By Lucas Owens
This weekend for the American Athletic Conference was everything one could expect. Both SMU and Cincinnati kept their win streaks alive, and every team that was favored won in some fashion. The only surprising thing to happen is UCONN being within seven points of getting their first AAC win of the year, but Houston put that to bed. The rest of the league played ordinarily and that leads us to this week’s recap.
Houston (24) – (17) UCONN
My oh my, how far the Cougars have fallen. Don’t get me wrong, a win is a win, but what was even going on this week? Up until late in the second quarter Houston was even trailing UCONN, the same UCONN who has not been competitive since they played FCS Wagner week 1. If there is one positive to take out of this for Houston, their quarterback Logan Holgorsen had a nice first start, doing about as well as you would expect a true freshman to do. For UCONN, they did a very good job this game of staying competitive late and playing some meaningful football. Quarterback Jack Zergiotis had a good game with 270 yards and two touchdowns passing, and the Huskies’ defense played very soundly.
Temple (21) – (45) #19 SMU
Wow, was I wrong about how SMU would come out to face this game or what? Not only did the Mustangs beat Temple, they did so behind quarterback Shane Buchele throwing for 457 yards and six touchdowns. The SMU offense absolutely tore up a Temple defense notorious for their toughness. SMU showed an ability this week to run up the score against anybody, which will be very important as they get even further into their AAC schedule. Temple struggled in this one, but as seen in previous years, anything can change later in the season, especially with them possibly getting a chance for a rematch depending on how their play in a top heavy AAC East goes.
SMU had another big victory this week aside from the win: a crucial loss by Boise State that ensures the Mustangs have a clear path to a New Year’s Six bowl game (as long as they take care of business for the rest of the season).
Tulsa (13) – (24) #21 Cincinnati
Cincinnati had a lot tougher of a go this week than I think most people were expecting, but I think that can be boiled down more to people not seeing how insane Tulsa’s defense can be when they are on it. The Bearcats were carried to this victory by running back Gerrid Doaks, whose 91 yards and two touchdowns was the difference. Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder did not have the best game, but like in weeks past it, was just enough to get the Bearcats to where they needed to be to win. Cincinnati’s defense played out just as much as Tulsa’s, with two key interceptions that also made a key difference in a low scoring affair like this.
For Tulsa, their luck just keeps getting worse. They have been competitive in most games, but just cannot come out with the crucial moments to win games. The Golden Hurricane are a lot better than their 2-5 record would have you believe, but they are the primary victims of an insane schedule so far. Sadly for the Golden Hurricane it does not get any easier, as now they get to face Memphis, Tulane and UCF
USF (3) – (35) Navy
Navy is an absolute force this year, and the Bulls just could not find any way to stop the tide of the Midshipmen’s offense. USF did not have any better luck on the offensive side of the ball, as quarterback Jason McCloud did not find any success and Navy put a hurt down on running back Jordan Conkrite and prevented him from getting to 100 yards. But look on the bright side Bulls fans: USF now has a transitive win over Boise State, as well as over USC and Tennessee.
Navy again showed that there is no stopping this year’s version of their triple option offense with 434 yards rushing, 188 of those coming from quarterback Malcolm Perry. The Midshipmen are a hard team to face any year due to the triple option, but this year’s team just might be one of the best of this decade. Their one loss to Memphis has to sting, as Perry was sidelined for part of the second half which saw Navy’s lead crumble, but as long as they win out and Memphis loses one more the Midshipmen will get their first AAC west title. But for right now, they are looking like the one team who has the best chance of beating SMU in conference play this year.
ECU (28) – (41) UCF
UCF starts their quest to get back at the AAC world for their two losses against Pitt and Cincinnati this week, as their first half performance was enough to shield them from some shoddy defensive play in the second. Knights’ quarterback Dillon Gabriel again had a great game with 365 yards and two touchdowns passing, as well as another 26 yards and a touchdown rushing. For UCF, the first half shows that they can play with anybody, but they have stop in some way letting other teams come back in the second half. To be up 35-6 and end with the score at 41-28 is not normal for most teams, but it is coming to be so for the Knights. If they want any chance of getting into the AAC championship game this year, they need to look at what is causing these problems and fix them.
ECU had a tough go of things with the first half, but that is to be expected when playing a powerhouse like UCF. Quarterback Holton Ahlers had a great performance in the second half that was ultimately too little and too late. However, the way the Pirates came out in the second half shows a lot of improvement for them and hopefully will allow them to keep growing as a team.
Tulane (17) – (47) Memphis
Memphis’ performance against a great Tulane team shows that the Tigers’ still have what it takes to beat anybody soundly if they have the full force of the Liberty Bowl behind them. Quarterback Brady White had a great day with 358 yards and five touchdowns passing, and thus Kenneth Gainwell also had an amazing performance, as his 307 yards and three touchdowns overall were by far his best performance of the year.
Tulane this week had a tougher time than they have had all season. Quarterback Justin McMillan’s 187 yards and one touchdown passing was not necessarily bad, but his three interceptions hurt the Green Wave in a big way. Tulane’s defense did not do the best job helping either, as they succumbed to Memphis’ high-octane offense and just could not keep up at all. Overall, this is just a bad loss that the Green Wave need to flush down the drain and forget about while also learning from it.
Americ6n Team of the Week: Memphis Tigers
Memphis bounced back from their first loss of the season in a big way this week again showed the AAC west that they are not a force to be reckoned with.
Thank you for checking out this article, and make sure to look out for The Most Americ6n Recap next Thursday.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org