Week 3 in the AAC is in the books and now teams prepare for battle in Week 4 ahead. As the teams prepare for the conference schedule ahead, the non-conference tilt has not been good for all teams. Last week saw a couple of blowout losses as well as some close calls. Let’s take a look at what went down and a look ahead in the American Athletic Conference.
The “Battle of the Iron Skillet” this Saturday will be the 102nd meeting between SMU and TCU. The in-state battle promises to be one of the better battles in college football this coming weekend. The match-up between these two teams is part of the recruiting strategy each can use when wooing potential prospects. The last time these two teams played was Spet. 24 of last year with TCU coming out on top 42-34. The game will be televised nationally on FS1.
For SMU (2-1, 0-0), redshirt freshman QB, Preston Stone will be counted on to lead his AAC team. He has completed 62.7% of his passes for 798 yards, nine touchdowns, and two picks. In order to lead his team to the win, Stone will have to make sure to keep the mistakes to a minimum to keep this game competitive. The defense is led by SS Jonathan McGill and LB Ahmad Walker both transfers from Stanford and Liberty, respectively. TCU is in rebuild mode after losing so many players from last year’s team that made it all the way to the National Championship Game. After a season-opening loss to Colorado, the Horned Frogs defense has not allowed an offensive touchdown the last two weeks against Nicholls and Houston. They are also led by a redshirt freshman in QB Chandler Morris. He has completed 68.7% of his passes for 876 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions. The weakness of this team is their defense but they did hold Houston to 266 yards from scrimmage. They will need a repeat performance to make this a game.
South Florida (1-2) has a new head coach in Alex Golesh and he is doing all he can to change the fortunes of his football team. Last week, they hosted mighty Alabama and though nobody in America expected a USF win, the Bulls held tough in a 17-3 loss. They took advantage of an early muffed punt by the Tide and turned it into a 3-0 lead. They were unable to muster any offense though and could never score again. On the bright side, they kept the Alabama offense off-balance most of the game and held the Tide to three first-half points. QB Byrum Brown is still getting used to the offense and finished 14-28 for 87 yards passing while adding 92 yards on 23 carries rushing. Brown has completed just 51% of his passes for 450 yards, four touchdowns, and three picks. This weekend they will face a Rice team that is going to give them a handful. Rice (2-1, 0-0) averaging 37.3 points per game and the Bulls’ defense is allowing 10 points less than that this year. They will need to be stout for a chance in this one.
The first-place and undefeated Memphis Tigers (3-0, 1-0) face their toughest test of the young season as they head to Missouri as a seven-point dog. The big news coming out of this game is that Missouri QB, Brady Cook is day-to-day after hyperextending his knee last week. He did not practice Tuesday and an MRI found no ligament damage. For Memphis, the task at hand is a big game from running back Blake Watson who rushed for 169 yards and added 68 yards receiving last week against Navy. The defense will have to do a better job against a Missouri team that averages just under 400 yards of offense per game. Memphis is averaging 40 points per game and they will need that as well as a defense that has given up just under 14 points a game so far. They must do a better job on third-down conversions (32.5%) and protecting their QB. Seth Henigan. He has completed 71% of his passes for 791 yards, five TDs, and three interceptions so far this year.
That’s a look at some of the teams in action this weekend in the AAC. We will be back next week with more from the conference.
Weekly Awards in the AAC
Offensive Player of the Week– Preston Stone QB SMU. 15-20 for a career-high 300 yards, five passing touchdowns, and one rushing score.
Defensive Player of the Week– Daquan Evans S USF. Helped the defense hold Alabama to 17 points while finishing with eight tackles, including three sacks, four of those for loss and a pass breakup.
Special Teams Player of the Week– Noah Rauschenberg K North Texas. He scored 16 points and kicked the game-winning field goal with three seconds left in the team’s 40-37 win over La. Tech
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