A Look At The AAC

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

AAC Report: Coogs get back in the win column and some close calls in the AAC
UH Football Official Twitter Account

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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Allen had high praise for Diggs. Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images.

Impersonal as it might seem to have their dynamic on-field relationship end with an exchange of phone texts, Bills quarterback Josh Allen made it clear on Thursday how much receiver Stefon Diggs meant to him during their four seasons together in Buffalo.

Allen made no mention of Diggs’ mercurial temperament or the occasional sideline flare-ups by expressing only praise in his first opportunity to discuss his now-former teammate being traded to the Houston Texans earlier this month.

“Just thanking him for everything that he did for me, and (I’ll) always have a spot in my heart for him. I’ll always love that guy like a brother. And I wish him nothing but the best,” Allen said, in disclosing what he texted to Diggs. “My lasting memory of Stef will be the receiver that helped me become the quarterback that I am today.”

Brought together in March 2020, when Buffalo gave up a first-round draft pick to acquire Diggs in a trade with Minnesota, the duo went on to re-write many of Buffalo's single-season passing and scoring records, and lead the team to four straight AFC East titles.

Diggs, now 30, also brought an inescapable sense of drama with him in raising questions about his commitment to the Bills and whether his tight relationship with Allen had soured.

A day before being traded, Diggs posted a message, “You sure?” on the social media platform X in response to someone suggesting he wasn’t essential to Allen’s success.

Whatever hard feelings, if any, lingered as Buffalo opened its voluntary workout sessions this week were not apparent from Allen or coach Sean McDermott, who also addressed reporters for the first time since Diggs was traded.

“Stef’s a great player, really enjoyed our time together. Won a lot of games and he was a huge factor in winning those games. We’ll miss him,” McDermott said. “You never replace a player like Stef Diggs, and we wish him well.”

Allen turned his focus to the future and a Bills team that spent much of the offseason retooling an aging and expensive roster.

Aside from trading Diggs, salary cap restrictions led to Buffalo cutting respected center Mitch Morse, the breakup of a veteran secondary that had been together since 2017, and the team unable to afford re-signing No. 2 receiver Gabe Davis.

“I don’t think it’s a wrong thing or a bad thing to get younger,” said Allen, entering his seventh NFL season. “I think it’s an opportunity for myself to grow as a leader. And to bring along some of these young guys and new guys that we’ve brought in to our team. And that’s an opportunity, frankly, that I’m very excited about."

Despite the departures, the Bills offense is not exactly lacking even though general manager Brandon Beane is expected to target selecting a receiver with his first pick — currently 28th overall — in the draft next week.

Receiver Khalil Shakir enters his third year and tight end Dalton Kincaid enter his second following promising seasons. Buffalo also added veteran experience in signing free agent receiver Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins.

While Beane acknowledged the Bills lack a true No. 1 receiver, he noted there’s less urgency to fill that spot now than in 2020 because of how much the offense has developed under Allen.

“Now that Josh has ascended to the player he is, is that a requirement? I don’t think so,” Beane said.

Diggs’ role also began diminishing in the second half of last season, which coincided with Joe Brady replacing Ken Dorsey as offensive coordinator. Brady placed an emphasis on adding balance to a pass-heavy attack and getting more receivers involved, which led to an uptick in production for Shakir and Kincaid.

While Diggs’ numbers dropped, Buffalo’s win total increased.

With the Bills at 6-6, Diggs ranked third in the NFL with 83 catches, seventh with 969 yards and tied for third with eight TDs receiving. Buffalo then closed the season with five straight wins in which Diggs combined for 24 catches for 214 yards and no scores.

”(Diggs) meant a lot. You look at the statistics, they don’t lie,” Allen said, in referring to Diggs topping 100 catches and 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons in Buffalo. “I don’t get paid to make changes on the team. I get paid to be the best quarterback that I can be and try to lead the guys on this team.”

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