THE AAC REPORT

The UH/AAC Report: rough week for some, cruise control for others

The UH/AAC Report: rough week for some, cruise control for others

As the AAC enters week two of the season, we start to see who's who. Some teams are challenged in ways others aren't by playing Power 5 schools. Others smash Group of 5 weaklings and continue to roll. When conference play starts, all that goes out the window. This week will see more tests and cupcakes for AAC teams.

UH outlasts PVU

The Cougars won 37-17 over a team they should've hung at least 50 or more on. The margin of victory should've been at least 30 or more. A team who fancies themselves as an offensive juggernaut has to do more against a much lesser opponent. The 24 points they scored in the first quarter was great, especially giving up only 3 points. But being outscored 14 to 13 in the remaining three quarters is awful. The Cougars are going to have to make some serious adjustments if they plan on being taken serious in Dana Holgorsen's first season as head coach.

Other key results

UCF 48, FAU 14: The Golden Knights continue to roll with an easy win over the fighting Lane Kiffins. Another 500+ yards of offense despite a -11 minute disadvantage in time of possession.

Auburn 24, Tulane 6: Holding a top 10 team under 30 points in a loss is considered a moral victory in my book. Coach Fritz continues to improve the Green Wave as they're a team to watch.

Memphis 55, Southern 24:The Tigers of Memphis are on a roll despite losing some NFL talent the last couple years. Southern gave them a bit of a fight, but they managed an easy win anyway.

Stars of the week

Xavier Jones, RB, SMU: Jones had 16 carries for 127 yards and three touchdowns in their 49-27 win over North Texas. The Mustangs are a passing team, but if the run game can produce like this, look out.

Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF: Although he ddin't have a touchdown catch, I think Davis is showing some NFL potential. Three catches for 98 yards is impressive when you see his 6'3 212lb frame going against college defensive backs.

Darius Pinnix Jr, RB, ECU: the 6'0 234lb bowling ball totaled 134 yards and a touchdown in a 48-9 win over Gardner-Webb. He's another NFL-sized guy going against smallish defenders and making it count.

5 games to watch this week

Houston vs Washington State

UCF vs Stanford

Temple vs Maryland

Tulsa vs Oklahoma State

ECU vs Navy

3 players to watch this week

D'Eriq King, Houston: Two pooor performances to start the season is uncharacteristic. Despite coming off ACL surgery, he should be showing better.

Gabriel Davis, UCF: Seeing him go against Power 5 defensive backs will be interesting. This whole offense should be watched to see how they'll perform.

Justin McMillan, Tulane: Coming off a loss to Auburn, Missouri State shouldn't provide much of a challenge for the Cedar Hill native.

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Welcome back, Justin! Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will make his season debut Friday night at the Washington Nationals.

Houston manager Joe Espada made the announcement Wednesday.

“Getting him back is huge because it brings a level of confidence to our team, a boost of confidence that we’re going to get someone who’s been an MVP, a Cy Young (winner) on the mound,” Espada said. “It's (good) for the morale and to get stuff started and moving in the right direction.”

The three-time Cy Young Award winner opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder. He made two rehabilitation starts, the first for Triple-A Sugar Land on April 7 before Saturday’s start for Double-A Corpus Christi.

Espada wouldn't say how many pitches the 41-year-old would be limited to but said they'll keep an eye on his workload.

“We've got to be careful how hard we push him early,” Espada said. “I know he’s going to want to go and stay out there and give us an opportunity to win, but we've got to be cautious of how hard we push him early in the season.”

Verlander wasn’t thrilled with the results in his rehabilitation starts, but he said Monday that those games were valuable in getting him prepared to come off the IL.

He allowed seven hits and six runs — five earned — in four innings against Frisco on Saturday. He struck out three, walked one and threw 51 of 77 pitches for strikes.

Verlander allowed six earned runs and struck out six while pitching into the fourth inning for Sugar Land on April 7.

The Astros have gotten off to a tough start with Verlander and fellow starters Framber Valdez and José Urquidy on the injured list. They enter Wednesday's games last in the AL West with a 6-13 record.

Espada hopes Verlander can be the boost the team needs to get on track.

“It’s good to get him back in the rotation,” Espada said. “With what he means to this club just to get him back on track, getting some innings from him (to) build our rotation with the pieces that we need to move forward is exciting.”

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