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Three Things We Learned From the AAC in Week 7

Navy sits atop the AAC West while USF continues to lead the East division

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Connecticut
UCONN senior wide receiver Noel Thomas is second in the AAC in receptions per game and receiving yards.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Noel Thomas Is One of the Nation’s Best Wide Receivers You Don’t Hear Much About

The first wide receiver that is often mentioned when talking about the American Athletic Conference is East Carolina’s Zay Jones. With the plays he has made and numbers he has compiled, the attention he receives is certainly warranted.

However, Noel Thomas—the league’s second leading receiver in terms of receptions and receiving yards per game—has certainly impressed over the last two years and is having a stellar senior season.

The UCONN wide receiver, who stands 6’1 and weights 201 pounds, led the Huskies 54 catches for 719 yards and three scores in 2015.

However, this year his numbers are exploding.

When you think of Bob Diaco’s club, you don’t think of explosive offense, but Thomas has already hauled in 67 balls for 758 yards and three touchdowns. The Norwalk, CT-native has made at least six catches in every game, had 10 or more grabs in three and registered a career-best 14 in UCONN’s 31-24 home loss to Syracuse.

Temple Rallies To Stay In Thick Of AAC East Race

Last week, Temple’s red zone woes and turnovers resulted in the Owls being unable to hold a 13-0 first half advantage in a 34-27 loss to Memphis.

Looking to bounce back, Matt Rhule’s club found itself facing a 25-7 deficit early in the second quarter at upstart UCF on Saturday night.

The culture surrounding the Temple program has really changed in recent years and what transpired over the remainder of the game reflected that.

Despite veteran quarterback Phillip Walker not having near the numbers he did in the loss to Tigers a week ago, the signal-caller came through when his team needed it the most.

Trailing 25-20 with 32 ticks left on the clock, Walker connected with Ventell Bryant for completions of 20, 16 and 26 yards to advance the football to the UCF 8.

The Knights were expecting Walker to ground it to stop the clock, but he instead found Keith Kirkwood for the game’s decisive score.

On Friday night, Temple will welcome USF to Lincoln Financial Field in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN.

NCAA Football: Tulsa at Houston
Dejected Tulsa players walk off the field after the Golden Hurricane suffered a heartbreaking 38-31 loss at No. 13 Houston on Saturday night.
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Survives Scare Against Tulsa, Golden Hurricane Better Than Expected

After suffering a 46-40 loss at Navy, Tom Herman’s club really needed to respond at home against Tulsa. The Cougars were able to do so, but the game was in doubt until the final play.

Following a Dillon Birden touchdown run, No. 13 Houston led 31-17 with 8:29 remaining in the game.

However, Philip Montgomery’s Golden Hurricane got back into it quickly.

Dane Evans found a wide open Justin Hobbs behind the Cougars’ secondary for a 38-yard touchdown with just over seven minutes left. Then, James Flanders reached pay dirt from three yards out with 3:31 to play to square things.

Tulsa got the ball back again, but the Cougars’ D pressured Evans into a poor decision and Emeke Egbule took the fumble 24 yards for what proved to be the winning score.

While UH won the game, they wouldn’t do so without a thrilling finish that required its defense to stand tall and tackle Tulsa’s Jesse Brubaker less than a foot from the goal line on the game’s final play.