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Three Things We Learned From The AAC in Week 12

Cougars take down No. 5 Cards, Navy wraps up West, Temple on track in East

NCAA Football: Louisville at Houston
Houston rocketed back into the CFB Playoff Top 25 at No. 20 this week following a convincing 36-10 victory over No. 5 Louisville. The Cougars got after the Cardinals’ Lamar Jackson and sacked the Heisman frontrunner an eye-opening 11 times.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Week 12 Results (11/19/16)

Houston 36 No. 5 Louisville 10 (Thurs, 11/17)

Memphis 34 Cincinnati 7 (Fri, 11/18)

Navy 66 East Carolina 31

Boston College 30 UCONN 0

Temple 31 Tulane 0

USF 35 SMU 27

Tulsa 35 UCF 20

Houston humbles No. 5 Louisville, cripples Cards’ playoff hopes

Prior to the season, Louisville’s visit to Houston and TDECU Stadium had been circled as one that would likely have New Year’s Six implications for at least one, if not both, programs.

Road losses to Navy and SMU knocked Tom Herman’s club from the CFB Playoff Top 25. People were perhaps placing too much weight into those Cougars’ shortcomings, which resulted in the Cardinals and Lamar Jackson being a decisive 17-point favorite.

Seeking to show the nation that they are still every bit as good as folks originally thought, Houston got after Jackson all night long and took advantage of some Louisville miscues to cruise to the head turning 36-10 victory.

The Cards, who were disappointed that they weren’t in the top 4 of last week’s playoff rankings, fumbled the opening kickoff and that led to a 7-0 deficit just 11 seconds into the game.

The Cougars received a solid start from Greg Ward, Jr., who has struggled to protect the ball at times. The veteran signal-caller was 25-of-44 for 233 yard and two scores without a pick.

The game ball had to go to Houston’s defense, though, as it sacked the elusive Jackson 11 times and limited him to a season-low 33 rushing yards.

Houston heads to Memphis this week and will look to produce a fourth straight victory that would result in a second consecutive 10-plus win year for Herman and the Cougars.

NCAA Football: Navy at East Carolina
Worth ran for 159 yards and four touchdowns in Navy’s 66-31 victory at ECU.
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Navy’s triple option throttles Pirates, Middies wrap up West title

After falling just shy of last season’s AAC Championship game, Ken Niumatalolo and Navy were able to wrap up the West with a 66-31 road rout of East Carolina.

The Midshipmen (8-2, 6-1), who are ranked 25th in this week’s CFB Playoff poll, will seek to wrap up home field advantage for the title game if they play Temple. The Owls will win the East with a win over ECU on Saturday night in Philly.

Additionally, the Middies are still very much in contention for a spot in the New Year’s Six if Western Michigan should lose to Toledo or in the MAC title game.

What a job Will Worth has done guiding Navy’s triple option attack, as the senior has run for 1,074 yards and 22 touchdowns since Tago Smith went down in the opener.

NCAA Football: Temple at Connecticut
Phillip Walker and Temple can repeat as East Division champs with a Senior Night win over struggling East Carolina.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Temple shuts out Tulane, will claim East with win over ECU

Matt Rhule’s club struggled out of the gates and sat at 3-3 at the midway point after suffering 34-27 defeats at Penn State and Memphis.

The Owls were on the ropes at UCF, as they trailed the Knights 25-7. However, they rallied for a heart stopping 26-25 win in the waning seconds and haven’t let up since.

Temple has won each of its last four games by at least 16 points and its league-leading defense has been stellar as it has produced back-to-back shutouts—which is impressive even if they came against UCONN and Tulane.

The Owls (8-3, 6-1) are surrendering just 18.5 points and 277.8 yards per game.

Against the Green Wave, Phillip Walker threw for 337 yards and two scores while Temple amassed 533 yards of total offense.

Matt Rhule, who believe this team is better than last year’s 10-4 squad, will likely be mentioned for multiple vacancies during the offseason with the success he is having in Philadelphia.

If ECU—which is nearly a three touchdown underdog—pulls the upset, USF—whose lone loss came against the Owls—could win the East with a win over UCF.