Sports Q&A: AAC Quick Hits- Week 2

 Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The second week of college football wrapped up for teams in the American Athletic Conference and while many of the teams lost to its more talented opponents we did have a couple of great games that resulted in upsets.

EAST DIVISION:

Cincinnati Bearcats 1-1 (0-1)

You can’t turn over the ball five times and expect to win — I don’t care who the opponent is. Despite passing for 421 yards four interceptions by quarterback Gunner Kiel was hard to overcome for the Bearcats  as they loss to Temple 34-26. Just looking at the team stats, you would have assumed that Cincinnati won this game easily as it almost doubled Temple’s yard output, converted a high percentage of its third-down conversions (7-of-11 to 5-of-13) and had less penalties (5-51 compared to 12-113) but as said before you can’t give the ball away and expect to win

East Carolina Pirates 1-1 (0-0)

Even though they came up short 31-24 to the Florida Gators, ECU proved it was not intimidated by the SEC foe. Blake Kemp passed for 333 yards and three touchdowns but an interception that was returned for a touchdown killed any momentum that the Pirates had. The lack of a running game — only 15 yards on 17 attempts by Chris Hairston — hurt, because against more talented teams you have to be able to control the ball.

Temple Owls 2-0 (1-0)

The Owls proved that the victory over Penn St. was no fluke as they came out and dominated Cincinnati 36-26 in an early conference match-up. Jahad Thomas had another great game with 193 rushing yards on 26 carries, but Temple got the victory because of its defense, it forced five Cincinnati turnovers including four interceptions — two by linebacker Tyler Matakevich. The final score does not reflect the total domination as Cincinnati scored two fourth quarter touchdowns after the Owls had already jumped out to a 22 point lead.

UConn Huskies 2-0 (0-0)

That much-needed offensive outburst came this week in the 22-17 victory over Army as UConn had 417 total yards of offense — including 83 receiving yards on four catches from Noel Thomas. Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs had an efficient game as he passed for 270 yards on 19-of-25 passes. This victory moves UConn to 2-0 for the first time since 2008 and while the level of competition wasn’t the greatest, you can only play who is on your schedule and for the Huskies they handled their business.

USF Bulls 1-1 (0-0)

For one half the Bulls hung tough with the Florida St. Seminoles and many were wondering if an upset would take place as the score was tied after the first 30 minutes. Unfortunately for USF they couldn’t keep the momentum going and eventually were defeated 34-14. Running back Marlon Mack continued to impress, regardless of the opponent, as he and his 83 yards on 18 carries showed the nation that he was not intimidated by the more heralded FSU defense. Fellow running back D’Ernest Johnson also had a great game as well and finished with five catches for 83 yards — including a 71 yard catch and run that tied the game at seven.

UCF Golden Knights 0-2 (0-0) 

The Knight offense was non-existent in the 31-7 loss to the Stanford Cardinal. The team only had 181 total yards of offense and lost starting quarterback Justin Holman to injury. His back-up freshman Tyler Harris performed admirably in relief as he passed for 105 yards on 7-of-15 attempts. If Holman is out for an extended period of time that could hurt UCF offense dearly as it seems that the team cannot sustain any form of offense without him.

West Division:

Houston Cougars 2-0 (0-0)

It was a blocked field goal by the Cougars special teams unit that sealed the 34-31 victory but it was the arm and legs of quarterback Greg Ward Jr. that pulled off the upset over the Louisville Cardinals. Ward Jr. had 334 total yards of offense and three touchdowns — including the go-ahead score to receiver Demarcus Ayers. In not even one season on campus head coach Jim Herman has this Houston team playing up to a higher level that could have them contending for the AAC championship if it continues.

Memphis Tigers 2-0 (0-0)

Usually its the Power-5 conference school that is taking the lesser conference team to the woodshed but on Saturday it was the Tigers that whooped the Big 12 member Kansas Jayhawks 55-23. We get that Kansas hasn’t been relevant in football in years but that doesn’t take away what Memphis — and more specifically quarterback Paxtson Lynch did. The junior quarterback in abbreviated play finished the day with 354 yard and only three incomplete passes in 25 attempts. This was a perfect game to get playing time for everyone as 11 Tiger receivers caught balls and 11 Tigers had carries on the day.

Navy Midshipmen 1-0 (0-0)

no scheduled game

Tulsa Golden Hurricane 2-0 (0-0)

The Golden Hurricane are showing versatility to its offense. Last week it was quarterback Dane Evans showing off, this week it was the running back duo of Zack Langer (33 carries 139 yards) and D’Angelo Brewer (20 carries 130 yards) leading the way to the 40-21 victory over New Mexico. Receiver Keevan Lucas also showed his versatility with 20 yards rushing, 65 yards receiving on four receptions and an interception on defense — I guess he must have watched Charles Woodson U-M highlights and got inspired.

SMU Mustangs 1-1 (0-0)

Last year it took until the final game to get a victory, this year the first win of the season came a lot sooner as SMU overcame three first-half mishaps to defeat North Texas 31-13. Quarterback Matt Davis finished the day with 296 total yards and four touchdowns — including a 50 yard touchdown run to make the score 24-13 in the fourth quarter. The defense forced four turnovers — including two forced fumbles by Andrew McCleneghen — that kept the Mustangs in the game until the offense was able to get on track.

Tulane Green Wave 0-2 (0-0)

Another match-up against an ACC team… another butt whooping. We thought last week was bad against Duke but in the 65-10 loss to Georgia Tech, Tulane never really put up much of a fight. The only player that came ready to play was running back Lazedrick Thompson who finished the day with 74 yards on 13 carries… too bad the team got so far behind and had to stop running the ball.

Sports Q&A AAC Player of the Week:

Greg Ward Jr. Quarterback Houston: Pulling off the upset over Louisville was a great feat for the Cougars quarterback — and doing it on the road made it more impressive as Ward Jr. showed the poise and moxy of a veteran quarterback in leading the go-ahead scoring drive with under five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Game of Week 3:

Tulsa vs. Oklahoma The battle between two undefeated in-state rivals could get interesting if Tulsa can continue to move the ball as it has the first two weeks of the season. Oklahoma is coming off a tough win over Tennessee and could be looking past the smaller conference opponent. If the Sooners make the mistake of doing that Dane Evans and company could make things difficult for the Sooner faithful, unfortunately I don’t see it working that way, and while it will be a competitive game, Oklahoma pulls away late. Oklahoma 41  Tulsa 28

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