It was a bounce back week for the AAC. The conference saw eight of their teams come out with wins, including one statement game. We saw one team return as a contender in the East, while the West appears to be up for grabs at this point. We learned a lot in Week 3, but here are the three biggest things we learned from the AAC.
Dillon Gabriel will be a stud
UCF’s search for their starting quarterback is over. They’ve found their man in Dillon Gabriel. The freshman took over for Brandon Wimbush, and produced a monster game against a Power 5 opponent. The Stanford Cardinal never found an answer for Gabriel and the UCF offense. He finished 22-for-30 for 347 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Gabriel played with McKenzie Milton-like confidence, and made some throws that not many freshman would even attempt. The Knights search for a quarterback was the biggest storyline heading into the 2019 season, and they’ve found their answer. Gabriel played with the confidence of a three year starter, and the Knights dominated the Cardinal from the opening whistle.
Temple’s a threat in the East (again)
Despite sloppy special teams play, the Temple Owls found a way to beat the Maryland Terrapins. Even when they endured a seven yard punt that gave Maryland the ball on Temple’s 10 yard line (yes that was a real thing), the Owls stood strong. Questions surrounding Temple appear to have been answered early in the season, and they may have asserted themselves as the top threat to UCF. With Cincinnati, Temple makes the AAC East a three team race with USF, ECU and UConn far behind.
As if the AAC West wasn’t crowded enough, Navy reminded folks why they haven’t gone anywhere. Malcolm Perry also exploded for 156 yards and four touchdowns rushing. His biggest concern heading into the season also was addressed Saturday. Perry finished 5-for-7 for 151 yards and two touchdowns passing. It’s only two games for the Midshipmen, but the offense appears back to what it was a couple years ago. Can they compete for the West crown? You bet they can if Perry and the offense continue producing at this rate.