The UH/AAC Report

D'Eriq King is leading No.17 Houston to the AAC title game

D'Eriq King shines on national television. Houston Cougar Football Facebook

Houston 57, USF 36

Welcome to the Top 25, Cougars! Houston is now ranked No. 17 after their impressive win against a then No. 21 USF team in front of 31,631 fans at TDECU Stadium.

QB D’Eriq King catapulted his offense by going 28 of 41, threw for 419 yards and 5 TDs. On the ground, King had 12 carries, 132 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs. Video game numbers. His 551 all-purpose yards and 7 total TD’s earned him AAC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

It only took two minutes for Houston to find the end zone in their opening drive of the game. King scored on a 47-yard rushing TD induced by a fake jet sweep that pulled the opposing linebackers towards the sidelines, creating a hole large enough for the elusive King to run through and to the end zone. Houston then forced the USF offense to punt, in which the Coogs answered in an 8 play, 74-yard TD drive scored by WR Marques Stevenson, who had another great game with 6 receptions, 106 receiving yards, and 2 TDs. Houston shut out the Bulls in the first quarter, but the QB Blake Barnett-led offense came back in the second and scored two quick TDs of their own to tie the game. Offensive coordinator Kendal Briles responded and exposed the USF secondary to close the first half, where he called for two long TD passes leaving the score 28-21 Houston. Both teams displayed impressive offensive firepower.

King showed strength in the second half when he broke three tackles and spun out of another to then run for a 39-yard TD. That QB draw play call was on 4th and 7 and should’ve ended in a tackle for loss, but when you put the ball in your best player's hands, magical things can happen. Houston was suffocating USF with offense, and frustrated them so much that Bulls LB Khalid McGee was caught on camera shoving his own defensive backs coach. Another impressive play from King came in the fourth quarter, where he received a shovel pass from backup QB Bryson Smith and hurdled over a would-be tackler. This was a statement game for King; many people have speculated that he has been ignored all season by the Heisman voters. But after showcasing his abilities in front of the entire nation, King joins Ed Oliver in the Heisman Watch list, pursuing the heaviest individual accolade a college football player can receive. Houston blew out USF 57-36, and will play an SMU team that is 3-5 in Dallas on Saturday. The Cougars are one pace to play in the AAC championship game on Dec. 1st, where the winner will likely be in the coveted New Year’s Six spot. Houston is on a five-game win streak and improves to 7-1.

Much of the offense for USF came from the ground, where a hurt Oliver left a huge void on the defensive line. Their rushing and third down conversions came from busted plays where Bulls QB Barnett and RB Jordan Cronkite kept their team alive and in contention for much of the game. Oliver is still questionable for Saturday’s game vs SMU with a knee contusion. LB Austin Robinson again led the defense with a team high nine tackles and a fumble recovery. The Cougar defense has continued to improve, and even without their best player, they find ways to create turnovers consistently. They’ve forced at least one in every game this season.

UH is second nationally in scoring offense with 48.7 points per game while ranking third nationally in total offense with an average of 555.3 yards per game.

King now has at least two passing scores and a rush score in every game this season. The only one other FBS player in the last 20 years that has had a longer streak than his seven is Baylor's Bryce Petty in 2013 (eight straight).

Houston is the only school in the nation to rank in the top 20 for both passing offense (9th) and rushing offense (17th).

The Houston offensive line is third nationally with only four sacks allowed through seven games.

Cincinnati 26, SMU 20

The Cincinnati Bearcats scored on their opening drive only a minute and a half into the game. QB Desmond Ridder, who went 33 of 50 for 352 yards, and had two TDs, threw a beautiful pass into the end zone to WR Kahlil Lewis. The SMU Mustangs responded right back on their own opening offensive possession of the game, where QB Ben Hicks threw a TD to WR Reggie Robinson, who had 7 receptions, 147 receiving yards and 2 TDs. The score would remain tied 7-7 until the third quarter, where Bearcat WR Lewis again scores another TD on their opening drive of the second half. The Mustangs then scored 13 unanswered points, but allowed Cincinnati back in the game by turning the ball over on downs and a receiving a game tying field goal, taking them into overtime. The SMU offense then attempted to score in OT but Hicks threw the ball straight to Bearcats DB Wiggins at the 18-yard line, ending the game in a pick 6 walk off interception. Cincinnati improves to 7-1 and will face Navy on Saturday, while SMU falls to 3-5 and will face Houston at home.

Notre Dame 44, Navy 22

The No. 3 Fighting Irish opened the game aggressively in San Diego, where they shut out the Midshipmen the entire first half and scored 27 points of their own. Notre Dame QB Ian Book threw for an efficient 27 of 33, had 330 passing yards, and threw two TDs. Fighting Irish RB Dexter Williams had 23 carries, 142 rushing yards, and scored 3 TDs. Navy QB Garrett Lewis struggled, where he went 4 of 11, had 52 passing yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT. But the Midshipmen will always fight to the end and went back to their style of offense by running their traditional triple option run scheme, where their RBs combined for over 250 rushing yards and had 3 TDs. Notre Dame improves to 8-0 for the season and will play Northwestern, while Navy sinks to 2-6 and will travel to Cincinnati.

Other Notable Results in the AAC

Tulane 24, Tulsa 17

UMass 22, Connecticut 17

Teams on BYE

UCF, Temple, ECU, Memphis

Stats pulled via UH Cougar Football.

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Yordan Alvarez's homer in Wednesday's game gave him 100 RBI on the season. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Winners of three straight, six of their last seven, and eight of their last ten, the Astros had the chance to move yet another game closer to clinching their playoff spot if they could secure the series with a win against the Angels on Wednesday. Even though it looked as though they were headed towards a loss in extra innings, they would ultimately come out ahead.

Final Score (12 innings): Astros 9, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 91-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yimi Garcia (4-9)

Losing Pitcher: Sam Selman (0-1)

Garcia goes six shutout innings

Although he didn't have swing-and-miss dominance in this start, Luis Garcia could still capitalize on a struggling Angels offense and post a shutout quality start against them. He allowed three walks and three hits throughout his outing but stranded all of them while getting outs on balls in play. His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 79 P.

Alvarez reaches 100 RBI as Houston's offense keeps rolling

That performance had Garcia in line for the win, as two homers handed him a 3-0 advantage which he held. Houston once again used early offense to take a first-inning lead, as a leadoff walk by Jose Altuve turned into a monster 456-foot by Yordan Alvarez, pushing him to 100 RBI on the season. The score held at 2-0 until the top of the fifth, when Jason Castro led that frame off with a solo homer to extend the lead to three runs.

Extras in Anaheim

Phil Maton was first out of Houston's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, but a single, double, and walk loaded the bases with no outs to put him in a jam. A lineout kept the runners put for the first out, but a single and a walk would make it a one-run game and left the bases loaded as Maton would get pulled.

Kendall Graveman entered to try and stop the bleeding, but after a force out at home to put that within reach, Jack Mayfield came through for Los Angeles with a go-ahead three-run double, giving the Angels their first lead of the series at 5-3. In the top of the eighth, a walk by Alex Bregman brought Alvarez back to the plate, and he would nearly miss a game-tying homer and instead got an RBI-single to make it 5-4.

Alvarez would still come in to tie the game, hustling home from second on an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel to knot things up 5-5. Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he sat down LA in order with two strikeouts. Still tied in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly came in to force extras, and despite being shadowed by the winning run on the bases after a leadoff single, retired the next three batters to send the game to the tenth.

Astros keep battling and take it in the twelfth

Jake Meyers took second base as Houston's free runner in the top of the tenth, but he would go nowhere as the Astros went down in order, giving the Angels another chance at a walk-off. Instead of giving Shohei Ohtani a free pass immediately, Houston would let Blake Taylor throw two balls to him before giving him the intentional walk.

Taylor then gave up a single to load the bases with no outs, and after getting a force out at home for the first out, Yimi Garcia would replace him. Thanks to a great play by Chas McCormick, giving him multiple in the game, the Astros would live to see another inning as he would make a great catch in right field and then throw out Ohtani at home.

In the top of the eleventh, a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel moved Aledmys Diaz to third, but that's as close as Houston would come, leaving them stuck at five runs. After Garcia retired three more batters in the bottom of the eleventh, the game moved to the twelfth, where Houston would get back in front on an RBI single by Jake Meyers, then padded the new lead on a two-RBI double by Jose Altuve, who would also score on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it 9-5. Josh James came in and wrapped things up in the bottom half as Houston secured the series victory and reduced their magic number to two against Oakland and three against Seattle.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game series, and the last time these two teams will meet this year, will be an 8:38 PM Central start on Thursday. The expected pitching matchup is Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.59 ERA) for Los Angeles and Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.11 ERA) for Houston.

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