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Saturday, December 9, 2023


State of the AAC: Looking back at week eight

UH quarterback Clayton Tune scrambles during the Cougars' victory over ECU. | James Schillinger/The Cougar

UH quarterback Clayton Tune scrambles during the Cougars’ victory over ECU. | James Schillinger/The Cougar

The American Athletic Conference is now heading into the latter half of the conference schedule as several programs continue to make their push to play in the AAC Championship game five weeks away.

Here is how the AAC fared this week:

Tulane (1-6, 0-3 AAC) at No. 21 SMU (7-0, 3-0)

SMU handled its business once again with a dominant 55-36 victory over Tulane at home to remain undefeated this season.

The Mustangs stomped on the Green Wave right out of the gate, posting a quick 17-0  first-quarter lead before heading to halftime up 31-7.

Tulane was more competitive heading into the second half as SMU outscored the Green Wave only 24-19 for the remainder of the game.

Junior quarterback Tanner Mordecai led the way for the Mustangs after completing 30 passes for 427 yards, three touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.

Senior running back Tre Siggers added to the Mustang attack with 15 carries for 81 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

Memphis (4-4, 1-3 AAC) at UCF (4-3, 2-2 AAC)

After a slow matchup between two programs trying to get back to the top of the AAC, UCF held off Memphis with a 24-7 victory to reach .500 in conference play.

The Knights jumped out to a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter. Then, Tigers scored on the ensuing possession to get on the board after a nine-play, 78-yard drive capped off by a 9-yard rushing touchdown from freshman running back Brandon Thomas.

A third Knights touchdown and a field goal in the fourth quarter pulled the game out of the reach for the Tigers, who now sit ninth in the conference standings.

UCF junior wide receiver Ryan O’Keefe recorded 81 total yards from scrimmage with one rushing touchdown and one passing touchdown on the day.

No. 2 Cincinnati (7-0, 3-0 AAC) at Navy (1-6, 1-4 AAC)

Cincinnati survived a close game on the road, taking down Navy 27-20 to remain perfect en route to keep the College Football Playoff hopes alive.

Cincinnati scored on four consecutive possessions spanning from the second and third quarters to lead 27-10. After, Navy cut the game to one possession late in the fourth quarter, just coming up short of completing the comeback.

Senior quarterback Desmond Ridder was held to under 200 yards passing for the second time this season, throwing 18 completions for 176 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

Junior tight end Josh Whyle was on the receiving end on both of Ridder’s touchdown passes, racking up 60 yards on four receptions for the day.

East Carolina (3-4, 1-2 AAC) at Houston (6-1, 4-0 AAC)

After a long weather delay pushed the game late into the night, Houston escaped with a 31-24  overtime victory over East Carolina to stay undefeated in conference play.

The Cougars held a 24-10 lead with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter until the Pirates turned the game on its head and scored two touchdowns in 1:16 to tie the game and send it into overtime.

Freshman running back Alton McCaskill recorded 12 carries for 60 yards including a 25-yard game-winning touchdown on the first play of overtime for the Cougars.

UH junior quarterback Clayton Tune finished the game with 19 completions for 169 yards and two touchdowns.

Temple (3-4, 1-2 AAC) at South Florida (2-5, 1-2 AAC)

South Florida picked up its first conference win of the season with a 34-14 home victory over Temple.

Junior running back Jaren Mangham opened the scoring for the Bulls inside the first minute of the game with a 1-yard rushing touchdown to take an early 7-0 lead.

The Bulls took control of the first half, carrying a 17-7 lead heading into the break.

After Temple scored a touchdown to open the third quarter and cut the deficit to 17-14, USF pulled away and never looked back, scoring 17 unanswered points to end the game.

Mangham dominated the Owls as he finished the game with 26 carries for 152 yards and touchdowns.

Tulsa (3-4, 2-1 AAC)

The Golden Hurricane are coming off the bye week to host Navy on Friday, Oct. 29 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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