After three full weeks of conference play, only two American Athletic Conference teams remain undefeated. Both SMU and Cincinnati picked up wins this weekend to move to 3-0 in AAC play. The wins propelled them up the AP rankings, where SMU now sits at No. 16 and Cincinnati is not far behind at No. 18. It seems like we are already set up for these two teams to meet in the AAC Championship in early December, but there is still a lot of football to be played. Teams like Temple, Memphis and Navy are trying to stay in the mix.
No. 19 SMU: 45 Temple: 21
Temple could not contain Shane Buechele and the SMU offense. Not even a little bit. Buechele found wide open receivers downfield all game and finished with a career-high 457 passing yards and six touchdowns.
Half of those touchdowns were caught by Reggie Roberson Jr., who also had a career day with eight catches for 250 yards. Xavier Jones was the Mustangs’ leading rusher with 105 yards on 29 carries. He also had a five-yard receiving touchdown.
This was a complete performance for SMU with the offense putting up ridiculous numbers (over 650 total yards), and the defense holding a solid Temple team, who upset ranked Memphis just a week before, to under 300 total yards and 21 points.
With the blowout win, the Mustangs moved to 7-0, which is their best start to a season since 1982. They will play Houston this Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
No. 21 Cincinnati: 24 Tulsa: 13
Cincinnati’s third conference win did not have as much flair as SMU’s, but the Bearcats still got the job done to move to 6-1 on the season.
After leading rusher Michael Warren II left the game with an injury, Gerrid Doaks stepped into a bigger role. He did so with ease, scoring all three of Cincinnati’s touchdowns.
Doaks rushed 17 times for 91 yards and two touchdowns, and he also caught a screen pass from Desmond Ridder and ran it 28 yards for the score.
Tulsa’s offense actually outgained Cincinnati, but the Bearcats were able to force five turnovers. The Golden Hurricane’s quarterback Zach Smith had a rough day, throwing two interceptions and fumbling the ball three times. Tulsa fell to 2-5 with the loss and have yet to win a conference game.
Next, the Bearcats have their bye week and will resume AAC play against East Carolina on Nov. 2.
Memphis: 47 Tulane: 17
If not for Buechele’s insane performance this week, we would be talking about Brady White as the star of the week in the conference. The Memphis quarterback threw for 358 yards and five touchdowns in the rout of Tulane, his best game of the season.
Still, White didn’t even have the most impressive stat line for Memphis. That belonged to Kenneth Gainwell, the redshirt freshman running back. He finished with three touchdowns and 307 yards of total offense. Gainwell rushed 18 times for 104 yards and a touchdown while also catching nine passes for 203 yards and two more scores.
With his ridiculous game, Gainwell became the first FBS player since Troy Edwards in 1997 to have 200 receiving yards and 100 rushing yards in a game. It was a truly historical performance.
There was not much history on Tulane’s side of the ball, as Justin McMillan threw three interceptions and led the team to its lowest point total since Week 2 at Auburn. The Green Wave was completely outmatched.
Memphis came back with a vengeance after being upset by Temple and getting knocked out of the Top 25 as a result. On Saturday, the Tigers will try to make their case for being ranked again against Tulsa.
Danny Barletta is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @dbars_12.