UCF continued to roll on Saturday night, easily handling ECU 63-21. The 5-0 Knights are now ranked No. 20 and will head to Annapolis this weekend for a big matchup with Navy. Before looking ahead, what else went down in the AAC in week seven?
USF: The No. 16 Bulls (6-0, 3-0 AAC) appear to finally be clicking, as they picked up another blowout win this week. USF took down Cincinnati by a score of 33-3 on Saturday night, using a 30-0 run to pull away. Defense and special teams were key, as senior Auggie Sanchez came up with a 65-yard pick six and senior Emilio Nadelman connected on four field goals. Up Next: at Tulane
Temple: It was another unfortunate week for the defending AAC champion Owls (3-4, 1-3 AAC). They fell 28-24 to UConn despite holding the Huskies to 244 yards. Sophomore Logan Marchi threw for 356 yards and a touchdown, but completed just 33 of his 54 passes. Two fourth quarter touchdowns weren’t enough for Temple to complete the comeback. Up Next: at Army
East Carolina: The Pirates (1-6, 1-3 AAC) faced long odds coming into Saturday’s game at UCF and proved those odds to be correct. ECU fell 63-21 in a game that was never competitive. The Pirates broke off a couple of big plays, but just couldn’t hang with the Knights offense that finished with 603 yards. Up Next: vs. BYU
Cincinnati: The Bearcats (2-5, 0-3 AAC) had another rough week, falling 33-3 to USF. They held the Bulls to just two offensive touchdowns, but couldn’t get anything going on offense. Junior Hayden Moore completed 16 of his 28 attempts for 147 yards before being replaced. Up Next: vs. SMU
UConn: The Huskies (2-4, 1-3 AAC) broke an eight-game conference losing streak with a 28-24 win over Temple. Senior Bryant Shirreffs threw for three touchdowns in the win, helping his team get out to a 28-14 lead after three quarters. The defense allowed 10 points in the fourth, but ultimately held on for the win. Up Next: vs. Tulsa
Navy: Despite coming in at No. 25, the Midshipmen (5-1, 3-1 AAC) were upset 30-27 by Memphis. Junior Zach Abey rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns on 37 carries, but completed just one of his seven passes and threw two interceptions. Navy took a 19-17 lead midway through the third, but the Tigers scored 13 straight to take a commanding lead. Up Next: vs. No. 20 UCF
Houston: The Cougars (4-2, 2-1 AAC) had an extremely poor showing this weekend, losing 45-17 to Tulsa. They led 10-7 at halftime, but allowed 38 points in the second half while watching the offense sputter. Senior Dillon Birden ran for 82 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Up Next: vs. No. 25 Memphis
Memphis: The Tigers (5-1, 2-1 AAC) have recovered awfully well from their blowout loss at UCF. Last week, it was a 70-point performance against UConn. This week, it was a 30-27 upset win at No. 25 Navy. Senior Riley Ferguson threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns. As a result of the upset, Memphis took Navy’s spot at No. 25 in the AP Poll this week. Up Next: at Houston
SMU: The Mustangs (4-2, 1-1 AAC) were off this week. Up Next: at Cincinnati
Tulane: The Green Wave (3-3, 1-1 AAC) fell 23-10 at FIU on Saturday. Senior Dontrell Hilliard went for 90 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, but the Tulane defense allowed 438 yards on the day. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak. Up Next: vs. No. 16 USF
Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane (2-5, 1-2 AAC) used a 38-7 second half advantage to beat Houston 45-17 on Saturday. The defense had its first solid showing of the year, while the offense came alive in the second half. Senior D’Angelo Brewer rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Houston Up Next: at UConn
What does this all mean for UCF?
The Knights continued their impressive season on Saturday with yet another blowout victory. UCF is still a frontrunner in the conference and very little happened elsewhere to change anything about the rest of the scene. The AAC East is still a mess apart from UCF and USF, as Temple fell from middle-of-the-pack to bottom-dweller with a bad loss to UConn. It’s still obvious that the Black Friday matchup between the Knights and Bulls will decide the division.
In the AAC West, there was somewhat of a shakeup. Memphis is back to being the frontrunner after an upset win over Navy. The Midshipmen are still in the mix, while Houston took a big hit to its chances. The Tigers’ win made the upcoming game between UCF and Navy a little less interesting, as it was potentially going to be a top 25 showdown. With that said, it did retrospectively boost the Knights’ strength of schedule. Instead, through seven weeks, UCF, USF and Memphis are the top contenders for the AAC title.
One notable out-of-conference result that impacts the eventual AAC champion was San Diego State’s loss to Boise State. Due to that loss, whoever comes out of the AAC should have a clear shot at the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six Bowl bid.