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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Football

State of the AAC: More teams open their seasons as others await their turn


The home opener for the 2020 UH football season is set for Sept. 26 against North Texas. | Chris Charleston/The Cougar

The home opener for the 2020 UH football season is set for Sept. 26 against North Texas. | Christopher Charleston/The Cougar

The 2020 college football season is off to a slow crawl as many football programs around the nation, including UH, have yet to play their first game.

But this is not the case for most of the American Athletic Conference, however, as a majority of the AAC teams have kicked off their campaigns.

Here’s a look at how AAC teams performed during week three of the college football season:

Cincinnati (1-0)

No. 14 Cincinnati opened their season with a home victory over Austin Peay, beating the opposition 55-20. With over 500 yards of total offense and 8 touchdowns, the Bearcats cruised to an easy victory.

Cincinnati looks to carry their momentum into this Saturday’s home game against No. 22 Army.

Memphis (1-0)

No. 17 Memphis recently canceled their game against UTSA that was scheduled for this Friday as the team still works to contain a team-wide outbreak of COVID-19. The matchup will not be rescheduled.

This marks the second consecutive game Memphis has had to cancel after they postponed last week’s scheduled game against UH.

As it currently stands, Memphis’ next scheduled game is at SMU on Oct. 3.

Navy (1-1, 1-0 AAC)

Navy made history in their first conference game of the season, overcoming a 24-0 halftime deficit to defeat Tulane.

Sophomore kicker Bijan Nichols kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to complete the comeback, giving Navy a 27-24 victory.

This marked the largest comeback in school history.

Junior linebacker Diego Fagot was named AAC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in the win. Fagot had nine tackles, including a sack, and two pass breakups.

Navy is next scheduled to play at Air Force on Oct. 3.

SMU (2-0)

SMU won a slugfest against North Texas 65-35, led by their senior quarterback Shane Buechele, who had 344-yards passing and five total touchdowns in the win.

Buechele moved into fourth on SMU’s career list with seven 300-yard passing games and fifth in career touchdowns with 39.

The Mustangs are scheduled to host SFA on Saturday.

Tulane (1-1, 0-1 AAC)

Up 24-0 at the half, it appeared as if Tulane was on its way to opening up the season 2-0, but things quickly changed.

A late second quarter interception would be the beginning of Tulane’s decline and turn the tide in Navy’s favor.

The Midshipmen controlled the second half, outgaining the Green Wave 291 yards to 82, to score 27 unanswered points and hand Tulane its first loss of the season.

Tulane’s is set to take on Southern Mississippi on Saturday.

Tulsa (0-1)

Tulsa lost their season opener 16-7 against No. 15 Oklahoma State after surrendering 13 fourth-quarter points to the Cowboys.

A lack of third-down conversions and penalties were costly for Tulsa. The Golden Hurricanes went 0-for-12 on third downs and were flagged for 15 penalties that totaled 120 yards.

Tulsa’s next scheduled game is this Saturday at Arkansas State.

UCF (1-0)

The AAC preseason favorites opened up their season in a dominating fashion, defeating Georgia Tech 49-21.

Sophomore quarterback Dillon Gabriel led the way for the Golden Knights with 417 yards passing and four touchdowns, winning the AAC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in his career.

No. 13 UCF is scheduled to begin conference play Saturday when they visit East Carolina.

USF (1-1)

South Florida was blanked 52-0 by No. 7 Notre Dame this past Saturday afternoon.

The Bulls were unsuccessful in getting anything going offensively and were unable to control the run game of the Fighting Irish, allowing 281 rushing yards.

The Bulls look to bounce back Saturday at Florida Atlantic.

East Carolina

East Carolina is set to begin their season this Saturday when they host conference opponent No. 13 UCF.

The Pirates lead the all-time series 10-8, but have lost their last four meetings against the Golden Knights.

Houston

Yet another season-opener was canceled for the Cougars after Baylor failed to meet the Big 12 COVID-19 minimum threshold requirements.

The game was canceled just 22 hours before kickoff and was meant to be a fill-in game for the Cougars after their matchup against No. 17 Memphis was canceled. The game is not expected to be rescheduled.

This is the fourth cancelation the Cougars have gone through in the 2020 season after Rice postponed their Sept. 3 matchup and the Pac-12 postponed football until the Spring, canceling Washington State’s Sept. 12 matchup against Houston.

The Cougars are currently scheduled to start their season this Saturday when they host North Texas.

Temple

Temple does not have any non-conference teams on their schedule this year so the Owls still have to wait a few more weeks before their season opener.

This extra time has allowed Temple to address their quarterback issue.

Head coach Rod Carey recently voiced his preference in a zoom conference about playing just one quarterback throughout the season after playing the 2019 season with redshirt sophomore Todd Centeio playing about one series per half.

He reiterated that last season’s starter Anthony Russo is currently the starter for the 2020 season but said that there is strong competition at the position.

Temple will begin their season on Oct. 10 when they visit Navy.

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