in since halfway through the 2018 season. While their prospects against Notre Dame were never high, they do have a good chance to win some games in conference play this year and continue what could amount to a long rebuild.
Tulsa 7 – No. 11 Oklahoma State
Tulsa’s fantastic defensive line from last year seems to have made a reappearance this campaign, as they held a good Oklahoma State offense to just 16 points, even if the Cowboys were on their third string quarterback by the end of it. The Golden Hurricane was in this game for far longer than most thought they would be, much due to their huge men up front giving problems to one Heisman hopeful running back Chuba Hubbard. Tulsa quarterback Zach Smith could have had a much better game, but against an opponent with a defense like Oklahoma State’s, his 166 yards passing is more excusable.
No. 13 Cincinnati 55 – 20 Austin Peay
In the most expected turn of events, Cincinnati dominated the Governors of Austin Peay en route to their first win of the 2020 season. Junior quarterback Desmond Ridder could not have had a better performance than he did, going for 196 yards and two touchdowns passing, and adding 57 more yards on just four carries. The Bearcats looked really good Saturday, but Austin Peay was never going to be a problem for them. The real test will be this week when they host No. 22 Army.
No. 14 UCF 49 – 21 Georgia Tech
Nothing says more about the state of college football in Florida except for that Florida State lost to Georgia Tech by one point in week 2. Georgia Tech then proceeded to lose by 28 to UCF just one week later. While Mike Norvell has a lot of work to do at Florida State, UCF continues to dominate teams, and looks like they could contend for a New Years Six Bowl yet again. Of course, UCF’s biggest asset this game was quarterback Dillon Gabriel, as the Hawaiian slinger continues to impress, with 417 yards passing and four touchdowns against a good Georgia Tech defense. Credit to UCF’s defense where credit is de though, allowing just 21 points against an ACC opponent is always going to be a job well done when an offense scores as quickly as the Knights’ does, and they continually pressured an up and coming quarterback in Tech’s Jeff Sims.
Navy 27 – 24 Tulane
Pun Battle 2020 ended gloriously, as Navy was able to somehow stop their boat from capsizing amid a 24-0 drubbing and go on a 27-0 run to end the game. That included a huge last second field goal from Bijan Nichols to give them the win. Tulane was fantastic during the first half, but it felt like the Green Wave just did not come out for the second half and took this complete reversal with really not much push back. Quarterback Keon Howard had a rough day dealing with the Midshipmen defense, going 10-25 with 108 yards and an interception, but the blame lies with all the Tulane offense and not just him. Overall, while this was a fantastic comeback by Navy, it can be attributed just as much to Tulane’s collapse in the latter part of the game.
SMU 65 – 35 North Texas
SMU’s run in with a fellow Texas team went far better this week than it did before, as the Mustangs put 8 touchdowns on the Mean Green. Key to that cause was quarterback Shane Buchele, who had 344 yards and four touchdowns passing, and a great QBR of 92.6. Ulysses Bentley also added three touchdowns and 227 yards on the ground, en route to quite a dominating performance by SMU. Overall, their defense could have been much better, but a good solid win by SMU to go 2-0.
With most teams finally having played a game, it is time for some power rankings again.
- No. 13 UCF Knights
- No. 14 Cincinnati Bearcats
- No. 17 Memphis Tigers
- SMU Mustangs
- Temple Owls
- Tulsa Golden Hurricane
- Navy Midshipmen
- Tulane Green Wave
- Houston Cougars
- USF Bulls
- ECU Pirates
Edited by Emma Moloney