AAC: Early test for Memphis
By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
The American Athletic Conference has an opportunity to build on Saturday’s football upset by Cincinnati at UCLA with more games against Power Five opponents this week, but an in-league matchup also is notable with Memphis traveling to face Navy in an AAC West showdown.
Navy began its season with a 59-41 loss at Hawaii, but the Midshipmen and their unique triple-option rushing attack are always a threat in the conference. Memphis, the AAC West preseason favorite, is a lead contender to possibly knock off Central Florida and win the league championship this year.
“It’s going to be a big game for us and we are definitely excited about it, but it is unique with a game that we know is going to clearly impact the divisional race,” Memphis coach Mike Norvell said of playing Navy during Week 2.
The Tigers went 10-3 a year ago and they took care of their Week 1 tune-up with a 66-14 home win against Mercer. New quarterback Brady White, an Arizona State graduate transfer, went 22-of-28 for 358 yards and five touchdowns in his debut.
Memphis opened as a four-point favorite against Navy, which ran 49 times for 326 yards in the loss at Hawaii.
“They basically cruised in their first game and had a great, great showing,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said of UM. “Fortunately we are at home and we normally play well at home and are a hard team to beat at home. Hopefully all those factors can help us against a really good Memphis team.”
What to watch
This weekend’s American Athletic Conference slate features four of its teams hosting Power Five opponents.
It begins Friday night when TCU from the Big 12 travels to play at SMU.
Two Atlantic Coast Conference teams hit the road Saturday afternoon for AAC action with North Carolina at East Carolina, and Georgia Tech at South Florida after both of those teams won their opener. The fourth game is Pac-12 member Arizona at Houston on Saturday at noon.
Also this week, Tulsa plays at Texas and Connecticut makes a long trip to Boise State.
Contact Ronnie Woodward at email@example.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.