1. East Carolina (6-2, 3-1; LW: 1): East Carolina held Temple to 135 total yards and rolled up 428 yards of offense, but lost 20-10 to Temple. Shane Carden threw for 217 yards and managed to get the Pirates 30 first downs, but came out flat and found themselves down 14-0 after the first quarter in a rainstorm. East Carolina fumbled the ball five times and had a field goal blocked. The Pirates also had over 100 yards in penalties. The loss throws a wrench in the AAC standings, but the Pirates have a chance to get on the right track against Cincinnati after a bye week. The rain was a huge factor here, which is why I don’t think ECU lets this affect them that much overall.
2. Houston (5-3, 3-1; LW: 3): It was just 7-0 at the half, but Houston stepped on the gas in the second half and beat USF 27-3. Kenneth Farrow rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and had a touchdown reception, but the story was the Houston defense holding USF to 222 total yards. Greg Ward only threw for 89 yards, but completed 15-of-19 passes for a touchdown and played turnover-free football. The Cougars have Tulane at home this weekend. Greg Ward’s safe play has the Cougars jumping to #2 in the rankings while UCF continues to have QB issues.
3. Memphis (5-3, 3-1; LW: 4): Brandon Hayes rushed for 199 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries, including a key 51-yard TD with 14 seconds left in the first half that gave the Tigers a lead they would not relinquish. Hayes almost had his second consecutive 100-yard game, but it didn’t matter. Memphis took the lead and never looked back, winning 40-20. Paxton Lynch and the Tigers’ rushing attack is looking good. No problems on offense so I have no problem with them jumping UCF too.
4. UCF (5-3, 3-1; LW: 2): Another AAC power went down this weekend as Connecticut beat UCF 37-29. Justin Holman threw four interceptions on the day and even with those four picks, still lost by just eight points. UCF regained the lead in the third quarter, but it was all Huskies after that. UCF gave up 21 unanswered points, sealing their fate.
5. Temple (5-3, 3-2; LW: 6): With a monster game from Praise Martin-Oguike, the AAC defensive player of the week, Temple upset East Carolina 20-10. Martin-Oguike finished the game with four tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and a blocked field goal. Even though P.J. Walker was a miserable 7-of-19 for under 100 yards, the Owls got it done and now host Memphis this weekend.
6. Cincinnati (5-3, 3-1; LW: 5): Tulane scored two touchdowns in the third, but Munchie Legeaux and the Bearcats scored two more TDs after to put the nail in the coffin for a 38-14 win. Cincinnati featured a balanced attack with two 110-yard rushers and a defense that came up big on third downs, holding Tulane to 3-of-13. The Bearcats did turn the ball over three times, but were able to hold on. The Bearcats are off this week before a big Thursday night matchup against East Carolina that could knock the Bearcats out of the AAC championship race.
7. South Florida (3-6, 2-3; LW: 7): Steven Bench had another rough outing, throwing for 147 yards and didn’t get much of anything going on offense. The QB situation is up in the air in Tampa again, but Marlon Mack isn’t getting any room to run, rushing for 47 yards. The South Florida defense didn’t play that badly, but the offense just has nothing going on now. The Bulls have a bye before facing SMU.
8. Connecticut (2-6, 1-4; LW: 10): Andrew Adams had the game of his life, grabbing three interceptions from USF in the Huskies upset win over the Knights. Connecticut didn’t do anything special, having 327 yards of offense and going 4-of-15 on third downs. The Huskies turned it on in the third quarter, scoring two touchdowns and adding another in the beginning of the fourth to pull away. Connecticut heads to Army this weekend.
9. Tulsa (1-7, 1-3; LW: 8): Tulsa built a 14-3 lead, but gave up 30 unanswered points on the way to a 40-20 loss to Memphis. Dane Evans had a big day through the air and faces an SMU secondary that just got torched by Paxton Lynch. Tulsa can attach SMU’s secondary and go after the banged up SMU defensive backfield. The Golden Hurricane will have to cut out the penalties after taking 11 for 111 yards last week.
10. Tulane (2-6, 1-3; LW: 9): Tulane laid down pretty quickly for Cincinnati, surrendering 24 points in the first half en route to a 38-14 loss. The Green Wave got a nice game on the ground from Dontrell Hilliard, but couldn’t capitalize on three Bearcats turnovers. Tanner Lee also had a good game at quarterback, throwing for 205 yards and a TD. Tulane heads to Houston this weekend.
11. SMU (0-7, 0-3; LW: 11): SMU was off this week, but has a real opportunity at their first win with Tulsa this week. The Golden Hurricane has really struggled, at just 1-7 on the year. SMU has had two weeks to fix mistakes from their rough game against Memphis. Matt Davis and Garrett Krstich could see time again, but whether or not the SMU offense can actually get anything going is another story.