Monday, February 26, 2024

CFB Week 5 Game Previews: American Athletic Conference

FRIDAY, OCT. 1 • 7:30 P.M. • ESPN

H.A. Chapman Stadium (30,000/FieldTurf)
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Roy Philpott, Andre Ware and Paul Carcaterra
Houston Radio Tulsa Radio
KPRC-AM 950 KXBL-FM 99.5
SiriusXM 381/971 SiriusXM 380/970

Friday’s game will be the 45th meeting between Houston and Tulsa in a series that dates to 1950 … Houston holds a 25-19 series lead and has won five of the six meetings as American Athletic Conference members … The Cougars have won the last two meetings, including a 24-14 decision in Tulsa in 2019.

3-1, 1-0 American
Head Coach
Dana Holgorsen (Iowa Wesleyan ’93)
10-14, third season at Houston
71-55, 11th season as collegiate head coach

Houston improved to 3-1 with a 28-20 win against Navy in the Cougars’ American Athletic Conference opener last Saturday … The Cougars opened 2021 with a 38-21 loss to Texas Tech, but have won their last three games … Houston has limited its opponents to 16.2 points and 244.8 yards per game … Houston is fifth nationally in total defense and fourth in pass defense (116.0 ypg) … QB Clayton Tune has thrown for 729 yards and five touchdowns and has completed 75 of 105 passes (71.4%) … WR
Nathaniel Dell has 25 receptions for 342 yards and three touchdowns … Freshman RB Alton McCaskill is the leading rusher with 242 yards and four TDs … LB Derek Parish has team highs with 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss … CB Marcus Jones has two punt returns for touchdowns.

1-3, 0-0 American
Head Coach
Philip Montgomery (Tarleton State ’95)
32-43, seventh season

Tulsa picked up its first win of the 2021 season with a 41-34 decision against Arkansas State last week at Chapman Stadium … The Golden Hurricane was stunned by FCS UC Davis 19-17 in the season-opener and were within striking distance in road games against Oklahoma State and Ohio State before getting the win against the Red Wolves … QB Davis Brin has started all four games and has completed 82 of 134 passes for 1,209 yards and five touchdowns and is second in The American in passing with 302.3 yards per game … Tulsa has three running backs with at least 175 rushing yards this season, led by RB Shamari Brooks, who has 292 yards and a TD on 52 carries … WR Josh Johnson has 23 catches for 317 yards and a touchdown to lead a talented group of receivers … DE Cullen Wick has 2.0 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss to lead the defense.


Lincoln Financial Field (69,596/Natural Grass)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Kevin Brown and Hutson Mason
WKIM-FM 98.9 WPEN-FM 97.5
SiriusXM 381/971 SiriusXM 380/970

Saturday’s game will be the seventh meeting between Memphis and Temple in a series that dates to the formation of the American Athletic Conference in 2013 … Each team has won three games in the series, while the home team has won the last four matchups … Memphis was a 41-29 winner at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium last year.

3-1, 0-0 American
Head Coach
Ryan Silverfield (Hamden-Sydney ’03)
11-5, second season

Memphis suffered its first loss of the season last week as the Tigers let an early 21-0 lead slip away and fell 31-28 to UTSA when the Roadrunners got the game-winning field goal as time expired … Memphis had reeled off wins against Nicholls (42-17), Arkansas State (55-50) and Mississippi State (31-29) to start the year … The loss to UTSA snapped a 17-game winning streak at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium … The top player has been WR Calvin Austin III, who has 27 receptions for 533 yards and seven touchdowns and also has a 94-yard punt return for a touchdown on his ledger … QB Seth Henigan has thrown for 1,170 yards and nine touchdowns as a true freshman … RB Brandon Thomas leads The American in rushing at 123.5 yards per game … LB JJ Russell is the national leader in tackles, averaging 11.8 per game.

2-2, 0-0 American
Head Coach
Rod Carey (Indiana ’93)
11-13, third season at Temple
63-43, ninth season as collegiate head coach

Temple is looking to string together back-to-back wins for the first time this season after the Owls scored to a 41-7 win against Wagner last Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field … Temple fell behind 7-0, but closed the game with 41 unanswered points … The Owls’ other victory was a 45-24 decision at Akron, while Temple has fallen to Rutgers and Boston College … Temple has been outscored 47-7 in the first quarter, but has outscored its opponents by a 79-38 margin in the second and third periods … QB D’Wan Mathis, who had missed the previous two games due to injury, returned to the starting lineup against Wagner … Mathis has thrown for 440 yards and two touchdowns in two starts … WR Randle Jones has 14 catches for 240 yards and two touchdowns.

SATURDAY, OCT. 2 • 2:30 P.M. • NBC

Notre Dame Stadium (77,622/FieldTurf)
Notre Dame, Indiana
Mike Tirico, Drew Brees and Kathryn Tappen
WLW-AM 700 (Cincinnati flagship)
SiriusXM 211

Saturday’s game will be the second meeting between Cincinnati and Notre Dame and the schools’ first meeting since the Fighting Irish took a 58-0 win Oct. 20, 1900 …
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly served as Cincinnati’s head coach from 2006-09 and led the Bearcats to a pair of Big East championships and a No. 3 national ranking.

3-0, 0-0 American
Head Coach
Luke Fickell (Ohio State ’97)
38-14, fifth season at Cincinnati
44-21, sixth season as collegiate head coach

Cincinnati returns from an open week that followed a solid 38-24 win against Indiana in Week 3 … The Bearcats opened the 2021 season with a 49-14 victory against
Miami (Ohio) and a 42-7 win against Murray State … Cincinnati has been ranked in the top 10 of both national polls all season and 17 consecutive polls dating to last season … QB Desmond Ridder has thrown for 748 yards and seven touchdowns against two interceptions this season … RB Jerome Ford has averaged 100 rushing yards per game and has a team-high six rushing TDs … WR Alec Pierce has nine catches for 150 yards and a TD … The defense is led by All-America CB Ahmad Gardner, who leads a secondary that allowed only 160.7 passing yards per game … LB Deshawn Pace has 25 tackles and 2.0 tackles for loss..

Head Coach
Brian Kelly (Assumption ’83)
106-96, 12th season at Notre Dame
277-96-2, 31st season as collegiate head coach

Notre Dame brings an unbeaten record into Saturday’s game after the Irish scored a 41-13 win against No. 15 Wisconsin Saturday in Chicago … Notre Dame opened with
an overtime win at Florida State and has followed with victories against Toledo and Purdue … The 4-0 start is the sixth in 12 seasons for head coach Brian Kelly in South Bend … The strength of the Irish has been a defense that has registered nine interceptions through four games, tying for first nationally, and has 14 sacks … Kelly surpassed Knute Rockne for the most wins in program history when he picked up his 106th win against Wisconsin … QB Jack Coan has thrown for 986 yards and nine touchdowns … RB Kyren Williams has a team-high 244 rushing yards with two TDs … FS Kyle Hamilton has three interceptions.

SATURDAY, OCT. 2 • 3:30 P.M. • CBSSN

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (34,000/FieldTurf)
Annapolis, Maryland
CBS Sports Network
Chick Hernandez, Randy Cross and Sheehan Burch
UCF Radio Navy Radio
WYGM-FM 96.9 WBAL-AM 1090
SiriusXM 134/207/967

Saturday’s game will be the third meeting between UCF and Navy … The only two previous meetings were in 2017 and 2018, when the Knights scored a pair of wins as part of their 25-game winning streak that spanned both seasons … The 2017 meeting in Annapolis saw UCF RB Adrian Killins rush for 122 yards and two TDs.

-/rv UCF
2-1, 0-0 American
Head Coach
Gus Malzahn (Henderson State ‘90)
2-1, first season at UCF
79-39, 10th season as collegiate head coach

UCF suffered its first loss of the season in Week 3 when Louisville rallied for a 42-35 victory … The Knights had opened with wins against Boise State (36-31) and
Bethune-Cookman (63-14) and did not play in Week 4 … QB Dillon Gabriel has been sidelined indefinitely with a clavicle injury on the final play of the game at Louisville … True freshman QB Mikey Keene is expected to make his first career start in the game at Navy … RB Isaiah Bowser has rushed for 268 yards and five touchdowns, while RB Johnny Richardson averages 8.9 yards per carry and has 134 rushing yards … WR Brandon Johnson leads the team with 15 receptions for 151 yards and three touchdowns … WR Ryan O’Keefe also has 15 catches to go with 229 yards, while WR Jaylon Robinson averages 19.5 yards per catch.

0-3, 0-1 American
Head Coach
Ken Niumatalolo (Hawaii ‘89)
101-70, 14th season

Navy looks for its first win of the season as the Midshipmen dropped a 28-20 decision to Houston in their American Athletic Conference opener last week … Navy is looking to snap an eight-game losing streak that dates to last year … The Midshipmen are in a stretch in which they face the top five teams in The American’s preseason media poll followed by a road game against No. 7 Notre Dame … Navy has gone 30-18 all-time in conference games since joining The American in 2015, but is 0-1 in conference play for the first time … Navy has averaged 187.7 rushing yards per game, led by QB Xavier Arline, who has a team-leading 171 yards with two touchdowns on 51 carries … Navy’s quarterbacks have completed 12 of 34 passes (35.3%) … WR Mychal Cooper has six receptions for 128 yards and is averaging 21.3 yards per catch.

SATURDAY, OCT. 2 • 3:30 P.M. • ESPN+

Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (50,000/Natural Grass)
Greenville, North Carolina
Mark Neely and Barrett Brooks
Tulane Radio East Carolina Radio
KVDU-FM 104.1 WNCT-FM 107.9
SiriusXM 381/971 SiriusXM 380/970

Saturday’s game will be the 17th meeting between East Carolina and Tulane in a series that dates to 1991 … The Pirates hold an 11-5 series lead, though the Green Wave has won the last three meetings … Tulane took a 38-21 win last season in Greenville as QB Michael Pratt threw for 216 yards and three touchdowns.

1-3, 0-0 American
Head Coach
Willie Fritz (Pittsburg State ’83)
30-36, sixth season at Tulane
184-105, 25th season as collegiate head coach

Tulane is looking for its first win of the 2021 season after the Green Wave dropped a 28-21 decision to UAB in what turned out to be the school’s home opener …
Tulane battled No. 2 Oklahoma to the wire in a 40-35 loss in Week 1 and cruised past Morgan State 69-20 in Week 2 before dropping games to Ole Miss (61-21) and UAB … Pratt has thrown for 882 yards and 10 touchdowns against two interceptions in four games … The leading rusher is RB Cameron Carroll, who has 14 rushing yards and a touchdown on 33 carries … WR Tyrick James has 15 catches for 246 yards and two touchdowns … The defense is paced by DE Noah Seiden, who has 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss, whle LB Darius Hodges leads the team with 6.0 tackles for loss.

2-2, 0-0 American
Head Coach
Mike Houston (Mars Hill ’94)
9-16, third season at East Carolina
89-41, 11th season as collegiate head coach

East Carolina has won its last two games after the Pirates held off upset-minded Charleston Southern for a 31-28 victory last Saturday … That result followed a 42-38 win at Marshall in which the Pirates trailed by 17 points in the fourth quarter … East Carolina opened the season with losses to Appalachian State (33-19) and South Carolina (20-17) … QB Holton Ahlers has thrown for 978 yards and five touchdowns in 80-of-138 passing … The top target has been WR Tyler Snead, who has 18 catches for 202 yards and a TD … RB Keaton Mitchell has averaged 7.8 yards per carry, has 352 rushing yards with two touchdowns and is the second-leading receiver with 14 catches … The defense is led by CB Ja’Quan McMillian, who has a league-leading three interceptions and a team-high 27 tackles.


Gerald J. Ford Stadium (32,000/FieldTurf)
Dallas, Texas
Mike Couzens and Dustin Fox
South Florida Radio SMU Radio
WHNZ-AM 1250 KTCK-FM 96.7
Sirius 382/972

Saturday’s game will be the sixth meeting between South Florida and SMU in a series that started with the formation of The American in 2013 … The Bulls hold a 3-2 series lead, but the Mustangs were 48-21 winners in Tampa in the last meeting in 2019 … SMU QB Shane Buechele threw for 226 yards and three TDs in that game.

1-3, 0-0 American
Head Coach
Jeff Scott (Clemson ’03)
2-11, second season

South Florida dropped a 35-27 decision at No. 15 BYU last Saturday, but the Bulls were able to close within one score of the Cougars after falling behind 21-0 to start the game … South Florida has played a challenging schedule that has included three teams ranked in this week’s Associated Press top 25 (No. 10 Florida, No. 13 BYU, No. 23 NC State) … QB Timmy McClain has started the last two games as a true freshman and has passed for 558 yards and a touchdown to go with 132 rushing yards … RB Jaren Mangham leads the team with 168 rushing yards and has a league-leading seven rushing touchdowns … WR Xavier Weaver has 14 receptions for 294 yards and a TD and is averaging 21.0 yards per catch … The defense has been led by LB Andrew Mims and LB Daquan Evans, who have 25 tackles each, while LB Dwayne Boyles has 24 stops.

rv/rv SMU
4-0, 0-0 American
Head Coach
Sonny Dykes (Texas Tech ‘93)
26-14, fourth season at SMU
67-59, 11th season as collegiate head coach

SMU is off to a 4-0 start for the third consecutive season after the Mustangs won a 42-34 decision at TCU in the 100th battle for the Iron Skillet … SMU started the
season with wins against Abilene Christian (56-9), North Texas (35-12) and Louisiana Tech (39-37) … The Mustangs have averaged 43.0 points and 549.8 yards through their first four games … QB Tanner Mordecai has led the way with 1,268 passing yards and 20 touchdown passes … Mordecai has five more TD passes than any other NCAA
FBS player … RB Ulysses Bentley IV is averaging 7.6 yards per carry and has 403 rushing yards on 53 attempts … WR Danny Gray and WR Rahsee Rice have five touchdowns
each … Gray has 20 catches for 358 yards … LB Delano Robinson has a team-high 23 tackles.

Leather Head Sports

Related Articles

BougeRV Solar Generator

Latest Articles

Sports Gaming Digest Sports Magazine