A Look At The AAC

The UH/AAC Report: a high scoring week, some teams stay hot while others cool

UH Dana Holgorsen
UH Football/Facebook

Week six in the AAC was pretty high scoring. Five teams scored more than 30 points, with four of them scoring more than 40 and one scoring more than 50. Let's take a closer look at what transpired:

UH was off, but there's still news

Even though the Coogs were off, there was a bit of news that came down. Graduate transfer offensive lineman Justin Murphy has apparently quit the team. He started four games this year: three at right guard and one at right tackle. It's yet to be seen how true the report from GoCoogs.com has any truth or other sources to back it up. So for now, we'll assume it's true.

Other key results

Cincinnati 27, UCF 24: The Bearcats handed the Golden Knights their second loss of the season, and bumped them from the top 25 rankings while taking a spot on the rankings themselves.

SMU 43, Tulsa 37: SMU stayed undefeated with triple overtime win over the Tulsa. No one saw the lowly Golden Hurricanes giving the ranked, undefeated Mustangs this much trouble. SMU is 6-0 for the first time since 1982.

Tulane 42, Army 33: Tulane held off the Army rushing attack for a strong win improving to 4-1 on the season. What's most impressive is they beat Army with a rushing yardage differential of +131.

Stars of the week

Cincinnati Defense: I said last week that UCF would have a tough time with this defense on the road. While they gave up 423 yards of offense, they also forced four turnovers that helped them win the game.

Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis: Talk about an appropriate name! He rushed for 209 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns in a 52-33 win over ULM.

Tulane Offense: The Green Wave had four guys rush for 50 or more yards and a touchdown in their win over Army. This contributed heavily to their +131 rushing yardage differential.

Games to watch this week

Memphis @ Temple

Cincinnati @ Houston

Navy @ Tulsa

Players to watch this week

Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis: Gainwell leads a rushing attack that averages 214.4 yards a game going against a defense the gives up 125.6 yards a game on the ground.

Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati: I expect Ridder to have a big game against the porous UH defense as the 4-1 Bearcats look to build off their big win over UCF.

Tulsa Defense: The Golden Hurricanes are average against the run. Navy excels in their triple option attack. This will be the deciding factor in this matchup.

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With their closer revealed, here are the Astros top bullpen X-factors

Houston Astros skipper Joe Espada wasted no time this week at spring training by answering one of the most talked about questions of the offseason.

Espada revealed that newly-acquired free agent Josh Hader will be the team's closer and will pitch the ninth inning, with Ryan Pressly working as the setup man.

Bryan Abreu will be tapped to pitch the seventh inning, but it wouldn't shock anyone if he had the best season of the three. But after Abreu, things get interesting in the bullpen.

Who pitches the sixth inning?

Astros GM Dana Brown gave Rafael Montero a vote of confidence, saying he's “legit.”

While we have our concerns about Montero after he finished with an ERA over five last year, there's reason for hope. The nature of relief pitchers halving up and down seasons from year to year could work in Montero's favor.

And with the salary that's already committed to him, Brown will likely give him every opportunity to justify his contract. It will be fascinating to see how Espada deploys him early on. You have to think with the boss man backing Montero, Espada will be on board too.

But if he does struggle, will Espada quickly stop using him in critical situations? The good news is, the team won't often have to turn to him in high leverage situations with Abreu, Pressly, and Hader ready to handle those duties.

Be sure to watch the video above for the full discussion about the Astros 'pen, and much more!

Don't miss Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every week on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel!

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