A LOOK AT THE AAC

The UH/AAC Report: UH loses Battle of the Cougars, plus other blowouts and big wins

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This week saw UH falling to Washington State by seven, UCF continuing to roll, a couple blowouts, and Temple picking up a big upset win. Let's dive into week three of the AAC:

UH loses Battle of the Cougars

Losing to a top 25 team on a "neutral site" by seven isn't what you want from a program looking to gain more respect nationally, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing either. The Fighting Holgorsens will get right. Dana said as much on The Bench With John and Lance. While he estimates it could take up to two years. I think it could happen much faster if they get transfers.

Other Key Results

UCF 45, Stanford 27: It's the Golden Knights' world and all other AAC teams are living in it. Good win over a PAC 12 team.

Tulane 58, Missouri State 6: The Green Wave beat up on a lesser talented team in a tune up before their Thursday night showdown with UH.

Temple 20, Maryland 17: The Owls threw a cold bucket of ice water on one of the hottest teams in the country. They held the #21 ranked Terps 54 points under their early season average.

Navy 42, ECU 10: The Midshipmen picked up the first conference win of the season by besting the Pirates. They even outpassed the Pirates 153 to 138.

Memphis 42, South Alabama 6: The Tigers continue to roll despite losing NFL talent. This team will be one to watch this season.

Stars of the week

Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane: The freshman had eight carries for 89 yards and a touchdown. He added one catch that went for an 88 yard touchdown. Not bad for your third collegiate game.

Dillon Gabriel, QB, UCF: He completed 73% of his passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns against Stanford at home. This performance makes the loss of McKenzie Milton sting a lot less.

Temple's Defense: The Owls held the high scoring Terps to 3.5 yards per rush, 4.6 yards per pass attempt, and only 17 points. Considering Maryland scored 79 and 63 in their first two games respectively, I was impressed.

Five games to watch this week

UH vs Tulane

UCF vs Pitt

SMU vs TCU

Temple vs Buffalo

UConn vs Indiana (Indiana is a -27 favorite. Who's taking the Huskies and the points?)

Three players to watch this week

Dillon Gabriel, UCF: Coming off last week's performance against a Power Five school at home, can Gabriel replicate or one up himself on the road against another Power Five School?

TJ McDaniel & Xavier Jones, SMU: The two running backs combined for 267 yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries last week against TX State. TCU offers a much different type of opponent as they allow only 62 yards a game on the ground.

UH Offense: The Tulane defense gives up 14.7 points, 181 yards passing and 95 on the ground on a per game basis so far in this young season. That's a stingy defense to go against considering the Coogs offense has struggled to get going and rev up to full potential.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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