At the end of Week 11 we still find the lone undefeated team in the conference fighting for national respect as Houston remains in the back end of the college football rankings. USF may have finally turned the corner as it defeated Temple to become bowl eligible. And there are some — specifically the CFP committee — that thinks Navy is the best team in the conference despite having a loss.
Cincinnati Bearcats 6-4 (3-3)
It’s easy to overcome three turnovers when you have 652 yards as Cincinnati did in the 49-38 victory over Tulsa. Gunner Keil passed for 386 yards and two touchdowns, but it was a one-yard touchdown by Mike Boone to make the score 49-31 that gave the team the cushion it needed to relax. Linebacker Eric Wilson led a battered defense with 14 tackles and Silverberry Mouhon also contributed with two sacks and three tackles for loss.
East Carolina Pirates 4-6 (2-4)
no game scheduled
Temple Owls 8-2 (5-1)
The Owls were bum rushed in the 44-22 loss to USF on Saturday and were handed its first conference loss of the season. After taking the early 7-0 lead, it seemed as everything went wrong for Temple and outside of a ten point stretch in the third quarter that cut the deficit to 31-20, The Owls were really never in the game. Leading rusher Jahad Thomas crossed the 1,000-yard plateau on the season but was held to only 65 yards on the day. PJ Walker also had it rough as he only completed 41% of his passes for 259 yards and threw a costly interception that gave the Bulls momentum in the first quarter.
UConn Huskies 5-5 (3-3)
no game scheduled
USF Bulls 6-4 (4-2)
Bowl Eligible!!! After three years of bad football, Coach Taggart finally has the Bulls on the right path and that culminated in the 44-22 victory over Temple Saturday. The win over the Owls was its first over a ranked team since 2011 and won’t be the last considering how the team is trending. Quinton Flowers has finally become the quarterback that USF fans have been looking for since former USF great Matt Grothe graduated. Flowers finished the game with 230 yards passing, 90 yards rushing, and three total touchdowns.Marlon Mack continued his domination of AAC opponents with a 230-yard performance of his own. Receiver Rodney Adams had a career day with 147 yards as well.
UCF Golden Knights 0-9 (0-5)
no game scheduled
Houston Cougars 10-0 (6-0)
Three consecutive touchdowns mixed in with two turnovers by Memphis helped the Cougars escape with the 35-34 victory. The win did come at a cost… Greg Ward Jr. was lost to an injury right before halftime, but luckily the Cougars’ backup Kyle Postma was prepared to go. The senior filled in nicely with a 236-yard and one touchdown passing performance. Demarcus Ayers had 127 yards on 13 catches and drew a key pass interference with 1:33 remaining in the game that set up the winning score. Linebacker Elandon Roberts had a monster game defensively as he finished with 18 tackles, one sack, and an interception.
Memphis Tigers 8-2 (4-2)
The Tigers are reeling after suffering its second consecutive loss. This time, it was a 35-34 loss to the Houston Cougars. After jumping out to a 20-0 lead, the wheels fell off for a Memphis team that had hopes of crashing the College Football Playoffs just two weeks ago. The Tigers were outscored in the second half 28-14, including 21 consecutive points in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Paxton Lynch passed for 278 yards but had an interception during a momentum-shifting stretch that saw a 20 point lead turn into a one-point loss in less than a quarter of play. Doroland Dorceus finished with 177 total yards and two touchdowns in the losing effort.
Navy Midshipmen 8-1 (6-0)
Keenan Russell became the NCAA all-time touchdown leader in the 55-14 victory over SMU. Reynolds ran for 137 yards and scored four times which catapulted him past Montee Ball on the list as the rushing touchdown king. Reynolds also had a 72-yard touchdown pass to Jamir Tillman on the way to tallying 484 total yards on the afternoon. In typical Navy fashion ,the Midshipmen dominated the time of possession by over 11 minutes and kept the ball away from an SMU offense that has shown the ability to put up points. 13 Navy running backs were given the chance to carry the ball in the blowout led by Chris Swain’s 73 yards on 16 carries.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane 5-5 (2-4)
The face pace Hurrican offense couldn’t outpace Cincinnati in the 49-38 loss on Saturday. The offense ran 91 total plays but was still outgained by Cincinnati 652-588. Dane Evans did his best to keep pace with Cincinnati as he passed for 375 yards and two touchdowns. Ramadi Warren had another great game rushing for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Despite Jeremy Brady, Matt Linscott, and Kerwin Thomas all finishing the game with double-digit tackles, the Tulsa defense could not stop the Cincinnati offense when it mattered the most.
SMU Mustangs 1-9 (0-6)
Stopping the run continues to be the issue for the Mustangs and it was very apparent in the 55-14 loss to Navy. The defense allowed 403 rushing yards — including 137 yards by quarterback Kennan Reynolds and was constantly pushed down the field by the Navy offensive linemen. The offense continues to struggle with not turning the ball over as quarterback Matt Davis had one interception while only completing 8-of-22 passes. Xavier Jones was the lone bright spot on the day as the freshman rushed for 45 yards on eight carries.
Tulane Green Wave 3-7 (1-5)
It’s always helpful when you can jump out of conference to get you a win and that’s what Tulane did as they defeated Army 34-31. The Green Wave rode big plays to victory as Teddy Veal scored on a 90-yard pass to start the scoring and Parry Nickerson had a 48-yard fumble recovery to build the lead to 21-7. In addition to the big passing play, Tanner Lee finished the game with 252 yards through the air. Dontrell Hilliard had another good game with 91 yards on 14 carries. The question now becomes can Tulane carry this non-conference success over into league play and finish strong?
Sports Q&A AAC Player of the Week:
Keenan Reynolds quarterback- NAVY: When you break a national record like Reynolds did, you have to be recognized for it. After scoring four touchdowns against SMU Reynolds is the king of the rushing touchdowns and has his team in position to crash a January 1 bowl game as a “Group of 5” representative. Reynolds also showed that if teams continue to load the box to stop the run he will hurt them with the pass.
Game of Week 11:
Memphis vs. Temple
A game that pits two struggling teams trying to right the ship before bowl season. The Owls still control their own destiny as they lead the AAC East Division, but they have to play better than what they have over the past two weeks if they want to win. Memphis defense has fallen on hard times and must find a way of getting stops when needed the most. Having the home field advantage and one of the best defenses in the nation gives Temple the edge in my book. Temple 38 Memphis 34