What We Learned From Week Four in the American Athletic Conference

Great news everyone! Nobody is going to go winless during the 2018 seas—

Oh hey there, Tulsa, UConn and ECU. Sure, that game between Tulsa and UConn might decide the answer to the trivia question of “who was the only AAC team to not beat an FBS opponent in 2018?” But again, everyone’s got a win!

Anyways…

Temple is still alive, and they’ve got a great defense to thank for it.

O.K.

To be fair, they can also thank Tulsa’s unspectacular offensive line, and the fact that Luke Skipper is still a long way from developed as a quarterback.

But this Owl defense was insane. Six sacks, five turnovers, and two of those turnovers returned for touchdowns. If this is the way that Temple’s defense can play on a weekly basis, then they might just cause some havoc in this division after all.

We’ll find out for sure how good they are against Boston College, and should then get back to business at home against ECU.

I’m not saying that they’re going to be world-beaters, or that starting Anthony Russo is clearly the solution at quarterback. But Ryquell Armstead recording a third consecutive 100-yard game and a sack on Saturday erases a lot of the foul taste from opening with goose eggs against Villanova and (admittedly possibly great) Buffalo.

SMU is still alive, and they’ve got Reggie Roberson to thank for it

This game was a bit of a special teams adventure, but it worked out for the Mustangs to get off the schnide.

Roberson caught the touchdown that gave SMU a 10-7 lead at the half, but that wasn’t his big achievement of the night.

Navy plowed down the field against SMU, and you wondered if this was the Mids starting to take control and shift the momentum. Then Roberson took the ensuing kickoff 98 yards to give the Mustangs back a lead that would stick for the rest of the game.

Things got weird later, as a 24-21 win became a 23-23 trip to overtime thanks to a blocked SMU extra point that became a safety, but Sonny Dykes pulled some trickery to get the win in overtime on a two-point conversion.

USF and Cinci are undefeated, but good luck with UCF (and each other)

Yes, these teams are a combined 8-0. However, after this past weekend, we might have to wonder if their non-conference schedules were a bit softer than we initially thought.

Cincinnati got to 4-0 with a 34-30 win over Ohio. Nobody is saying that Ohio is a pushover; Fran Solich is a known commodity and a great coach, and Ohio came into this season as a favorite in the MAC for a reason.

That said, if you said pregame that Cinci wouldn’t take their first lead until the final four minutes, you’re doing some shady dealings and I want to meet “your guy.” Call me.

That was easily the best offense the Bearcats have played so far this season, but it’s nowhere near the best offense they’ll see this season, so while they’re probably a lock for abowl game at this point, we’ll see how they hold up in conference play.

USF, on the other hand, was playing East Carolina. At home.

Now, I don’t really know what the hell ECU is just yet. They lost at home to North Carolina A&T, but then won at home against North Carolina and shut them out in the second half.

But as much as they might have improved, they’re still ECU, and this is a home game for a South Florida team that hung 49 on Georgia Tech, right?

Right?

Well USF didn’t take the lead for good until an 80-yard touchdown with just over 10 minutes to play, despite allowing only 199 yads and three points the entire second half.

The Bulls are 4-0, but they’ve played all their games at home, and they’ve yet to enter the fourth quarter with a lead, and they can’t expect to continue this kind of late-game magic over and over again, especially against the likes of Houston, Cinci, Temple or USF – teams they are unlikely to shut out for a whole quarter or half.

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