A Look At The AAC

AAC Report: Coogs get back in the win column and some close calls in the AAC

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Week 13 in the AAC was pretty darn good. Four of the six games were decided by one score. UH was almost in that category, but held on to win by 10. And can you call a game an upset if a ranked team lost to a conference opponent that had a 7-2 record coming into the game? Let's take a look at the week that was in the AAC:

UH improves to 4-7 with road win over Tulsa and get some good news this week

Turnovers were the name of the game in the Coogs road win at Tulsa. While they were outgained by 149 in total offense, the Coogs were a +3 in the turnover department. It also helped that Tulsa had -1 yard rushing. Most of that was due to their four sacks of Zach Smith. Smith, however, threw for 381 yards. But he was responsible for three of their four turnovers (two interceptions and a lost fumble). The Coogs will close out their season hosting a tough Navy team and their daunting rushing attack. While that may be enough to make some fans nervous, the team did get some good news this week as Fort Bend Foster's three star defensive tackle Chidozie Nwankwo announced his commitment to UH via a video on his Twitter account. I'm not saying he's the next Ed Oliver, but his potential is intriguing.

Other Key Results

Navy 35, #25 SMU 28: The Midshipmen played their brand of old school triple option football and ran over the Mustangs. Navy rushed for 378 yards and even mixed in 162 yards in the air. SMU was up 21-10 at the half and were essentially choked out in the second half.

#19 Cincinnati 15, Temple 13: The Bearcats went up 13-0 in the third quarter and maintained that lead into the fourth. That's when things got weird. Temple scored a touchdown, had the PAT blocked, and returned for two points. They scored another touchdown and made the PAT. Had the Owls made their first PAT, they could've potentially won the game.

#18 Memphis 49, USF 10: The Tigers set themselves up for an AAC Title game appearence with tihs win. Their run game ran wild and quarterback Brady White threw another two touchdown passes. They made light work of the Bulls and didn't allow themselves to be tripped up.

Stars of the Week

Patrick Taylor Jr, RB, Memphis: While Kenneth Gainwell may have had more rushing yards (128 to 95), Taylor had three rushing touchdowns and Gainwell had none. Advantage Taylor.

MalcolmPerry, QB, Navy: Perry had 195 yards and two touchdowns rushing, along with 162 yards and a touchdown passing in their win over SMU. He was singlehandedly responsible for the Midshipmen's biggest win of the season.

Doug Gabriel, QB, UCF: Gabriel was another quarterback who put his team on his back this week. He had 317 yards and a touchdown through the air along with 58 yards rushing in the Golden Knights' 34-31 win on the road over Tulane.

Games to Watch This Week

#19 Cincinnati @ #18 Memphis

Tulane @ SMU

Navy @ Houston

Players to Watch This Week

Brady White, Memphis: If the Tigers beat Cincinnati, they'll have a rematch against the Bearcats for the AAC Title game. But...

Malcolm Perry, Navy: ...if the Tigers lose and the Midshipmen beat SMU, they have a shot at the AAC Title game. But...

Shane Buechele, SMU: ...if the Mustangs can win and the Tigers lose, the Mustangs will go to the AAC Title game. Interresting final week in the AAC!

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After splitting the first two games of the series, including the extra-inning affair on Saturday, the Astros looked to defeat the Angels on Saturday to secure the series win and leave Los Angeles with a winning record. On the mound were two pitchers looking to shrug off bad debuts to the season. Here is how the game went on Sunday afternoon:

Final Score (11 innings): Astros 6, Angels 5.

Record: 5-4, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Blake Taylor (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jacob Barnes (0-2, 3.86 ERA).

James walks his way into trouble

After a disastrous start to his pitching season where he was unable to record an out, Shohei Ohtani was able to sit down the Astros 1-2-3 on just eight pitches in the top of the first. However, Houston would take advantage of his struggling command in the top of the second, working three straight walks to load the bases with no outs. They then would get two more walks with two outs to grab an early 2-0 lead and end Ohtani's day early yet again.

Meanwhile, on the mound for Houston was Josh James. He, too, allowed some walks but was able to work around them in the first two innings, erasing two in the bottom of the first and one in the second for two scoreless innings.

That changed in the third when he would walk the bases loaded with two outs before Albert Pujols continued his nearly twenty-year reign of being a thorn in Houston's side, hitting a grand slam, Los Angeles' first hit of the day, to put the Angels up 4-2. James would get the final out of the third, but that would conclude his day, making it two straight starts he would be unable to reach the fourth inning. His final line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 4K, 1 HR.

Valdez impresses as Bregman makes it a one-run game in the seventh

Framber Valdez was first out of Houston' bullpen, likely to try and eat up several innings. He would accomplish that mission, getting through the next three innings scoreless, holding the 4-2 score. It remained locked on that score despite Houston getting runners on base in each of those innings, as they would struggle to turn players on base into runs yet again in this series.

Alex Bregman gave the Astros a spark in the top of the seventh, leading off the inning with a solo home run to straightaway center to make it a one-run game. Valdez returned for yet another inning, another scoreless frame to keep it 4-3 going to the eighth.

Reddick ties it in the ninth, Astros win in extras

Houston would threaten to tie in the top of the eighth, getting a pinch-hitting Carlos Correa to third base after a single to leadoff the inning, but would be unable to score him, leaving it at 4-3. Valdez would record another scoreless inning in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Astros one more chance to tie or go ahead in the top of the ninth.

Michael Brantley led off the inning with a double and was pinch-run by Myles Straw, who would score the tying run on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick, but the Angels would hold the Astros there. Valdez remained in the game trying to push extra innings and would do so, erasing a leadoff walk.

Kyle Tucker started the top of the tenth on second base and moved to third on a sac fly by Carlos Correa to start the inning before scoring on another sac fly, this time from pinch-hitting Garrett Stubbs to give Houston a 5-4 lead. Valdez, well above his comfortable pitch count, was still on the mound in the bottom of the tenth, and allowed his first run, though unearned, on a leadoff RBI-single to tie the game again at 5-5. He would get one more out before Houston moved to another reliever, bringing in Andre Scrubb.

After an intentional walk to Albert Pujols, Scrubb would walk the bases loaded before getting a popout, then Houston would turn to Blake Taylor. Taylor would come through, getting a big strikeout to send the game to the eleventh. Springer started on second in the top of the inning and would score and put the Astros back in front on a one-out RBI-single by Alex Bregman. In the bottom half, Taylor would get through the inning, giving Houston the win and series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will have a day off tomorrow before picking up a three-game set with the Diamondbacks in Arizona on Tuesday. The opening game of that series will be at 8:10 PM Central. While Arizona is expected to start Madison Bumgarner, the Astros will have to pivot as they had Framber Valdez slated for that start, who made a lengthy appearance out of the bullpen on Sunday.

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