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Around The American - Week 10 Football Recap

The West Division narrows to a two-team race, and neither is who you expected in September. Meanwhile, two coaches in the East Division are pretty much toast.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame vs Navy
Navy’s Will Worth carries the ball against Notre Dame, who is 3-6.
Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

USF was one of two teams in The American with the weekend off (Houston was the other). Here’s how the other 10 teams in the league did:

Navy 28, Notre Dame 27

In Jacksonville, the Midshipmen kept the ball for the last 8:24 of the game to salt away a one-point win over Notre Dame, who is 3-6. Navy converted two fourth downs along the way, including one from their own 47-yard line. Will Worth carried 28 times for 175 yards and two touchdowns, and threw a 15-yard pass to Jamir Tillman on 4th and 6 to finish the game.

For Notre Dame, who is 3-6, DeShone Kizer threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns. Torii Hunter Jr. caught 104 yards in passes. Notre Dame, who is 3-6, had only six possessions in the game, the fewest possessions by an FBS team in a game since 2008. They scored on five of them. But like they do to everyone, Navy played keepaway from Notre Dame, who is 3-6, and beat them for the first time since 2010. Brian Kelly has now matched Charlie Weis in losing to Navy twice as the coach of Notre Dame, who is 3-6.

Tulsa 45, East Carolina 24

The Golden Hurricane continued to stay in the West Division title race with a comprehensive win over reeling East Carolina. James Flanders ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns, D’Angelo Brewer added 180 rushing yards with a score, and Dane Evans threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns. Tulsa’s rotation is incredibly small (only four receivers caught passes) and they’ve not had serious injury problems this year, allowing them to maximize production out of their small group of quality offensive players.

Philip Nelson left the game in the second quarter for East Carolina and did not return. (We couldn’t find any reports that he was injured.) Gardner Minshew II threw for 300 yards in his absence, but he could not overcome a 17-point deficit or his own defense, which allowed 616 total yards.

Tulsa visits Navy this Saturday in a game that will probably decide the West Division title. ECU is 3-6, just like Notre Dame, and their fans are in such a state that some of them are pining for the return of Skip Holtz.

Temple 21, UConn 0

The Owls kept their East Division lead by shutting out the completely unraveled Huskies. Speaking of Skip Holtz, Bob Diaco burned the redshirt of true freshman quarterback Donovan Williams in the ninth game of the year in a desperate attempt to make a bowl and/or save his own job. Having already demoted their offensive coordinator during the week, it was a recipe for disaster and it turned out to be just that. Williams only threw for 69 yards and played very cautiously, even though the Huskies were 21 points behind for most of the game. UConn managed only 160 yards from scrimmage and eight first downs, and they are the first team in the American to become ineligible for a bowl. Diaco’s gotta be in serious trouble here, but at least he might get his old job back as defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, who is 3-6.

Philip Walker threw for 215 yards and three touchdowns. Only two end zone interceptions by UConn’s Obi Meliwonfu prevented an even bigger blowout.

BYU 20, Cincinnati 3

Speaking of teams and coaches that are doomed, the Bearcats capitulated to BYU in a late-season non-conference matchup. The Cougars took control of the game with two long touchdown drives on either side of halftime blah blah blah TOMMY TUBERVILLE YELLED AT A FAN:

I know I predicted a Tuberville give-up/meltdown this year, but it wasn’t that hard to see coming. You had a high-priced head coach with diminishing yearly returns, and relatively high expectations in Cincinnati with a Big XII push going on in the background. Their only impressive game this season was against Purdue, which automatically made it unimpressive. Then the losing started, the pressure mounted, and now there’s been a complete collapse of the offense, the one thing the Bearcats used to be able to depend on. Cincinnati is 4-5, only one game better than Notre Dame, who is 3-6.

Tuberville apologized...

...and for some reason his athletic director backed his behavior...

...but yeah, this is over.

Note to Mark Harlan. If Willie Taggart leaves, be very, very careful if you think about going the retread coach route. This could happen to you.

UCF 37, Tulane 6

The Green Wave, who are the only winless team in conference play, actually gave the Knights a decent effort. They limited UCF to only 297 total yards (a total that included a cosmetic 80-yard scoring drive late) and trailed just 7-6 at halftime. But the Knights took control in the second half with three defensive touchdowns. Drico Johnson had two of them, a 30-yard fumble return and an 86-yard interception return.

I know I’ve piled on Glen Cuiellette a lot this year, but my God is he just wretchedly bad. He was 5-for-21 for 68 yards and three interceptions, and he was their worst ballcarrier too, gaining just 18 yards on 11 carries. (On the plus side, he did punt twice for a 43-yard average.) Tulane runs the ball and controls the clock pretty well, and it seems like they’d be better than 3-6 (the same record as Notre Dame) if they didn’t have him under center screwing things up. Too bad Willie Fritz can’t swing a trade with UConn for Bryant Shirreffs, since UConn dumped him out of nowhere for their true freshman.

Memphis 51, SMU 7

USF’s next two opponents faced each other, and Memphis rebounded from a decisive loss to Tulsa by crushing the Mustangs in Dallas. The game was decided by halftime. The Tigers turned two Ben Hicks fumbles into touchdowns and ran a kickoff back for another score. Riley Ferguson threw four TD passes in the first half as Memphis rolled up a 38-7 lead going into the locker room. Two more field goals and a Doroland Dorceus touchdown run in the third quarter finished the scoring.

Ferguson completed 20 of 27 passes for 287 yards. Anthony Miller caught two of Ferguson’s touchdown passes and gained 102 receiving yards. For SMU, Hicks threw for 170 yards before coming out of the game with the outcome decided.

P.S. Notre Dame is 3-6.