Well, college football is going to be interesting all year, that’s for sure. The AAC saw a number of dramatic and exciting games Saturday, and certain teams made big time statements. Maybe the overlying thing we learned: the AAC’s about as wide open as it’s ever been. One team pulled off a Power 5 win, another shot itself in the foot, and a third team found its mojo offensively. Buckle up, folks. This season’s going to be fun.
You can’t beat yourself as an underdog
Tulsa had it. They were so close to pulling off the biggest upset in college football until they got in their own way. The Golden Hurricane held a 7-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, but it all went downhill from there. Penalties and missed assignments plagued Tulsa in the fourth quarter, and ultimately gave the Cowboys a 16-7 win. It was a tough way to end a game that otherwise featured a Tulsa team that was taking it to its Big 12 foe.
Zach Smith and the offense shined throughout the game despite only scoring seven points. They could have produced three more, but a field goal attempt was missed wide left, but it would have changed the game. The offense was moving the ball well early on, and we even saw this incredible effort by Deneric Prince.
Oh my Deneric Prince, what a run pic.twitter.com/8IQOII46lB— Joe Broback (@joebroback) September 19, 2020
Tulsa had an upset in its hands, but couldn’t find a way to close. It was definitely a frustrating way to end the game, but a good reminder that you need to play a complete game if you’re going to take down a Power 5 team.
SMU woke up
We knew the Mustangs needed some time to gel with each other, but I don’t know if we expected this kind of outburst. SMU destroyed North Texas on Saturday, winning 65-35. Shane Buechele threw for 344 yards with four touchdowns, with 14 of those passes going to Reggie Roberson and Rashee Rice for a combined 205 yards and two touchdowns. The passing attack did what we expected it to do, but it was the rushing attack that surprised us. Ulysses Bentley IV rushed for 227 yards and three touchdowns for the Mustangs, which is huge going forward. TJ McDaniel and Bentley have both proved already that they’re reliable (and explosive) backs, and the offense might have hit their stride earlier than expected. In the tune of 65 points and 710 total yards. Watch out, folks.
Dillon Gabriel is going to be a monster
Dillon Gabriel to Tre Nixon. An elite combination we'll see a lot in 2020 pic.twitter.com/eQVcbpwr0p— Joe Broback (@joebroback) September 19, 2020
UCF began their season against Georgia Tech, and made a statement in the process. It helps when your sophomore quarterback shows off the work he put in this offseason. Gabriel threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns, and did most of his damage when his team needed it most. The scariest part about Saturday was that the Knights had their backs against the wall at times and they didn’t cave. Gabriel and the offense stepped up to the challenge and did most of their damage when the team needed a spark. This was their first game in a wild and chaotic offseason, and the offense already looked dynamic. The win wasn’t just a win. It was a warning. You aren’t going to keep the Knights down for long, if ever.