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Three things we learned from the AAC in Week 3

Optional defense, Kyle Allen is still good, and Memphis takes over the conference.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Defense has been mostly optional

With the exception of Houston and Cincinnati, defense in this conference has so far appeared to be non-existent. Last week, the conference gave up an average of 38.1 points per game, and without the aforementioned two it shoots up to 45.1. Four teams gave up 50+ points this week alone, and all four of those teams lost their games.

This is a result of giving up a ton of yards. The conference yielded nearly three miles of yardage this weekend, allowing 520.8 yards per game. Again, take out the Cougars and Bearcats and that number goes to 584.4. Six teams gave up 600+ yards, resulting in a 1-5 record (only win is thanks to Memphis’ upset against UCLA).

We’ve heard about the offensive firepower in this conference, but its the defense that’s really surprising us. While some teams, like Memphis this weekend, were able to outscore and outgain their opponents, the defenses seem to be struggling. This past week was reminiscent of the Big 12’s weekly defensive performances, however not every AAC team has enough offense to go with it.

Speaking of Big 12, Texas Tech travels to Houston this week. The Cougars are one of the few teams in the conference that still play defense at a high level, but they face an offense that has already accumulated 1,241 yards and 108 points in two games this season.

NCAA Football: Houston at Arizona
Allen completed nearly 94% of his passes against Rice on Saturday.
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Allen can still sling it

After sitting out a season due to transfer rules, fans wondered how well Kyle Allen would still be able to play football. Those concerns have so far been erased, thanks to record-pace accuracy. After last week, the Houston quarterback is now 56-for-65, including a 31-for-33 effort against Rice this past week.

Houston has been able to keep the playbook fairly simple so far, and that has given the starters plenty of repetition for when they do needs to try different things. Allen’s arm will be a big weapon this week facing Texas Tech, as the Red Raiders defense is once again near the bottom in the nation in nearly every statistical category defensively.

Allen appears to still be extremely sharp, and has showcased why he was a former five star recruit. He’s made some off-balanced throws that had some zip to them, and has proven that he can still throw a nice deep ball. There isn’t much rust left from his one year hiatus from football, and the Cougars offense is already off to a great start because of him.

Memphis took control of the driver seat in the conference

After a stunning (to mostly the national media) win over UCLA, the Tigers should be considered the top team in the conference. Yes, the defense needs some work but, as we mentioned earlier, so do many teams in this conference. The Tigers offense is what should have defensive coordinators worried.

Memphis torched the Bruins defense for 560 yards and 48 points, and quarterback Riley Ferguson played the best game of his career. Throwing for 398 yards and six touchdowns, Ferguson and the Tigers offense could not be stopped. His favorite target, wide receiver Anthony Miller, also had a monstrous day with nine receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

While the defense does need work overall, they played extremely well in the clutch. After a Josh Rosen touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, the Tigers defense allowed just 77 yards while also forcing a turnover for the rest of the game. If Memphis can find a way to get the defense to play that way for the entire game, this will be a tough team to beat. For just the second game of their season, there is a ton of excitement surrounding this program going forward.

Bonus: ECU took its first lead!!!!

The Pirates were up for more than an entire quarter, and hit Virginia Tech in the mouth. Then, the Hokies woke up. For 57 unanswered points. It’s going to be a long season for ECU, but at least there was a spark of optimism in this game.