Games of the week
Arkansas State at Troy: The Trojans have been one of the constants in the Sun Belt for a long time now, the other? That would be the Arkansas State Red Wolves. These two have had some classic games the last few years but this one had the Red Wolves coming out on top. I could’ve put this in the statement win section to come later because this could be Arkansas State getting over the hump but either way this back and forth game finally saw them come out on top. A big day from the offense and an Arkansas State win, 50-43.
Louisiana Tech at Rice: Mike Bloomgren has a feisty team on his hands. With a close loss against a good Army team and looking much better than year one in his tenure. Louisiana Tech was coming off of a lopsided win over FIU and could’ve been ripe for an upset had the focus been down. The Bulldogs hung on late in overtime to get a conference win and moves one step closer to finally winning a conference title under Skip Holtz. Tech wins, 23-20.
UAB at Western Kentucky: I just praised the Blazers last week for staying the course and not falling too far back after a dream season in 2018. I may have spoke a little too soon as they go on the road and lose to a rebuilding Western Kentucky team. Not to take anything away from the Hilltoppers their defense forced four interceptions and now they sit nicely with two conference wins. Western Kentucky gets the win, 20-13.
Cincinnati over Marshall: Where has this offense been all season? The Bearcats went up and down the field on a upset minded Marshall team. This team has put the bad loss against Ohio state behind them and is looking forward. They put the rest of the conference back on notice after manhandling a good Thundering Here squad.
Temple over Georgia Tech: Geoff Collins’ old team beat up on his new team. The Owls continue their success against power five teams with a big win over the Yellow Jackets and granted this is a bad Georgia Tech team but it’s a solid win nonetheless.
SMU over USF: Is it 1985 again? It sure feels like it as the Mustangs get a big win over USF and creep into the AP top 25 rankings for the first time since the program suffered the death penalty. This team is fun and full of future stars like Shane Buchele, Xavier Jones and even head coach Sonny Dykes. Pony Express part duex? Maybe it’s time.
Layne Thatcher- Arkansas State, QB: The Red wolves get a much needed conference win on the road and the main reason was Thatcher. He threw for 440 yards and four touchdowns in the win over Troy.
Antonio Gibson- Memphis, WR: Memphis got a solid win on Thursday night over Navy. Gibson was a good target all night for Brady white. He had 105 yards and a touchdown.
Xavier Jones- SMU, RB: We already talked about how fun this SMU team and Jones had yet another big day on the ground. He had 155 yards and two touchdowns.
Chris Robison- FAU, QB: The Owls offense finally seems to be clicking and it’s in large part because of Robison. He threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns.
Caleb Evans- ULM, QB: The Warhawks get a conference win over South Alabama and Evans showed why everyone has been high on him for a long time. He threw for 286 yards and threw touchdowns along with running for another touchdown.
In the dog house
Marshall defense: The unit has been great all season up until this shocking performance against the Bearcats. This was a Cincinnati offense that had been stagnant to be polite but the Herd had no answers for them and we’re down 41-0 after the third quarter. So all of that lands them here.
Charlie Strong- USF, HC: SMU made light work of the Bulls on Saturday. USF has been made light work by a lot of teams this season and while everyone figured they could take a step back I don’t think anyone saw THIS season coming. SMU is a top group of five team but they that’s not an excuse and the word “quit” has been thrown around with this team. Bulls were down 41-0 at one point, this marriage doesn’t seem to be working in Tampa.
Tyler Johnston III- UAB, QB: Last week he was a top dog but this week he lands here. This was an outlier performance from the Blazers quarterback but he threw four interceptions to a Western Kentucky team that is without question rebuilding and that ultimately cost his team the game.
Holy Toledo: BYU has wins over Tennessee (who Toledo would also best btw) and USC as well. The Rockets caught this team at the right time and seem to be positioning themselves back atop the MAC again. When those Tuesday and Wednesday games begin to roll around you may want to keep your eyes on this Toledo team.
Southern Miss will have a say in who wins Conference USA: I was wrong in the off season about the type of year the Golden Eagles would have. I had their coach on the hot seat and the program in hot water going forward but this team is not only fun but it’s really good. Their offense is explosive and the defense makes enough plays to hold teams off. With Marshall looking beatable, UAB taking a step back and question marks with FAU this Eagles team has a chance to host a title game in Hattiesburg.
The AAC is wide open and that’s a good thing: Last week I said UCF still has a great chance to be the group of five representative in the New Year’s six as the AAC champion. That’s still true but what is also true is that this league is deep with teams that are coming for the Knights. We already discussed SMU but we know Temple, Tulane, Memphis, Cincinnati and even Houston are on their heels. For the first time in a few seasons the conference feels like a toss up.
Not a bad day in the @American_Conf:— American Football (@American_FB) September 29, 2019
4-0 in nonconference games, including three road wins today means:
26-7 this season against teams not in the top 25
23-1 this season against non #Power6 opponents
40 nonconference P6 wins since 2015, including six this season
Aloha Nevada: A good Wolfpack team has that’s holds a win over Purdue gets its doors blown off at home. What in the heck happened in Reno?! Also.... FUMBLEROOSKI!