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Around The American - Week 6 Football Recap

It was a very good week for USF, but pretty horrible for the conference as a whole.

NCAA Football: Houston at Navy
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

We aren’t even at the halfway point in the regular season, and conference play has barely begun, but already The American has been turned upside down. Its chances of landing a team in the College Football Playoff are almost zero, and there’s a very good chance they won’t even earn the New Year’s Six bowl bid. Because...

Navy 46, Houston 40

The Middies pulled off a massive upset in the rain in Annapolis, taking down the sixth-ranked Cougars. Navy didn’t really try to challenge Houston’s massive defensive tackle, Ed Oliver. Instead, quarterback Will Worth kept the ball 32 times, running outside and away from Oliver. He picked up 115 yards, part of Navy’s 306 rushing yards on 64 attempts. It was enough to keep the Midshipmen ahead of the chains and sustain drives.

Meanwhile, Houston gave away points with critical mistakes. Greg Ward, Jr. threw for 359 yards and two touchdowns, but had two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Josiah Powell to give Navy a 41-27 lead. The Cougars also missed an extra point and mishandled a punt snap in their own end zone that led to a safety.

This loss all but ends Houston’s hopes of crashing the College Football Playoff and may concede the edge for the Group of Five’s big bowl bid to either Boise State or Western Michigan. Plus, it’s possible Houston may not even win their own division. Navy has the tiebreaker if both teams finish 7-1 in the league, and the Cougars still have to play at Memphis to finish the regular season. And if Houston doesn’t emerge as the division winner, USF might have tiebreaker wins of its own over Memphis and Navy to secure home-field advantage for the conference title game. It was a great result for the Bulls, but the league took a serious hit with Houston’s loss.

Memphis 34, Temple 27

One of USF’s only serious competitors for the East Division crown stumbled Thursday night as the Tigers shook off a miserable first-half performance. Doroland Dorceus ran 71 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter to tie the game at 13. Two plays later, Genard Avery intercepted Philip Walker and ran it back 23 yards for another score to put Memphis ahead. Later, after a long Temple touchdown pass on a broken play, Tony Pollard returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for the Tigers’ first kick return touchdown since 1996.

Memphis did a good job limiting Temple’s running game, but gave up a whopping 445 passing yards to Walker, repeatedly conceding the same sideline outs and hitches over and over again. The Owls also missed a 26-yard field goal, and besides Dorceus’s long touchdown and a 28-yard run by Darrell Henderson (in which he stepped out of bounds on his way to the end zone), the Tigers only ran for 50 yards.

Connecticut 20, Cincinnati 9

I was speculating about it before the season, and after yesterday I think it’s here, everyone. We’ve reached the Tommy Tuberville Give-Up Event Horizon. In Saturday’s game at UConn, not even Hayden Moore’s return to the lineup could spark the Bearcats, who settled for three early field goals before giving up the last 20 poins of the game. Cincinnati had exactly two (2) rushing yards, didn’t score a touchdown, and allowed Arkieff Newsome to have his first 100-yard game of the season despite not playing in the first quarter.

The Bearcats are 3-3 and still have decent bowl prospects. However, at 0-3 in conference play they already have no chance of winning the league title. UConn is USF’s next opponent, but with the Civil ConFLiCT game the following week, the Huskies might be caught looking past the Bulls.

Tulsa 43, SMU 40 (OT)

The Golden Hurricane won a back-and-forth game when Dane Evans scrambled 14 yards for a touchdown in overtime. Tulsa cut their rotation way down on Friday night, with only seven offensive players responsible for all of their 562 yards from scrimmage. D’Angelo Brewer was again the workhorse running back, carring 38 times for 182 yards and a touchdown. (He had 46 carries against Fresno State two weeks ago in their huge rally from a 31-0 deficit.) Josh Atkinson caught 11 passes for 115 yards, while Keevan Lucas had 12 catches for 113.

Although there were plenty of stops, the two teams traded scores almost the entire night. The only consecutive scores by one team were a field goal and a touchdown near halftime that gave Tulsa a 23-20 lead. SMU had a 1st and 10 at the Tulsa 14 with a chance to win the game in the final minute, but had to settle for a tying 25-yard field goal with three seconds left.

P.S. Salute to this Tulsa student:

UCF vs. Tulane, postponed

Hurricane Matthew’s forecast path threatened Orlando too much to allow the game to be played Friday night. It was rescheduled for November 5, previously a bye week for both teams.

Current Standings

East Division
East Carolina
West Division