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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Football

State of the AAC: Cincinnati stays perfect, SMU wins big


Sophomore wide receiver Nathaniel Dell and senior receiver Keith Corbin celebrate a touchdown against BYU. The Cougars fell to 2-2 in the AAC after its loss to Cincinnati. | Courtesy of UH athleticsSophomore wide receiver Nathaniel Dell and senior receiver Keith Corbin celebrate a touchdown against BYU. The Cougars fell to 2-2 in the AAC after its loss to Cincinnati. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Sophomore wide receiver Nathaniel Dell and senior receiver Keith Corbin celebrate a touchdown against BYU. The Cougars fell to 2-2 in the AAC after its loss to Cincinnati. | Courtesy of UH athletics

With conference play well underway in the American Athletic Conference, teams continue to fight to stay near the top of the AAC standings.

Here is how each AAC team who was in action this past weekend fared:

Houston (2-3, 2-2 AAC) vs No. 6 Cincinnati (6-0, 4-0)

Cincinnati, who entered Saturday’s contest against the Cougars as the No. 6 ranked team in the country, cruised to a 38-10 victory over Houston behind a strong rushing performance.

Senior running back Gerrid Doaks set the tone for the game early as he broke loose a 72-yard run on the Bearcats’ third offensive play of the game to get the ball all the way to the Houston 3-yard line.

Two plays later, Doaks capped off Cincinnati’s 84-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.

Cincinnati’s run game continued to give the Cougars defense problems for the rest of the game as the Bearcats rushed for a total of 342 yards. At the same time, Houston failed to sustain anything offensively.

Doaks finished the game with 184 rushing yards and a touchdown, and junior quarterback Desmond Ridder threw for 162 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 103 yards and three scores.

Cincinnati, who dropped to No. 7 in the latest AP Poll, looks to keep its playoff hopes alive against East Carolina on Nov. 13 while Houston will look to get back on track when it hosts USF on Saturday afternoon.

No. 18 SMU (7-1, 4-1) vs Temple (1-4, 1-4)

Temple was looking to pull off the upset over SMU, who came into the game ranked No. 18, Saturday afternoon but a dominant second half helped the Mustangs capture a 47-23 victory.

The Owls scored two first-quarter touchdowns to jump to an early lead and maintained it throughout the second quarter to go into the half up 13-10.

But SMU bounced back in the second half, outscoring the Owls 37-10 behind senior quarterback Shane Buechele’s three second-half passing touchdowns to secure a 47-23 win.

Buechele finished the game with 355 passing yards and four touchdowns. Senior receiver Kylen Granson had a big game with six catches for 149 yards and a touchdown.

The Mustangs, who dropped to No. 19 in the AP Poll, travel to Tulsa for a Saturday night matchup against the Golden Hurricanes while Temple travels to Orlando, Florida, to take on UCF that same evening.

USF (1-6, 0-5) vs Memphis (4-2, 3-2)

It appeared as if USF would get its first AAC win of 2020 as the Bulls led by double-digits late in the fourth quarter, but Brady White and the Tigers had other plans as the senior quarterback threw a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to erase the deficit and give Memphis a 34-33 victory.

USF led for almost the entire game as the Bulls jumped out to a 27-13 lead and were up 33-20 with 4:36 remaining in the game, but then things completely unraveled.

Trailing by 13 with under five minutes remaining in regulation, the Tigers needed just 1:17 to drive the ball 72 yards, which were finished off by White’s 10-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Sean Dykes.

The Memphis defense then forced a three-and-out to give its offense the ball back with 2:23 for a chance to win the game.

The Tigers’ offense delivered as they drove down 76 yards in 1:20 which was capped off when White found junior receiver Calvin Austin III for a 9-yard score to put Memphis up 34-33, a lead the Tigers held on to for the remaining 1:03 of the game.

White finished the game with 437 yards passing and four touchdowns, and Dykes led the Tigers in receiving with seven catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

Memphis will look to continue its momentum Saturday afternoon when it takes on Navy in Annapolis, Maryland, while USF comes to Houston to take on the Cougars Saturday afternoon.

Tulane (4-4, 2-4) vs East Carolina (1-5, 1-4)

It was all Tulane Saturday afternoon in Greenville, North Carolina, as the Green Wave dominated from the opening kickoff to the cruise to a 38-21 victory.

Tulane put up big numbers both through the air and on the ground. Freshman quarterback Michael Pratt threw for 216 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, sophomore running back Cameron Carroll led the Green Wave with 129 yards and two touchdowns, followed by his backfield mate senior Stephon Huderson, who ran for 89 yards.

While East Carolina did not get the victory, the Pirates had a big day through the air led by junior quarterback Holton Ahlers 351 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Junior receiver Blake Proehl had a massive game receiving for the Pirates, pulling in 13 receptions for 182 yards and two touchdowns.

Tulane looks to build off this win when it hosts Army on Saturday afternoon while East Carolina has a tough task ahead of them as it’s scheduled to face No. 7 Cincinnati on the road Saturday night.

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