A LOOK AT THE AAC

The UH/AAC report: Memphis, Cincy get big wins; UH gets rolled by Oklahoma

Photo via: UH Football/Facebook

The AAC season is under way with two teams - Cincinnati and Memphis - scoring big wins over power 5 schools. UCF continues to roll and Houston took a tough loss in its opener against OU. A look at the AAC in Week 1:

Cougars fall

New coach Dana Holgorsen inherited a flawed roster at UH, and it showed in the 49-31 loss to Oklahoma. The Cougar defense was rough, forcing only one punt late in the game when OU had backups in. Otherwise, two fumbles and two missed field goals were all that kept the Sooners off the board. D'Eriq King struggled in the new offense and did not hit 200 yards passing, but did rush for over 100 yards. The Cougars get a breather with Prairie View this week before another high profile opponent - Washington State - visits.

Other key results

Memphis 15, Ole Miss 10: The Tigers won in a very different way - with stout defense - knocking off an SEC bottom feeder.

Cincinnati 24, UCLA 14: Cincy's stingy defense made life terrible for UCLA, and took a huge win. Cincy gets another tough opponent with Ohio State up next.

Tulane 42, FIU 14: Willie Fritz and the Green Wave are on the upswing, and a big win over a tough FIU squad was a nice way to start the season.

UCF 62, Florida A&M 0: The Golden Knights train keeps on rolling along with another easy win over an outmatched opponent.

Three stars of the week

1) Patrick Taylor, RB, Memphis: The Tigers lost two NFL running backs in the off-season, but Taylor picked up where they left off, rushing for 128 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries in the win over Memphis.

2) Anthony Russo, QB, Temple: Russo hit on 31 of 42 passes for 409 yards and 4 TDs for the Owls in a 56-12 romp. Granted, it was Bucknell, but still a big effort.

3) Shane Buechele, QB, SMU: The Texas transfer was 30-of-49 for 360 yards as the Mustangs knocked off Arkansas State 37-30.

5 games to watch this week

1) Cincinnati at No. 5 Ohio State

2) North Texas at SMU

3) Prairie View at Houston

4) Tulane at Auburn

5) South Florida at Georgia Tech

3 players to watch

1) D'Eriq King, Houston: The mercurial quarterback did not have a good passing day at OU. He should rectify that this week against Prairie View.

2) Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati: After a solid debut against Ole Miss, Ridder will need a big effort to keep Cincy in shouting distance of Ohio State.

3) Reggie Roberson, Jr., WR, SMU: Roberson had a monster week with 11 catch for 180 yards against Arkansas State. He will need to be just as good as the Ponies face a tough North Texas team this week.

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Houston can win series on Sunday

Timely hitting helps Astros edge out D-backs to even series

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Astros had two losses over the last 24 hours; one a game against the Diamondbacks in the series opener on Friday night, the other the news that their recovering ace, Justin Verlander, announced Saturday afternoon that he is opting to undergo Tommy John surgery. The decision and surgery will likely sideline Verlander through 2021 when his current contract with Houston ends.

With that, the Astros headwinds continued to increase, meaning a win to even the series with Arizona on Saturday would be a much-needed pick-me-up. Here's how they did:

Final Score: Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2.

Record: 26-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Enoli Paredes (3-2, 2.84 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luke Weaver (1-8, 6.51 ERA).

D-backs score two on Javier who is pulled early

Kole Calhoun, who drove in four runs, including a home run in Friday's game, would start the scoring on Saturday with a solo home run off of Cristian Javier in the top of the second, giving Arizona an early 1-0 lead. Javier allowed another run in the top of the third, giving up a leadoff single that would move to third on a groundout then score on a sac fly, doubling the lead to 2-0.

Javier finished the third and tossed a 1-2-3 fourth, but whether it be due to a pre-determined pitch count or other situation, he would not go any further, ending his night there on just 77 pitches. His final line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 77 P.

Astros grab a lead in the sixth

The Astros were able to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third, getting a leadoff single by Josh Reddick, who would move to third after a walk and fielder's choice before scoring on an RBI-groundout by Jose Altuve, making it 2-1. Enoli Paredes was first out of Houston's bullpen, taking over for Javier in the top of the fifth and retiring six straight batters for two perfect frames.

Houston would get to Luke Weaver in the bottom of the sixth, getting a leadoff single by George Springer, who would score from first on an RBI-double by Altuve to tie the game. Altuve would come around as the go-ahead run later in the inning on an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, knocking Weaver out of the game as the Astros took their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Houston evens the series and moves back up to .500

Josh James was the next reliever for Houston in the top of the seventh, and despite getting into a jam by issuing a one-out walk and hitting the next batter, he was able to get out of it. It was thanks to a great play by Michael Brantley, who started a double play by catching a lineout and throwing a runner out at second to end the inning.

Brooks Raley had the eighth and erased a one-out walk by retiring the next two batters to maintain the one-run lead. After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, the Astros turned to closer Ryan Pressly to get another save and finish the one-run game. Pressly would do so, as Houston would move back up to .500 and even the series 1-1 heading into the rubber game on Sunday.

Up Next: The finale of this series between Houston and Arizona, and Houston's last regular-season home game of 2020, will get underway at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 8.53) ERA will be on the mound for the D-backs, while Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.70 ERA) will start for the Astros.

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