D’Eriq King is Houston’s quarterback of the future.
Houston entered the season with a quarterback battle that featured Kyle Allen and Kyle Postma. Allen won the job early, and played the first three games. Inconsistent play and turnovers led to his benching, leaving the job to Postma. Until last week.
D’Eriq King came to Houston as a quarterback but has been mostly used as a receiver. With the Cougars needing a spark offensively seven games into the season, the sophomore took over last week in the Houston game, and got his first start Saturday. And he never looked back. King’s first game featured a 15-for-21 for 330 yards and three touchdown performance, leading Houston to a 52-27 win over ECU.
This was easily the most explosive the offense has looked all season, and King has played an integral role in that change. Major Applewhite’s decision to pick up the pace, along with King’s emergence are making the Cougars a threat. They already had the weapons to torch defenses, but it seemed that they didn’t have the right quarterback most of the time. King could also help a struggling offensive line from having to protect for a long time, as his speed allows him to scramble to escape pressure. This team may just be beginning to show it’s potential, and King should be a key piece for the rest of his tenure on campus.
Temple isn’t dead yet.
And Navy isn’t who many thought they were. The Owls pulled off an upset that not many anticipated. An inconsistent offense was one of the main reasons for their struggles, but that all changed when a new quarterback stepped in.
Logan Marchi had been the starter for most of the year, and he actually began the season pretty well. In the first three games, Marchi had five touchdowns and zero interceptions, but the next four games produced just four touchdowns and eight interceptions. In stepped Frank Nutile, and the Owls got the change they desperately needed. Nutile has completed 42 of his 59 passes for 579 yards and five touchdowns in the last two games, and had four of his scores this week against Navy.
Whether Nutile is the future at quarterback or not, Geoff Collins’ group is proving that you can’t count them out just yet. A bowl game seemed questionable going into the last four games of the season, but the upset over the Minutemen changed things. Now, Temple has to win two of their next three games, which include a road trip to Cincinnati, hosting AAC-leading UCF, and a trip to Tulsa.
The talent at receiver continues to grow.
Coming into this season, there were a handful of receivers that everyone knew. Players like Courtland Sutton from SMU, Anthony Miller from Memphis, and Linell Bonner from Houston were three of the top returning receivers, but there have been others who have made an impact this year.
Bonner’s teammate, Steven Dunbar leads the team in receiving and is playing focused and determined this year. Sutton’s teammate Trey Quinn leads the conference in receiving and James Proche has over 600 yards as well. The surprise of the conference, though, has been ECU. Davon Grayson is third in the conference in receiving, and his teammate, Trevon Brown is one yard shy of 600 yards.
Overall, 14 players have over 500 yards and, while the Top 3 coming into this year are still near the top, the conference has developed depth at this position as the season goes on.