A Look at The AAC

The UH/AAC football report: Coogs run out of gas again; AAC ranked teams go 2-1

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There were only four games in the AAC this week, but three of them featured the conference's ranked teams. One of those ranked teams visited UH this week. Here's how I saw Week 12 in the AAC:

Coogs start hot but finish flat again

The Coogs jumped out to a 17-7 lead after the 1st quarter and looked like they were on their way to an upset. Then the second quarter happened. The Tigers outscored the Coogs 21-3 in the second quarter and never looked back cruising to a 45-27 win. UH was more than doubled up in offensive output 531 to 256. Good news: this team should be better next year and years to come. Bad news: there's two more games left this season and the offseason to wait through. If they can improve their efficiency on offense and improve to be an average to better than average defense, this team will be a top team in the conference again.

Other Key Results

Temple 29, Tulane 21: The nine points scored in the third quarter proved to be the difference between these two 6-3 teams. The Owls were up 22-7 heading into the fourth quarter when the Green wave finally found some offense.

#17 Cincinnati 20, USF 17: It took a heroic effort from Michael Warren II and a 37-yard field goal as time expired for the Bearcats to beat the Bulls. USF outgained Cincy by 160 yards, but couldn't pull off the upset of the conference's highest ranked team.

#23 Navy 20, #16 Notre Dame 52: The Midshipmen were dominated by their historic rival. The Fighting Irish recovered four fumbles on their way to a dominant performance. However, Navy still rushed for 281 yards in their loss.

Stars Of The Week

Brady White, QB, Memphis: If you saw a Power 5 quarterback threw for 341 yards and five touchdowns in an 18-point win over a conference rival on the road, you'd think he'd be in the Heisman race right? Someday, things will change for Group of 5 players, specifically in the AAC.

Michael Warren II, RB, Cincinnati: As I stated earlier, Warren kept the Bearcats in the game and helped them win almost singlehandedly. He totaled 164 yards on 28 touches and a touchdown. He accounted for 58.9% of their total yards on offense.

Jadan Blue, WR, Temple: At 12 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown in the Owls win over the Green Wave, Blue accounted for 54.5% of the receptions, 44.1% of the passing yards and a third of the touchdown passes. He's the team's leading receiver this season and is only a sophmore.

Games To Watch This Week

UCF @ Tulane

SMU @ #23 Navy

Temple @ #17 Cincinnati

Players To Watch This Week

Doug Gabriel, UCF: The Golden Knights are a prolific passing team. The Green Wave are stingy against the pass. The one that wins this battle should also win the game.

Malcolm Perry, Navy: Perry is Navy's leading passer and rusher in their triple option attack. However, SMU is worse against the pass than they are against the run. Perry's performance in both phases of the offense will be key to the outcome.

Anthony Russo, Temple: If the Owls want to pull off the upset against Cincy, Russo will have to have a great game. If he can keep the chains moving via the pass game against a Bearcats defense gives up more yards in the air than on the ground, The Owls will have a shot.

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Houston is back in the win column

McCullers Jr. spins a gem as Astros get a much-needed win over Giants

Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

After getting swept by the A's in Oakland to end a road trip with a five-game losing streak, the Astros returned to Houston to try and get back on track. To do so, they'd need a win against the Giants on Monday night. Here is a quick recap of the series opener:

Final Score: Astros 6, Giants 4.

Record: 7-9, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 6.10 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Logan Webb (1-1, 2.81 ERA).

Houston builds up an early lead

The early goings of Monday's game went very similar to the last time Lance McCullers Jr. took the mound. He would have a terrific first three innings while his offense gave him an early lead. The first run came in the bottom of the second, with Yuli Gurriel reaching base on a one-out double, moving to third on a wild pitch, then scoring on an RBI-single by Carlos Correa.

Correa would take part in a four-run inning in the third, as Houston would score two on a two-RBI ground-rule double by Michael Brantley, another on an error, then Correa's second RBI of the night, a groundout to bring in a run and make it 5-0. Unlike the last start in Arizona, where the roof opened and McCullers Jr. fell apart in the fourth, he was able to make quick work of his opponent for a 1-2-3 frame. As he kept recording scoreless innings, Martin Maldonado added another run to the lead with a one-out solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, making it 6-0.

McCullers Jr. takes a no-hitter into the seventh

While the Astros were building their lead, McCullers Jr. was spinning a gem on the mound. He allowed just one baserunner through the first six innings, which came on a hit-by-pitch. He entered the seventh with a no-hitter in progress, but the Giants would get their first hit of the night to end the no-hit bid.

Regardless, the start was precisely what McCullers Jr. needed to restore his confidence after the disastrous inning he had in his last appearance. He would go on to complete the seventh inning before Houston would go to the bullpen with the large lead in the eighth. His final line: 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K 0 HR, 1 HPB.

Houston gets back in the win column despite more struggles by Josh James

Josh James entered out of the bullpen for the top of the eighth but allowed the first run of the night for San Francisco via a solo home run with one out to make it 6-1. He would complete the inning and then return for the top of the ninth. He would have another rocky inning, issuing a leadoff walk before a single and double would make it a four-run game at 6-2, still with no outs in the inning and runners on second and third, prompting another call to the bullpen.

Dusty Baker would bring in his current closer, Ryan Pressly, to try and finish the game, now in a save situation. Pressly would retire the first two batters he faced before allowing a two-RBI single to make it 6-4, but would eventually get the final out to get Houston the much-needed win. With the victory, the Astros moved back into second place in the AL West standings.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Tuesday at 8:10 PM Central. The Giants, working with a fluid rotation, have not yet fully decided on their starter, while the Astros will get another start from Brandon Bielak (2-0, 0.87 ERA) who will look to repeat the success of his five-inning, no-run start in Arizona last week.

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