The American Athletic Conference (AAC) was back in action and in the business of self-inflicting wounds. It was East vs. West as the Houston Cougars took down the Bulls of South Florida in a comeback win, 28-24. The Cougars not only knocked USF out of the list of “undefeated’s” but out of the AP Poll’s Top 25.
With the Bulls loss, the #15 Knights of Central Florida hold the lead in the East division as the final zero-loss team at 7-0. UCF has elevated in the national rankings and maintains their position in the driver’s seat to appear in the conference championship. USF is still in the hunt. If they beat Central Florida on November 24th in Orlando to conclude their season, they could find themselves in position to battle for the AAC crown.
The #22 Memphis Tigers still sit atop the West at 7-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of UCF. Second place belongs to Southern Methodist University at this point, but next on the Mustangs’ schedule is a three-week gauntlet hosting the Knights, playing at Navy, and traveling to face the Tigers. Should the Mustangs survive, they’ll be well rewarded with the opportunity to represent their side of the AAC.
The fate of SMU rests in the hands of the AAC Offensive Player of the week, quarterback D’Eriq King. King took over in the middle of the first quarter to lead his offense to the upset win over South Florida that was concluded by a game-winning drive in the closing seconds. This final series featured a conversion on fourth and 26 and a 20-yard run for six with 11 seconds on the clock. The signal-caller finished delivering 12-20 (60%) with 137 yards passing and a touchdown. He also recorded 83 yards rushing while breaking the plane on the ground twice.
UCF defensive back Mike Hughes gets the nod for another honor as the Special Teams Player of the Week. Hughes not only returned a kickoff 91 yards to glory but cemented himself as current the national leader in punt return average with 20.7 yards a game.
Speaking of returns, Defensive Player of Week honors go to a Memphis Tiger for the third week in a row. Linebacker Genard Avery recorded eight tackles on the night with 5.5 for a loss. He also recorded 3.5 sacks in his squad’s victory over Tulane.