The clock is winding down on the NCAA football season and the American Athletic Conference (AAC) and there is still much left to be decided.
Last week’s featured game was a face-off of two West-Division powers, Southern Methodist University and Navy. Both teams were trying to keep themselves mathematically alive to represent the West in the Conference Championship. In a close-fought affair, the Midshipmen toppled the Mustangs, 43-40.
Next Week, everyone in the West is an SMU fan with hopes that they’ll bring No. 18 (AP) Memphis down to the rest of the pack what could be easily labeled as the featured game of the week in the conference. The Tigers would still need to lose to East Carolina University the following week in order miss out on winning the division, but the law of “Any Given Saturday” is in effect — it may happen (but likely not). While Navy did keep themselves alive, they face No. 9 (AP) Notre Dame. Beating the Irish would be a colossal feat that could lift the entire AAC, but this likely will leave the Midshipman relegated to the role of spoiler for the rest of the season.
Out East, No. 14 (AP) UCF put a muzzle on the UConn Huskies, rolling to a 49-24 win. This means so long as they and No. 23 (AP) USF continue to win, their game on Nov. 24 will continue to decide the East representative in the AAC Championship game. Although, both the Knights and the Bulls will need to continue their winning ways. UCF will have to top Temple to hold the lead while the Bulls must charge through Tulsa to keep their hopes alive.
In individual conference honors, Offensive Player of the Week goes to Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry for his epic role in the win over SMU. The sophomore signal caller recorded a single-game AAC record with 282 yards rushing in the win. He achieved this on 33 carries while lighting the scoreboard on four touchdowns. This performance featured a 91-yard jet that set down for six.
Defensive Player of the Week went to Tulane linebacker Rae Juan Marbley. Marbley helped the Green Wave hold off ECU in an overtime win with a team-high 12 tackles with two for a loss. Two of those stops were during the goal line stand that decided the contest.
The Special Teams Player of the Week nod goes to kick returner and wide receiver Isiah Wright of Temple. Not only did he blaze 98-yard jaunt to paydirt on a kickoff, Wright posted a two-point conversion with 154 all-purpose yards to help the Owls fly past the Cincinnati Bearcats.
N0.23 USF will kick-off the conference slate with a home matchup against Tulsa (2-8) Thursday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN.