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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Football

State of the AAC: A look at the standings through six weeks


UH sits atop the American Athletic Conference standings through six weeks with a 3-0 conference record and five straight wins overall. | Courtesy of UH athletics

UH sits atop the American Athletic Conference standings through six weeks with a 3-0 conference record and five straight wins overall. | Courtesy of UH athletics

The college football season is now six weeks in and the American Athletic Conference is starting to take shape in terms of the conference standings.

Let’s take a look at how the AAC fared out this week:

Houston (5-1, 3-0 AAC) at Tulane (1-5, 0-2 AAC)

UH won its fifth-straight game of the season with a 40-22 victory on the road against Tulane.

Junior quarterback Clayton Tune led the Cougars with 23 completions for 288 yards and three touchdowns.

Junior wide receiver Jeremy Singleton caught two touchdowns, finishing with three receptions for 62 yards in his return to his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Green Wave fought back from a 17-8 deficit to take a 22-17 lead in the third quarter.

The Cougars’ defense responded, holding Tulane scoreless for the rest of the game. The Cougars offense  scored 23 unanswered points from the 8:16 mark of the third quarter to close the victory for UH.

Temple (3-3, 1-1 AAC) at No. 5 Cincinnati (5-0, 1-0 AAC)

The Bearcats won their first conference game of the season with a 52-3 blowout victory over Temple, improving to 5-0 overall.

Senior quarterback Desmond Ridder threw 22 completions for 259 yards and three touchdowns, but it was junior running back Jerome Ford that stole the show with 15 carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Despite having just over 31 minutes of possession, Temple struggled to get anything going with the ball as Cincinnati’s defense forced three turnovers on the game.

The Bearcats’ dominance continues as they look to better their chances of staying undefeated and defending their conference title.

With the win and losses by Alabama and Penn State, Cincinnati rose to No. 3 in the AP Poll.

No. 24 SMU (6-0, 2-0 AAC) at Navy (1-4, 1-2 AAC)

The Mustangs pulled out a nail-biting 31-24 victory against the Navy Midshipmen led by junior quarterback Tanner Mordecai’s 30 completions for 342 yards and two touchdowns.

After SMU scored on its opening drive, Navy scored 21 unanswered points including a 20-yard fumble return for a touchdown by senior linebacker Diego Fagot.

The Mustangs answered the Midshipmen to tie the game at 21 at the half.

A low-scoring second half would ensue up until the Mustangs picked up a game-winning 22-yard touchdown pass from Mordecai to sophomore wide receiver Jordan Kerley with 8:19 left in the game.

SMU moved up one spot to No. 23 in the latest AP Poll.

East Carolina (3-3, 1-1 AAC) at UCF (3-2, 1-1 AAC)

UCF picked up its first conference win of the season with a last-minute 20-16 win at home against East Carolina.

The struggling Knights had their hands full through three quarters, as the Pirates held a 16-10 lead with 7:01 left in the fourth quarter.

After a quick UCF field goal to cut the lead to 16-13, the Knight regained possession and went 64 yards in 11 plays to set up a 1-yard rushing touchdown by sophomore running back Mark-Antony Richards with 23 seconds left in the game.

Sophomore running back Johnny Richardson led the way for the Knights with 16 carries for 104 yards and one touchdown run.

Memphis (3-3, 0-2 AAC) at Tulsa (2-4, 1-1 AAC)

The last conference game of the weekend saw two teams searching for their first conference win of the season, as Tulsa held on to defeat Memphis 35-29 at home.

A tight game through four quarters including a 14-13 lead for the Hurricane at halftime, Tulsa did not pull away until a 63-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Davis Brin to senior wide receiver Josh Johnson extended its lead to 28-13 with 9:55 left in the fourth quarter.

Memphis fought back late with two touchdowns in the last nine minutes of the game, but it was not enough to complete the comeback.

The receiving for both teams was on full display as Memphis senior wide receiver Calvin Austin III finished the game with 13 receptions for 200 yards and one touchdown, while Tulsa’s Johnson caught eight passes for 140 yards and one touchdown.

South Florida (1-4, 0-1 AAC)

South Florida was on its bye week this weekend but will return to action when it hosts Tulsa on Saturday, Oct. 16 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

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