A Look At The AAC

The UH/AAC report: Cougars drop another one

Week seven in the AAC was pretty ho hum. No major upsets or unusual scoring totals. With only five games on the slate, there wasn't much room for a huge variance in the games played. Let's take a look at things from this past week:

Coogs drop to 2-4

A road loss to a ranked conference opponent isn't anything to be embarassed about. But when you're treating the quarterback position like Oprah does audience gifts, you almost deserve whatever you get. The Coogs were trailing 21-17 heading into the 4th quarter despite three turnovers up to that point. They went on to crap the bed and lost 38-23. Hey Coach Holgorsen: I still have some eligibility left. Can I play a few snaps at quarterback next week?

Other key results

Temple 30, Memphis 28: This was a mild upset. I'm talking off-brand store made salsa mild. Memphis was ranked #25 going on the road against a tough conference opponent. Credit Temple's defense who caused four turnovers.

Navy 45, Tulsa 17: The Midshipmen keep on rolling behind Malcolm Perry and the triple option attack. By rolling, I mean steam-rolling to the tune of 388 yards rushing as a team.

Tulane 49, UConn 7: The Green Wave are a fairly impressive team. They made sure to take care of business against the Huskies. If they keep winning, they're going bowling for sure.

Stars of the week

Malcolm Perry, QB, Navy: 20 carries for 218 yards and three touchdowns is an impressive line for a running back. Perry puts up those numbers as an option quarterback. I'm sure someone at the next level can find a place for him.

Jordan Cronkrite, RB, USF: Cronkrite had 26 carries for 158 yards and two touchdowns in a come from behind 27-23 win over BYU, including the game sealing score.

Rashad Medaris, WR, Cincinnati: When you torch a team for 121 yards and a touchdown on only three catches, you'll earn a spot here. Especially when you more than double your season total in yards and double your touchdown output as well.

Games to watch this week

Temple @ SMU

Tulane @ Memphis

ECU @ UCF

Players to watch this week

Shane Buechele, SMU: He's averaging 277 yards passing and two touchdowns a game. Temple will bring it, but the Mustangs are favored.

Tulane's Rushing Attack: If they're going to stay with a one in the loss column, the Green Wave will have to put up their average of about 290 yards or more.

Dillon Gabriel, UCF: If the Golden Knights are to get back to their winning ways, Gabriel will have to be the one to lead them there.

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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