In what easily was the surprise of the week in the American Athletic Conference, Tulsa, which had lost by 62-28 at Tulane the previous week, stunned visiting Houston, 45-17, Saturday.
Tulsa (2-5, 1-2 AAC), is coming off a 10-3 season, and while the Golden Hurricane were hit hard by graduation, they weren’t expected to struggle the way they have.
Houston snapped a four-game losing streak.
“We played with a lot of spirit and emotion,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said during the AAC media call.
Temple will visit Tulsa in the final regular-season game. Since the Owls are 3-4 and must go 3-2 in the final five to be bowl-eligible, the finale against Tulsa could be a game that decides bowl eligibility – for both teams.
In the win over Houston, D’Angelo Brewer rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown and Shamari Brooks ran for 111 yards and a score.
Temple stays put
Despite losing, 28-24, to UConn, Temple remained No. 10 in the AAC power ratings, voted by beat writers of the 12 teams. This week’s ratings:
- South Florida (6-0, 3-0 AAC)
- Central Florida (5-0, 3-0)
- Memphis (5-1, 2-1)
- Navy (5-1, 3-1)
- Houston (4-2, 2-1)
- SMU (4-2, 1-1)
- Tulsa (2-5, 1-2)
- Tulane (3-3, 1-1)
- Cincinnati (2-5, 0-3)
- Temple (3-4, 1-3)
- Connecticut (2-4, 1-3)
- East Carolina (1-6, 1-3)
Foiled by turnovers
Navy’s time in the Top 25 was short-lived after the Midshipmen lost, 30-27, last week at Memphis. The Midshipmen committed five turnovers — their most since they had six against Boston College on Oct. 19, 2002.
“It is no time to wallow in our misery. We have to move on because we are playing a team that beat the team that just beat us,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. He was referring to Central Florida, which will visit Navy on Saturday and beat Memphis, 40-13. UCF leads the country in scoring, averaging 50.6 points.
Navy’s strategy against UCF isn’t surprising.
“The plan is simple: Keep them on the sideline,” said Niumatalolo, whose team leads the nation in rushing offense, averaging 397.5 yards. “We will try to possess the ball and keep them on the sidelines.”
South Florida close to scoring record
With last week’s 33-3 win over Cincinnati, South Florida has scored at least 30 points in 23 consecutive games, tying Oregon’s run from 2011-12 for the modern college record. The Bulls will seek to break that mark Saturday at Tulane.
What’s been impressive in the run is that quarterback Quinton Flowers, a Heisman Trophy candidate entering the season, hasn’t needed to be dominant, although he has been more than effective. Flowers has completed 79 of 149 passes for 1,118 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. He also has rushed for 475 yards (4.7 avg.) and six touchdowns.
“He is doing what we ask him to do: He is running the offense,” said coach Charlie Strong, whose team’s 11-game win streak is the longest current mark in the nation. “He is not always making the right throws, but he is doing a good job.”
In USF’s 43-7 victory over Temple, Flowers rushed for 59 yards (3.7 avg.) and two touchdowns and completed 8 of 20 throws for 96 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions.