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AAC Weekly Awards — Week 1

Taking a look at the big-time players and plays that defined the week 1 slate of AAC games.

Houston V UTSA Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

College football, you masterpiece of a sport, we missed you.

As the AAC geared up to start their season with a full slate of week one games, it was hard not to get romantic about the sport.

From the start of Saturday’s slate of games to the finish, there was more drama than a reality television show. Seriously, it was sensational to watch, regardless if it was the Tulsa-Wyoming thriller or Houston’s Clayton Tune flip over a UTSA defender to secure the win.

With that being said, it’s time to hand out some awards for the AAC based on their week one performances.

Team of the Week: Houston

Houston V UTSA Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

This one isn’t a surprise, is it?

Houston faced the tough task of having to play last season’s defending Conference USA champions in the UTSA Roadrunners on the road.

While it was not always pretty — the first half was anything short of it — but Houston found a way to get it done, defeating UTSA in 3OT, 37-35.

Not only was it a critical win for Houston but it was good to see quarterback Clayton Tune build off of his strong 2021 season with a good performance. Tune finished with 206 passing yards and four total touchdowns.

Offensive Player of the Week: SMU QB Tanner Mordecai

SMU QB Tanner Mordecai was near unstoppable in their win against North Texas.
Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Up until the start of the late games, this award was going to go to Clayton Tune.

Then, Tanner Mordecai played and everything changed.

In a 48-10 victory over North Texas, SMU’s Tanner Mordecai finished with 432 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air. If you looked at that scoreline and caught on, you would be right in thinking that Tanner Mordecai more than doubled the points all of North Texas scored.

Mordecai wound up finishing the night with touchdowns of 24, 51, and 75 yards, with the latter two coming in the second quarter. Overall, a solid performance by the SMU signal-caller to help the Mustangs get their first win of the season.

Defensive Player of the Week: Houston DL D’Anthony Jones

NCAA Football: Houston at Cincinnati
When D’Anthony Jones got going for Houston, the entirety of Sack Ave. got going
Jim Owens-USA TODAY Sports

There were a few players on that Houston defensive line that could have gotten this award.

Nelson Ceaser got an interception that led to a game-tying touchdown in the third quarter, and Derek Parish was active throughout the game but there came a point where Houston’s defensive line found itself and it was thanks to the play of D’Anthony Jones.

At some point in the game, UTSA’s offense was turning the game into a track meet and Houston could not match the tempo that UTSA wanted to play at. As a result of such, it became all UTSA for most of the first half.

That all changed when D’Anthony Jones started to disrupt the game.

It didn’t always show up on the box score but his play in the second half really changed the way that UTSA approached the game. Not only could they not turn the game into a track meet, but they had to account for the No. 44 in red.

Breakout Player of the Week: Tulsa WR Malachai Jones

Tulsa didn’t win the game but the performance of wide receiver Malachai Jones was a huge positive to take from the game.

After having just 47 yards receiving last season, Jones doubled his receptions (from 3 in 2021 to 6) and surpassed his receiving yards total with 103 yards on the day. Jones also hauled in his first career receiving touchdown in the second quarter.

In total, Jones was one of three Tulsa wide receivers to finish with 100 yards receiving, joining Keylon Stokes (169 yards) and JuanCarlos Santana (102). All three of these receivers also finished with a receiving touchdown.

Play of the Week: Houston QB Clayton Tune goes airborne

Scoring on the ground is underrated. That’s why Houston quarterback Clayton Tune decided to take a different route — the air.

On Houston’s final score of the game, Tune leapt from the around the 3-yard line and wound up flipping over a UTSA defender into the end zone.

Also, an honorable mention to this crazy one-handed catch from Joseph Manjack IV earlier in the contest.

Anti-Play of the Week: Wyoming Doink! v. Tulsa

There is something truly wonderful about a game going into overtime because a kicker hit the top of the upright to miss a field goal.