Friday, February 3, 2023
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CFB Week 6 Previews: American Athletic Conference

Week 6 Matchups in the AAC

THURSDAY, OCT. 7 • 7:30 P.M. • ESPN

HOUSTON at TULANE
Yulman Stadium (30,000/UBU Spee Series 5M)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Television: ESPN
Matt Barrie, Roddy Jones and Harry Lyles Jr.
Houston Radio Tulane Radio
KPRC-AM 950 KVDU-FM 104.1
SiriusXM 84 SiriusXM 381/971

THE GAME
Thursday’s game will be the 26th meeting between Houston and Tulane in a series that dates to 1968 … The Cougars hold an 18-7 series lead after last year’s 49-31 victory at TDECU Stadium … Tulane took the last meeting in New Orleans with a 38-31 victory, capped by a 53-yard touchdown reception with three seconds left.

HOUSTON
4-1, 2-0 American
Head Coach
Dana Holgorsen (Iowa Wesleyan ’93)
11-14, third season at Houston
72-55, 11th season as collegiate head coach

Notes
Houston has a four-game winning streak for the first time since the 2018 season after the Cougars cruised to a 45- 10 win at Tulsa last Friday … The only loss on Houston’s ledger was a 38-21 setback to Texas Tech in the season-opener … Houston has limited its opponents to 15.0 points and 253.6 yards per game … Houston is fourth nationally in total defense and fifth in pass defense (144.0 ypg) … QB Clayton Tune has thrown for 970 yards and seven touchdowns and has completed 92 of 129 passes (71.3%) … WR Nathaniel Dell has 31 receptions for 424 yards and three touchdowns … Freshman RB Alton McCaskill is the leading rusher with 319 yards and seven TDs … CB Marcus Jones has two punt returns for touchdowns and is averaging 17.7 yards per return, ranking third nationally.

TULANE
1-4, 0-1 American
Head Coach
Willie Fritz (Pittsburg State ’83)
30-36, sixth season at Tulane
184-105, 25th season as collegiate head coach

Notes
Tulane is looking to snap a three-game slide after the Green Wave fell 52-29 at East Carolina last Saturday … After opening the season by battling then-No. 2 Oklahoma in a 40-35 setback and cruising past Morgan State 69- 20, the Green Wave has allowed an average of 47 points per game in losses to Ole Miss, UAB and East Carolina … Tulane ranks fifth in The American in scoring at 35.0 ppg, but has allowed 40.2 points to rank 11th in the league … QB Michael Pratt has completed 94 of 160 passes for 1,150 yards and 11 touchdowns against five interceptions … WR Tyrick James has been the top receiver with 19 catches for 289 yards and two touchdowns … RB Cameron Carroll has a team-high 204 rushing yards with two touchdowns, while Pratt leads the squad with four rushing TDs.

FRIDAY, OCT. 8 • 7 P.M. • ESPN

TEMPLE at CINCINNATI
Nippert Stadium (40,000/UBU Speed Series 55-M)
Cincinnati, Ohio
Television: ESPN
Clay Matvick, Rocky Boiman and Tiffany Blackmon
Temple Radio Cincinnati Radio
WPEN-FM 97.5 WLW-AM 700
SiriusXM 380/970 SiriusXM 81

THE GAME
Friday’s game will be the 23rd meeting between Temple and Cincinnati in a series that dates to 1973 … Temple holds a 13-8-1 series lead and has won four of the last five meetings, but Cincinnati claimed a 15-13 win in 2019 the last times the teams played … The Bearcats won despite finishing with 210 yards of offense in that game.

TEMPLE
3-2, 1-0 American
Head Coach
Rod Carey (Indiana ’93)
12-13, third season at Temple
64-43, ninth season as collegiate head coach

Notes
Temple has registered back-to-back wins after the Owls overcame an early 17-0 deficit to rally past Memphis 34-31 last Saturday in Philadelphia … Temple’s other two wins were against Akron (45-24) and Wagner (41-7) … Temple has gone 0-2 against top-10 teams as an American Athletic Conference member, falling to No. 9 Notre Dame 24- 20 in 2015 and 52-40 to No. 9 UCF in 2018 … The Owls’ last win against a ranked team was a 30-28 victory against Memphis in 2019 … QB D’Wan Mathis has thrown for 764 yards and five touchdowns against one interception in three games … The leading receiver is WR Randle Jones, who has 14 catches for 240 yards and two TDs, but has missed two games due to injury … LB William Kwenkeu has 3.0 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss to lead the defense.

5/6 CINCINNATI
4-0, 0-0 American
Head Coach
Luke Fickell (Ohio State ’97)
39-14, fifth season at Cincinnati
45-21, sixth season as collegiate head coach

Notes
Cincinnati is one of the nation’s 17 unbeaten teams after the Bearcats scored a 24-13 win at No. 9 Notre Dame … It was Cincinnati’s first road win in program history against a top-10 team … Cincinnati has been ranked in the top 10 of both national polls all season and in 18 consecutive polls dating to last season … The No. 5 ranking in the Associated Press poll is the highest for any American Athletic Conference team in league history (Houston was No. 5 in the coaches’ poll in 2016) … QB Desmond Ridder has thrown for 1,045 yards and nine touchdowns against two interceptions and has three rushing TDs … WR Alec Pierce has 15 catches for 294 yards and a TD … The defense is led by All-America CB Ahmad Gardner, who is one of three players on the team with two interceptions.

SATURDAY, OCT. 9 • 3:30 P.M. • CBSSN

SMU at NAVY
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (34,000/FieldTurf)
Annapolis, Maryland
Television: CBS Sports Network
John Sadak, Randy Cross and Sheehan Stanwick-Burch
SMU Radio Navy Radio
KTCK-FM 96.7 WBAL-AM 1090
SiriusXM 380/970 SiriusXM 137/201/964

THE GAME
Saturday’s game will be the 23rd meeting between SMU and Navy in a series that dates to 1930 … Navy holds a 13-9 series lead … The home team has won the last four after SMU’s 51-37 win last season in Dallas … Navy has won the last five at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium as the Mustangs look for their win in Annapolis since 1998.

24/24 SMU 5-0, 0-0 American
Head Coach
Sonny Dykes (Texas Tech ‘93)
27-14, fourth season at SMU
66-59, 11th season as collegiate head coach

Notes
SMU is off to a 5-0 start for the third consecutive season after the Mustangs took a 41-17 win against South Florida … The Mustangs have averaged 42.6 points and 532.4 yards through their first five games … QB Tanner Mordecai has led the way with 1,569 passing yards and 24 touchdown passes … Mordecai has five more TD passes than any other NCAA FBS player and twice as many TDs as any other American Athletic Conference player … RB Ulysses Bentley IV is averaging 7.6 yards per carry and has 403 rushing yards … WR Danny Gray has 27 receptions for 432 yards and seven touchdowns, while WR Rashee Rice has 22 catches for 298 yards and six TDs … LB Gary Wiley has a team-high 3.0 sacks …LB Delano Robinson leads the squad with 27 tackles.

NAVY
1-3, 1-1 American
Head Coach
Ken Niumatalolo (Hawaii ‘89)
102-70, 14th season

Notes
Navy had lost its first two games by a combined score of 72-10, but the Midshipmen put together their best performance of the year in a 34-30 win against UCF … Navy trailed UCF 30-17 in the fourth quarter before the Midshipmen closed the game with 17 straight points … Navy is averaging 227.8 rushing yards per game after the Midshipmen had 348 yards against UCF last Saturday … FB Isaac Ruoss leads the squad with 211 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while three other players have at least 100 yards on the season … QB Tai Lavatai returned to the starting lineup against UCF and responded with two rushing touchdowns and 57 yards on the ground … LB Diego Fagot has a team-high 39 tackles to go with 6.0 tackles for loss and a forced fumble … LB Taylor Robinson had an interception and a fumble recovery against UCF.

SATURDAY, OCT. 9 • 6 P.M. • ESPN+

EAST CAROLINA at Central Florida
The Bounce House (44,206/Natural Grass)
Orlando, Florida
Television: ESPN+
Courtney Lyle and Brandon Weeden
East Carolina Radio UCF Radio
WNCT-FM 107.9 WYGM-FM 96.9
SiriusXM 382/972

THE GAME
Saturday’s game will be the 20th meeting between East Carolina and UCF in a series that dates to 1991 … The Pirates lead the series 10-9, though the Knights have taken the last five meetings, including a 51-28 decision last season in Greenville, North Carolina … East Carolina’s last win against UCF was a 44-7 victory in Orlando in 2015.

EAST CAROLINA
3-2, 1-0 American
Head Coach
Mike Houston (Mars Hill ’94)
10-16, third season at East Carolina
90-41, 11th season as collegiate head coach

Notes
East Carolina takes a three-game winning streak into Saturday’s game following the Pirates’ 52-29 win against Tulane … The Pirates had dropped their first two contests, but have rebounded to defeat Marshall, Charleston Southern and Tulane … East Carolina averaged 18.0 points in its first two games, but has averaged 42.7 points in its last three … RB Keaton Mitchell has averaged 114.8 rushing yards per game and 9.6 yards per carry … Mitchell has 574 yards and four touchdowns on 60 attempts … QB Holton Ahlers has completed 101 of 169 passes for 1,266 yards and seven touchdowns … The leading receiver is WR Tyler Snead, who has 22 catches for 280 yards and two TDs … CB Ja’Quan McMillian is the national leader in passes defended (3.2 per game) and interceptions (four).

Central Florida
2-2, 0-1 American
Head Coach
Gus Malzahn (Henderson State ‘90)
2-2, first season at UCF
79-40, 10th season as collegiate head coach

Notes
UCF looks to bounce back from back-to-back losses as the Knights fell 34-30 at Navy last weekend in their American Athletic Conference opener … The Knights are 0-1 in The American for the first time since 2015 … Freshman QB Mikey Keene made his first career start in the loss to Navy after QB Dillon Gabriel suffered an injury to his clavicle on the final play of the game against Louisville … The Knights were also without leading RB Isaiah Bowser (268 rushing yards, five TDs) and WR Jaylon Robinson (12 receptions, 234 yards, 2 TDs) against Navy … RB Johnny Richardson was the primary back against Navy and has 193 yards on 26 carries … WR Brandon Johnson leads the team with 19 receptions for 230 yards and five touchdowns … LB Bryson Armstrong has a team-high 40 tackles.

SATURDAY, OCT. 9 • 9 P.M. • ESPN2

MEMPHIS at TULSA
H.A. Chapman Stadium (30,000/FieldTurf)
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Television: ESPN2
Brian Custer, Kelly Stouffer and Lauren Sisler
Memphis Radio Tulsa Radio
WKIM-FM 98.9 KXBL-FM 99.5
SiriusXM 380/970 SiriusXM 381/971

THE GAME
Saturday’s game will be the 32nd meeting between Memphis and Tulsa in a series that dates to 1961 … The Tigers have a 19-11 series lead and have won three straight and five of the last six against the Golden Hurricane … Memphis has won the last three meetings in Tulsa, including a 42-41 decision in 2019.

MEMPHIS
3-2, 0-1 American
Head Coach
Ryan Silverfield (Hamden-Sydney ’03)
11-6, second season at Memphis

Notes
Memphis won its first three games of the season, but the Tigers hope to snap a two-game slide after they fell 34-31 at Temple last Saturday … The Tigers held sizeable leads in their last two games as they were ahead of UTSA 21-0 and held a 17-0 cushion against Temple, but were unable to protect the leads … QB Seth Henigan has started every game as a true freshman and has 1,475 yards and 12 touchdown passes against only one interception … RB Brandon Thomas leads the team with 509 rushing yards and four touchdowns, while WR Calvin Austin III has 35 receptions for 637 yards and seven touchdowns … Austin leads The American with 127.4 receiving yards per game … TE Sean Dykes has 22 receptions for for 391 yards and three TDs … LB JJ Russell is the nation’s leading tackler with 61 stops and an average of 12.2 tackles per game.

TULSA
1-4, 0-1 American
Head Coach
Philip Montgomery (Tarleton State ’95)
32-44, seventh season

Notes
Tulsa was unable to string together back-to-back wins as the Golden Hurricane dropped a 45-10 decision to Houston last Friday … Tulsa had snapped a three-game slide with a 41-34 win against Arkansas State Sept. 25 … Saturday’s game completes a three-game homestand for the Golden Hurricane … QB Davis Brin has started all five games and has thrown for 1,467 yards and six touchdowns, but has been intercepted eight times … RB Shamari Brooks (290 yards, 1 TD) leads a trio of backs with at least 200 rushing yards … WR Josh Johnson has 26 catches for 341 yards and a touchdown, while WR Sam Crawford Jr. has 17 receptions for 338 yards and two TDs … S Kendarin Ray leads the team with 34 tackles, while DE Cullen Wick has 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks … K Zack Long has gone 7-for-7 on field goal attempts and 12-for-12 on PATs.

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