This week in American Athletic Conference football, there were four conference matchups, all of which were decided by at least 21 points. Navy and Cincinnati played non-conference opponents, while USF and Houston had the week off.
After their first loss in conference play last week at USF, Navy went back to Florida for a neutral site game against Notre Dame. The Irish (3-6) had won five straight in the rivalry coming into this weekend’s edition. Navy (6-2, 4-1 the American) scored a rushing touchdown in every quarter on their way to a 28-27 win. The Midshipmen ran for 320 yards and only attempted eight passes in the game. Senior quarterback Will Worth ran for 175 yards and completed a crucial fourth down pass late in the game to seal the victory. Navy received two votes in this week’s AP Top 25 Poll after the win, just behind USF’s three votes.
In the other non-conference matchup, Cincinnati hosted Brigham Young in a matchup of two Big 12 expansion candidates. BYU won the game handily, holding the Bearcats to three points in a 20-3 win. Cincinnati (4-5, 1-4 the American) falls below .500 overall for the first time this season, and sits 3.5 games back from division-leading Temple.
Temple took care of business at UConn on Friday night, winning 21-0 behind three touchdowns in the first quarter. The Owls (7-3, 5-1 the American) held UConn to 160 yards of total offense while rushing for 216 yards on offense. The victory gave Temple sole possession of first place in the East Division with USF idle.
Tulsa kept pace with Navy as they beat ECU 45-24 at home. The Golden Hurricane (7-2, 4-1 the American) were led by 274 yards passing from senior quarterback Dane Evans, and 361 combined yards rushing from James Flanders and D’Angelo Brewer. ECU (3-6, 1-4 the American) threw for 436 yards in the game but could not stop Tulsa on defense. Tulsa remains tied for first place with Navy in the West Division.
Memphis traveled to SMU to battle the Mustangs for fourth place in the West Division. After suffering back-to-back losses in the last two weeks, the Tigers got back on track and won the game 51-7. Memphis (6-3, 3-2 the American) junior wide receiver Anthony Miller caught four passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns, and the Tigers defense recovered two fumbles from SMU quarterback Ben Hicks. The Mustangs (4-5, 2-3 the American) ended their two game winning streak and sit in fifth place in the West.
Tulane was held winless in conference play after losing 37-6 at UCF. The Knights (5-4, 3-2 the American) were led by their defense, as they held the Green Wave to six points and senior defensive back Drico Johnson returned two turnovers for touchdowns. Tulane (3-6, 0-5 the American) turned the ball over five times in the game, remaining the only team in the American winless in conference play.
Next week, Navy and Tulsa will play in a crucial battle for first place in the West that may determine who plays in the conference championship. Elsewhere, USF returns to action in Memphis and Cincinnati takes on UCF.
Josh Buser is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.