The UH/AAC Report

Houston makes Navy retreat and has an opportunity to knock off No. 21 USF

The UH offense was able to sink Navy. Photo via Houston Cougar Football Facebook

The weekly UH/AAC report:

Houston 49, Navy 36

UH traveled to Annapolis, MD on Saturday looking for their sixth win of the season and in an attempt to halt Navy’s elusive triple option run scheme. The Midshipmen dominated on the ground the entire first half, something they have done all season, ranking them third in rushing nationally. Consequently, Navy precisely controlled the time of possession battle with 42 minutes vs Houston’s 17. But for every Midshipmen rushing attack, the Cougars had a quick answer in QB D’Eriq King, who ended the game 25 of 38, 413 yards, and three total touchdowns, earning AAC Offensive Player of the Week honorable mentions. Jim Nantz, a UH alumnus, joined the broadcast booth to watch his Cougars and even called a 17-yard King rushing touchdown. Nantz was in the area prepping to call Sunday’s Cowboys vs. Redskins game at nearby FedEx field. The first half was entertaining, both teams traded blows and lit up the score board in a staggering manner, ending with Navy leading 24-21.

Houston adjusted greatly in the second half, where they went on an onslaught of 35 unanswered points, and an equally impressive defensive showing by Ed Oliver and company.  Senior Linebacker Austin Robinson had another monster game, where he led the team with 21 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks earning him AAC Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors. Ed Oliver had 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a sack, but was later sidelined as a precautionary measure due to an illegal chop block in the fourth quarter. But the most impressive thing about Houston was that they won the physicality battle against a military academy team. Not easy to do. They set the tone early in the second half, and constricted a tough Navy team that was seemingly scoring at will in the first.

Cougars’ WRs also showed up big despite having a couple of drops in the early parts of the game. Marquez Stevenson, Courtney Lark, and Keith Corbin each had 100+ receiving yards. The offensive line continues to be a fortress for King, where they have only allowed one sack in the last five games.

Houston is set to host No. 21 USF, one of five unbeaten teams in the FBS, and the Bulls possess dangerous weapons in QB Blake Barnett and RB Jordan Cronkite, who has had five straight 100+ rushing yards per game. UH improves to 6-1 in the season.

Houston is ranked third in scoring offense, and fourth in total offense nationally.

King's season stats in seven games: 141 of 222, three INTs, 63.5 completion percentage, 1,984 passing yards, 281 net rushing yards, 31 total TDs.

Houston is now bowl eligible for the sixth straight year after their win.

Ed Oliver is questionable vs USF due to a knee contusion.

Stats pulled via the official UH Cougar Football page.

UCF 37, ECU 10

UCF went into Greenville, NC with 20 straight wins and ranked at No. 10. The Golden Knights medical staff determined that star QB McKenzie Milton had to be benched after being closely monitored in pre-game warmups. Milton had to leave the field in their previous game vs. Memphis where he tweaked his ankle on a game winning touchdown run. QB Darriel Mack Jr. had to succeed Milton on short notice and it showed in the first half, where UCF greatly depended on their defense and even a trick play to induce their first touchdown of the game with seven minutes left. Turnovers kept the Pirates from standing a chance to make a comeback attempt, especially after they fumbled the football at the UCF 1-yard line, only to be recovered and converted into a dagger defensive TD. ECU falls to 2-5, and will play Memphis after its bye. UCF continues to be on a roll and head into next week at 7-0 as they will host Temple in Orlando.

USF 38, UConn 30

No, 21 USF got off to a slow start against a UConn team that went into this game at 1-5. Turnovers and a persistent rushing attack created by the Huskies were the two factors on why this game was so close. UConn RBs dominated the ground where David Pinell had 28 carries, 197 rushing yards, and two TDs, and Kevin Mensah had 19 carries, 120 rushing yards, and two TDs. The difference came in the third quarter where the Bulls returned a kickoff for 65 yards, which led QB Blake Barnett to rush in a quick 21-yard TD. USF RBs Johnny Ford and Jordan Cronkite rushed for over 100 yards and scored three TDs. UConn falls to 1-6 and will play UMass at home. USF improves to 7-0 and will visit a Houston team that is more than capable to dethrone them from their Top 25 ranked status.

Temple 24, Cincinnati 17

Cincinnati went into this game at 6-0 and ranked 20th as they visited Temple in Philly. The Bearcats fumbled the ball twice in their opening possessions allowing Temple to score 10 early points. Temple QB Anthony Russo completed 20 of 41, 237 passing yards, three TDs and three INTs. What kept this game so close was the amount of turnovers both offenses were coughing up. The game then went into overtime tied at 17 points apiece. The Owls scored first and defended Cincinnati well on their attempt to tie the game to remain alive. But the Bearcats made a costly communication error at the point of the snap via fumble and backed themselves 10 costly yards, where they then would go on to throw a pick and ended their win streak. Cincinnati is kicked out of the Top 25 rankings and head into SMU with a 6-1 record. Temple faces a tough task at UCF and improve to 5-3.

Other Notable Results in the AAC

Arkansas 23, Tulsa 0

SMU 27, Tulane 23

Missouri 65, Memphis 33

 

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Houston is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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