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Three things we learned from the AAC in Week 9

Statements and luck highlight Week 9.

NCAA Football: Central Florida at Houston Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes, college football doesn’t teach you much, but this week wasn’t one of those weeks. We had two statement games and a bit of luck in another, making Week 9 an interesting one for the AAC. With nearly every contender set to play each other in the coming weeks, things are just beginning to heat up. Before we get too excited, let’s reflect on the previous week and what it taught us.

Cincinnati might have put it all together

The Bearcats exploded against the country’s worst defense in Memphis, and that performance helped the them come away with a 49-10 win over the Tigers. Desmond Ridder threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns to lead a passing attack that will need to continue helping the offense out, and Cincinnati held Memphis’ offense to just three yards rushing. Yep, three. If you take away Brady White’s -33 yards, the Tigers only rushed for 36. We’ve been talking about the Bearcats defense as an elite group, but they took that to a new level this weekend against an explosive offense. With the Big 12’s final undefeated team (Oklahoma State) falling this weekend, the talks of Cincinnati in the playoff are heating up too.

Luck is on Tulsa’s side

Two reviews on Tulsa’s final drive against ECU went their way, and the Golden Hurricane avoided an upset. Every team has at least one rough game in a season, and it was their turn to experience that. Fortunately, they didn’t come away on the losing end, thanks to those two reviews. On their final scoring drive late in the fourth quarter, T.K. Wilkerson fumbled the ball with ECU recovering. During the review, it appeared that he might have reestablished possession, but it didn’t look like he did for long. If you’re asking me, I’d say it’s a fumble. The referees called it a fumble on the field, and I don’t think there was definitive evidence to overturn that call. You can decide for yourself here. Tulsa turned that luck into a touchdown, and came away with a 34-30 win over the Pirates.

NCAA Football: Central Florida at Houston
Gabriel’s on record pace as just a sophomore.
Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Dillon Gabriel’s on record pace

Just pretend for a second that we’re in a normal season with a full set of games. Dillon Gabriel’s on a blistering pace so far this season, and a normal year would put him in the record books nationally. HIs 2,506 yards and 21 touchdowns lead the nation, but also put him on pace to cement his legacy. If this was a normal year, Gabriel is on pace to become a Top 10 quarterback all time in passing yards in a season. Unfortunately, he won’t get to play 13 or more games this year, but he can still break some school records.

UCF will play at least four more games barring any cancellations, meaning Gabriel’s on pace to finish with 4,177 yards passing with 35 touchdowns if they play four. Those numbers are good for first and second in school history, respectively. If they play five games (make the AAC Championship game), he’d be on pace for 4,594 yards and 39 touchdowns (which would put him first in school history for touchdown passes too). The best part about all of this? Gabriel’s coming back for another year, making his success this year even more exciting.