Navy and Zach Abey might be taking a step back.
Memphis was the Midshipmen’s first real test of the season, and they didn’t pass. Abey was also facing his first test, and he failed as well. While Navy scored 27 points and Abey accounted for 166 yards, the offense wasn't as potent. Abey threw two interceptions, had three fumbles lost and had another fumble that was recovered by a teammate. His offense was held under their season average for rushing yards by 100 yards, and this came against a Memphis defense that was supposed to be struggling. When Navy fell behind, Abey couldn’t bring his team back.
Defensively, there wasn’t much that Navy could do to stop the Memphis offense. The Tigers could have scored at least two more touchdowns, but a couple overthrows and an uncalled penalty allowed Navy to keep the game close. Their secondary didn’t have an answer for Tigers receiver Anthony Miller, as the senior finished with 90 yards and two touchdowns. Miller was one of the players that Riley Ferguson overthrew, and was the player that Navy had to hold to keep him from scoring again.
Give the Midshipmen credit, they competed until the very end despite numerous mistakes. Abey was responsible for three touchdowns as well, but five turnovers killed multiple drives and essentially ended the game. While the game was close, the offense struggled to move the ball against a youthful defense. They now have to host UCF, whom the Tigers lost to 40-13 just two weeks prior. The Knights are just as explosive as the Tigers offensively, and play better defense as well. Navy will need to play extremely better if they want a chance at beating the top team in the conference.
USF is winning with defense.
Charlie Strong’s impact on the Bulls’ defense has been extremely noticeable halfway through the year. USF has the third best rush defense and is 12th in total defense as well. While the lack of competition has led to these numbers, Strong’s defense looks better than last season.
Coming into the year, we expected the offense to be the reason why they won games. While the offense has struggled to start games, the defense has done everything in their power to keep USF in a couple games until the offense wakes up. They’ve held two teams to single digit points this year, which is something they didn’t do once last season. It appears that the offense is starting to gain some traction, but they can at least rest easy knowing the defense is also up to speed thus far.
Houston’s quarterback problems remain unresolved.
An embarrassing 45-17 loss to Tulsa provided Cougars fans with multiple issues that need addressing. Their run game, while improved still remains nearly nonexistent, even against a defense that was allowing nearly 350 yards rushing per game. A big reason for that lack of production is because of the offensive line struggles. But the position that has been under the microscope that has been a big topic of conversation is at quarterback.
Kyle Allen’s struggles were well documented, but for whatever reason Major Applewhite decided he saw enough after the Texas Tech game. In stepped Kyle Postma and Allen went straight to the bench and hasn’t seen meaningful reps since. The decision has essentially backfired, as their stats are similar through almost the same amount of playing time. Postma is now 80-for-122 (65.6%) for 805 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions while also adding 151 yards rushing and another touchdown. Allen is 80-for-104 (76.9%) for 751 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions.
Allen didn’t deserve to keep the starting role to himself, but he certainly didn’t deserve the bench either. Applewhite decided that Postma was going to be the guy, but it seems that the change hasn’t yielded the results he was hoping for. The loss to Tulsa was ugly, and the offense was responsible for 21 of Tulsa’s points because of turnovers. Houston can’t keep relying on the defense to win games, as they will continue to get fatigued from being on the field for too long. Improved quarterback play, along with that same improvement up front, would go a long ways for this team, and take a lot of pressure off of their defense as well.