Sports Q&A: AAC Quick Hits- Week 7

 Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Temple, Memphis and Houston remain undefeated as Week 7 of the college football season came to a close. And with these three teams already having had defeated a Power 5 conference team in the non-conference people are starting to wonder if one goes undefeated could they crash the College Football Playoffs. With the upset victory over Ole Miss Saturday, some believe that Memphis has the best chance to do so.

EAST DIVISION:

Cincinnati Bearcats 3-3 (0-2)

The Bearcats surrendered a 14 point lead in the second quarter on the way to a 38-24 loss to the BYU Cougars on Saturday. The offense was ineffective rushing and passing the ball and while Mike Boone led the team with 53 yards on nine carries, the team only had 121 total rushing yards. Part of the reason for the low output was attributed to the yards lost as quarterback Hayden Moore was sacked eight times on the day. Moore only fared slightly better as a passer as he only completed 50% of his passes for 219 yards. Running back Tion Green did get his first touchdown pass of his career on a one-yard trick play to give the Bearcats the 10-0 lead in the first quarter.

East Carolina Pirates 4-2 (2-1)

The Pirates jumped out to a 23-0 lead over West Division foe Tulsa and never looked back on the way to the 30-17 victory. James Summers (11-of-16 127 yards and one touchdown) and Blake Kemp (8-of-12 for 78 yards) both contributed to the win from the quarterback position and it looks like ECU is trying to do some real damage in the AAC despite its non-conference struggles. Chris Hairston rushed for 82 yards and Davon Grayson had 82 yards on four catches to provide a spark for the ECU offense. Cornerback Josh Hawkins stole the momentum from the Golden Hurricane with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown during the opening drive for Tulsa and it seemed as if the team could never recover.

Temple Owls 6-0 (3-0)

Jahad Thomas had a nice bounce back game with 199 yards and three touchdowns as The Owls easily defeated the struggling UCF Golden Knights 30-16. The Temple offense was able to lean on its rushing attack as quarterback PJ Walker had only an average performance as he passed for 149 yards and one touchdown. The Owls defense held its own as well limiting UCF to 134 total yards, forcing two interceptions by Tyler Matakevich and Sean Chandler and not allowing an offensive touchdown.

UConn Huskies 3-4 (1-2)

Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs passed for a career-high 365 yards — he was also the leading rusher with 100 on 19 carries — but it wasn’t enough as the UConn Huskies came up short against the USF Bulls, 28-20. When you look at the stat sheet you have to wonder how UConn lost the game as they outgained the Bulls 528-461, forced more turnovers (two to one) and won the time-of-possession battle by almost 10 minutes 34:51 – 25:09. For the third straight game cornerback Jamar Summers intercepted a pass, but it seemed as if whenever the Huskies needed a big stop defensively they could not get one.

USF Bulls 3-3 (1-1)

Coming off the upset of Syracuse the Bulls were looking to keep the momentum going against the UConn Huskies, and even though it did get tight for a moment, USF escaped from Connecticut with a 28-20 victory. Quinton Flowers got the job done as he had 255 total yards and three touchdowns. Marlon Mack continued to show why he is one of the best backs in the league as he rushed for 113 yards. Despite giving up 365 yards passing, the USF defense only allowed one score through the air and freshman defensive end Kevin Bronson showed off his hands by intercepting a pass.

UCF Golden Knights 0-7 (0-3) 

Another game… another loss. This time, UCF fell to Temple 30-16. Since returning to the lineup, quarterback Justin Holman has not been playing with a lot of confidence and it continued on Saturday as he only had 67 yards on 10-of-31 completions and two interceptions. The run game did not fare much better as C.J. Jones rushed for only 37 yards on 19 carries. The only touchdown was scored by the UCF defense — an 81-yard interception return by defensive back Shaquill Griffin in the second quarter. It hurts to even consider this, but could George O’Leary be on the hot-seat in Orlando?

West Division:

Houston Cougars 6-0 (3-0)

The first game as a ranked team was a cakewalk for the No. 24 ranked Cougars as they easily defeated Tulane 42-7. Even with missing three offensive line starters the offense racked up 461 total yards. Greg Ward Jr. continues to show why he is one of the better quarterbacks in the nation with a 222 passing yard, 77 rushing yard and four touchdown performance. Demarcus Ayers led the receivers with six catches for 93 yards as the game was pretty much over halftime. The defense made sure to leave its mark as well as it forced as many punts as it allowed first downs (11.) Safety Trevon Stewart had five tackles and two sacks to lead the charge defensively.

Memphis Tigers 6-0 (2-0)

Everything needs to come together to pull off an upset and for the Memphis Tigers, thats exactly what happened in the 37-24 victory over No. 13 ranked Ole Miss. Quarterback Paxton Lynch had the game of his life as he passed for 384 yards and three touchdowns; while these may not be career high’s, the level of competition he faced in the “land shark defense” of the Rebels made the stats more impressive. The Tigers also found balance in the run game as Jarvis Cooper rushed for 76 yards on 17 carries and Doroland Dorceus added 22 yards on five carries. Sophomore receiver Anthony Miller was the primary target of Lynch and caught 10 passes for 132 yards. But the defense held its own against the SEC power as well as it limited the Rebels to only 40 yards rushing and 4-0f-13 third-down conversions — defensive backs Dion Witty and Arthur Maulet each had interceptions as well.

Navy Midshipmen 4-1 (2-0)

no game scheduled

Tulsa Golden Hurricane 3-3 (0-2)

Did Tulsa forget that it had a 12 pm game against ECU on Saturday? It wasn’t until the second half that the Golden Hurricane began to play with urgency, but by then the score was already 23-0 and out of hand.  Looking at the final stats you would wonder how Tulsa lost the game as it held the advantage in total yards (462-382) and  first downs (22-18) but after quarterback Dane Evans had a goal-line pass intercepted and returned for 100 yards on the opening drive, the entire offense appeared to lose confidence. After the costly turnover, Evans looked hesitant and went on to only complete 47% of his passes for 288 yards, one touchdown. Joshua Atkinson caught eight passes for 136 yards and Zach Langer rushed for 76 yards and one touchdown. Safety Mike Mudoh had 12 tackles and one tackle-for-loss for a defense that tried to hold things together, but eventually were overwhelmed by the ECU offense

SMU Mustangs 1-5 (0-2)

no game scheduled

Tulane Green Wave 2-4 (1-2)

Tulane went into the game against Houston shorthanded as it was without starting quarterback Tanner Lee, but I don’t even think he would have made much of a difference in the 42-7 loss to the Cougars. In his place, the duo of Devin Powell and Jordy Joseph combined to complete only 14-of-33 passes for 150 yards. Those numbers aren’t awful, but they aren’t going to lead you to an upset of a ranked team either. Dontrell Hilliard scored the only touchdown for Tulane on a three-yard run in the second quarter. Receiver Devin Breaux made the most of the inconsistencies at quarterback as he had 88 yards on three receptions — including a 51-yard bomb. Nico Marley did have one interception so the defense wasn’t completely listless on the afternoon.

Sports Q&A AAC Player of the Week:

Paxton Lynch Quarterback Memphis: Lynch showed why he is trending up some top quarterback draft prospect lists as he was able to do what he has done all season against a quality SEC opponent. When Memphis needed him to step up he did and his arm is why some think that Memphis will be the “Group of 5” representative this bowl season.

Game of Week 8:

 

Temple vs. ECU

Both have gone out of conference to pull off an upset over a “Power 5” conference team and it will be interesting to see how each will fare against a more familiar opponent. Will ECU be able to slow down Jahad Thomas? Will Temple be prepared schematically to handle the two-quarterback system that ECU Ruffin McNeill has implemented in his offense recently? Temple has the better team, but lately it seems as if quarterback PJ Walker is going through the motions and against the high-powered ECU offense, he will have to score to keep up… and that won’t happen. ECU 34 Temple 24

 

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