I didn’t think it was possible for the AAC to have a better week than the last one, but they proved me wrong again. UCF and Cincinnati gave us the game of the week, and Tulsa kept us on the emotional roller coaster. Another thrilling week in this bizarre season, and we’re far from done with the craziness.
Tulsa’s a team of destiny
If you’re a Golden Hurricane fan, you’re going to need a long recovery after this season. Another second half comeback featured a Hail Mary and a game winning pick six in Tulsa’s 30-24 win over Tulane. We knew that they might struggle early against the Green Wave, but we didn’t expect the extra adveristy. Tulsa found itself on its third string quarterback for good chunk of the game, but Davis Brin stepped up in a big way, throwing for 266 yards and two touchdowns. One of those was the Hail Mary to JuanCarlos Santanna for the game-tying score. In overtime, it was Zaven Collins time.
The Golden Hurricane linebacker picked off his four pass of the season, bringing this one back for the game-winning touchdown. This has been quite the entertaining season for Tulsa, and there’s yet to be a dull moment. It’s clear now they were destined to play for a championship, but the question remains if they can win it all.
Mike Denbrock dominated Randy Shannon
Cincinnati passed its toughest test of the season this weekend in their 36-33 win over UCF. The Bearcats used some smart plays to run out the clock at the end of the game, so they could have won by more. Even though UCF scored the most points on Cincinnati of any team this year, it was the other side of the ball that prevented them from winning. Cincinnati offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock knew this was a big matchup, and prepared accordingly to the tune of 482 yards. He also did it in simplistic fashion, not asking Desmond Ridder to make any difficult throws for most of the game.
UCF did what it could to limit the Bearcats rushing attack, but didn’t make life difficult for Ridder as a passer. Cincinnati dominated on quick passes and shallow crosses all day, allowing Ridder to throw for 338 yards and two touchdowns. Denbrock knew how to get the Knights out of position, and it seemed like every other play featured a Cincinnati player running all alone for big yardage.
Calvin Austin III remains the most underrated receiver in the country
It might not get noticed, but Calvin Austin continues shredding every team he faces. After a slow start to the season, Austin’s averaged 146.2 yards per game in the last five games. On Saturday, he caught 10 passes for 173 yards against Stephen F. Austin in Memphis’ 56-14 win. At 5’9” and 162 pounds, he’s not the biggest receiver, but his attention to detail gets him open. Even within the conference, most of the attention goes to UCF’s Marlon Williams and Houston’s Marquez Stevenson, but Austin is playing at a high level right now, which deserves more recognition.