With the regular season winding down, about half of the American Athletic Conference teams are still vying for divisional titles, others are attempting to keep their bowl hopes alive and some are simply building for the future.
Below we take a look back at some of the highlights from around the AAC in Week 11.
Navy in Driver’s Seat in AAC West After Taking Down Tulsa in Thriller
Most people felt there would be no shortage of points when the Golden Hurricane and Middies met on Saturday afternoon in Annapolis. The AAC West leaders certainly did light up the scoreboard. Navy built a two-possession lead on multiple occasions, but it had to hold off Tulsa to collect the thrilling 42-40 victory.
Ken Niumatalolo’s club—which has the nation’s longest home win streak at 15 games—received 122 rushing yards and three touchdowns from senior quarterback Will Worth to lead a ground attack that compiled 390 yards. Worth also completed 6 of 8 through the air for 111 yards and a score.
Romine, Gulley and White also had at least 60 yards rushing for Navy.
With the victory, Navy (7-2, 5-1) is in the driver’s seat to win the divisional crowd and represent the West in the AAC title game. The Midshipmen hold the tiebreaker with Houston and Tulsa so they would have to drop both of their remaining league games (@ ECU, @ SMU).
Tulsa (7-3, 4-2) accumulated 576 yards of offense in the loss. Veteran signal-caller Dane Evans completed 16 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns.
USF outlasts Memphis, UCF shuts down Cincinnati to stay alive in East
There wasn’t much defense played at the Liberty Bowl on Saturday night, as the Bulls and Tigers combined for 91 points and nearly 1,300 yards of offense.
USF (8-2, 5-1) gutted out the road victory when Quinton Flowers’ 22-yard run with 1:46 to play gave Willie Taggart’s club a 49-42 advantage that it would not relinquish.
Flowers, who also threw for 263 yards and two scores, ran for 210 yards and three touchdowns to highlight a Bulls’ ground attack that generated 416 yards.
Riley Ferguson passed for 331 yards and three scores for Memphis, while Henderson, Taylor Jr, and Dorceus all eclipsed the 75-yard mark for the Tigers.
UCF (6-4, 4-2), which—like USF—dropped a game to division-leader Temple, became bowl eligible with a 24-3 win over Tommy Tuberville and his struggling Cincinnati Bearcats.
After not winning a game last season, Scott Frost has executed a tremendous turnaround and his team still has an outside chance at winning the East.
The Knights have their work cut out for them, as they host Tulsa this week before traveling to USF in the season finale’.
Bearcats’ problems going from bad to worse
Following last week’s 21-3 home loss to BYU, a Cincinnati fan told head coach Tommy Tuberville that he was “stealing from the university”. The frustrated fourth-year coach responded by telling the fan “go to you know where.........get a job”.
The Bearcats (4-6, 1-5), which need to win their last two games to qualify for the postseason, have not reached pay dirt in two weeks while managing just a total of six points in losses to BYU and UCF.
In their 24-3 defeat in Orlando, Cincinnati—which has lost three straight and five of six—was unable to run the football and that made the going tough for quarterbacks Gunner Kiel and Hayden Moore. Moore was inserted for Kiel after he started the game just 6-of-17 for 91 yards and an interception.
Tuberville’s time could be coming to an end, as he is just 11-12 over the last couple seasons after consecutive 9-4 records to open his time in Cincinnati.