No. 16 SMU: 34, Houston: 31
A late surge by Houston’s offense Thursday night was almost enough to topple the American West powerhouse SMU. Underdogs to the 16th ranked team in the country, Houston was boosted by two deep passing touchdowns late, both from Clayton Tune to Marquez Stevenson, for totals of 75 and 96 yards. With these scores, a key two-point conversion and a 40 yard field goal by Dalton Witherspoon, Houston was able to cut its deficit to just three points with 4:47 remaining in the game. After SMU punted, Houston was able to get two possessions to tie the game, but failed to convert both times, with Clayton Tune going 3-of-6 with a fumble lost in those drives.
SMU’s defense came up big Thursday, forcing two fumbles and giving the team excellent field position. The Mustangs were able to capitalize, scoring touchdowns on both. Overall, SMU was only able to gather 385 yards of offense compared to Houston’s 510. They relied on the run game heavily, with Xavier Jones and Ke’mon Freeman combining for 180 yards rushing. Throwing the ball, Shane Buechele completed 20 passes on 38 attempts, totaling 203 yards. He had two touchdowns and one interception, earning a measly 40.1 QBR.
Houston’s quarterback, Clayton Tune, was not any better, going 18-of-33 for 407 yards, although much of that was from the two deep ball touchdowns. He also threw an interception, for a QBR of 32.3. Mulbah Car was proficient, rushing 18 times for 136 yards on the day.
Houston falls to 3-5 on the season, and 1-3 in conference with a tough loss at home. SMU squeaked their way to an 8-0 start to the season, 4-0 in conference.
Memphis: 42, Tulsa: 41
Yet another tight game in The American this week, Tulsa suffered a gut-wrenching loss at home to a team in and out of the AP Top 25. Memphis jumped out to a 14-0 lead early on, but Tulsa stayed right with the Tigers afterwards, even climbing up to a three-point lead early in the 4th. After a big deep ball touchdown from Brady White to Damonte Coxie, Memphis took a one-point lead with plenty of time for Tulane. Zach Smith and the Tigers took a long, impressive drive down all the way to the Memphis 12 yard line, only for the kicker to miss the chip shot 29 yard field goal.
In a season like Tulsa’s with not too many highs and a ton of lows, this had to be down there with the worst of them. They put up a great fight against a great team, and fell just short in front of a home crowd. They dazzled with 584 yards of total offense. Quarterback Zach Smith threw for 309 yards, while the run game stacked up a whopping 275 yards.
On the flip side, Memphis had a decent game themselves, putting up 498 yards of offense and forcing two fumbles on defense. Brady White put up a statline of 277 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. The running backs, led by Kenneth Gainwell, attained 192 yards on the day.
Memphis improved to 7-1 and 3-1 in conference, and hopes to take down the division leading SMU next week. Tulsa slides down to 2-6 and 0-2 in conference. They have a rough couple weeks ahead of them, slated to play a good Tulane team and a still relevant UCF squad.
Tulane: 38, Navy: 41
How is it that Navy is now 6-1 with a quarterback with only four touchdowns on the season? By running the ball, of course.
Navy continues its impressive season with a victory over 5-3 Tulane, with a whopping 385 yards rushing compared to 68 yards in the air. While only two catches were made, Navy carried the ball 56 times throughout the game. Lead back Jamale Carothers attained 154 yards on just 14 carries for three touchdowns. Quarterback Malcolm Perry threw for 68 yards, a touchdown and an interception while rushing for 142 yards.
This typically unfavorable style of attack worked well for Navy, but Tulane had an offensive plan of their own. A more balanced strategy, Tulane racked up 290 yards passing and 187 yards rushing. After the first quarter, the game looked like a blowout, with Navy up 21-0 and three straight three-and-outs for Tulane. As the game went on, the Green Wave fought back, coming within three points after the 3rd quarter and tying the game with 1:01 to play. With limited time, Malcolm Perry and the Navy team led a drive down the field, capped by a game winning 48 yard field goal at the buzzer.
Navy, riding a four game win streak, travels to the Rent next week to take on the Huskies, then looks to two huge games against Notre Dame and SMU. Tulane, now sliding down to 5-3 from their 5-1 start, hopes to get back in the win column next week against 2-6 Tulsa.
Jonathan Synott is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org