The UH/AAC Report
D'Eriq King is leading No.17 Houston to the AAC title game
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.