With a chance to clinch the AAC West Divison and home-field advantage in the conference championship game, Houston (11-1, 7-1 AAC) was led by quarterback Greg Ward Jr. throwing and running the football to take down No. 15 Navy (9-2, 7-1 AAC), 51-31. Houston will wait to see if it will host Temple or South Florida next week in the conference championship game.
Houston’s gameplan against Navy was simple in philosophy and strategy but masterful in execution. Big plays and well-designed ball-control was the key to the game for Houston. The Cougars rolled up over 500 yards of offense and kept the Navy defense on the field for a majority of the game. That led to some big play opportunities for Houston, and with players with the skill and talent of Ward Jr., Brandon Wilson and Demarcus Ayers, it proved to be too much for Navy to handle for 60 minutes. Wilson rushed for over 100 yards and a touchdown and Ayers hauled in 161 yards and a score and even got involved with a passing touchdown in the first half, a 29-yard strike to Steven Dunbar. Considering how much Ward Jr. was forced to play through injury, it was a remarkable effort by Houston against a Navy team that has shown some good defense this season. It just was not there today against the AAC’s most talented offensive team.
Houston converted 15 of 18 third-down attempts, and went two-for-two when they chose to go for it on fourth down. Houston was without a turnover and committed just three penalties.
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds may have seen his late Heisman Trophy campaign take a dent with the loss, but he may still prove worthy of an invite to New York City for the presentation of the award. Reynolds tied the FBS all-time career touchdown record previously set by Wisconsin’s Montee Ball with his fourth quarter touchdown run. Whether he receives an invite to New York or not, there is no question he is among the classiest of college football players and it was clear he never allowed the Midshipmen to pack it in when Houston started to separate itself from Navy.
Houston will host either Temple or South Florida in the first American Athletic Conference championship game next Saturday, December 5. The game, scheduled to kick off at noon, will see its AAC East representative determined tomorrow when Temple plays Connecticut. If Temple defeats the Huskies in Philadelphia, the Owls will make the trip to Houston for the conference championship game. A loss by Temple and it will be South Florida representing the East thanks to a head-to-head tiebreaker over Temple. USF won Thursday night to force Temple to win against UConn to win the division. Houston has not played either AAC East Division contender this season.
Navy is not done this regular season, of course. The Midshipmen will make the trip to Philadelphia for the traditional Army-Navy Game in two weeks. Navy has beaten their rivals from West Point 13 straight times for the longest winning streak in the series.
Earlier this offseason, Zach Wilson underwent surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder and, as a result, was sidelined for all of spring practice at BYU. With the start of the 2019 season a little over two months away, the quarterback gave a very positive update on his rehabilitation at the football program’s Media Day.
“Recovery is going good,” Wilson, who threw a football for the first time earlier this month since undergoing the surgery, told the assembled media. “I’m 100 percent on schedule for where I’m supposed to be.” Wilson’s head coach, Kilani Sitake, added that he “think[s] he’s on schedule and will be ready to roll.”
BYU will open up the 2019 campaign at home by playing host to in-state rival Utah Aug. 29 in the 100th renewal of the Holy War.
When Wilson started the Oct. 13 Hawaii game this past season, he became the seventh true freshman in Cougars history to start at quarterback. At 19 years, two months, he was also the youngest ever under center for the football independent.
Wilson went on to start a total of six games in 2018, capping off that rookie effort by pitching a perfect game in BYU’s bowl rout of Western Michigan.
For the second time this week, Illinois is on the receiving end of a Power Five transfer.
Late last month, it was reported that Brandon Peters was set to visit Illinois as well take trips to a pair of MAC schools in Bowling Green and Miami of Ohio. On Instagram Tuesday evening, the quarterback confirmed that he will be continuing his collegiate career with the Fighting Illini.
In early May, it was confirmed that Peters had signaled his intent to leave Michigan by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.
Peters will graduate from U-M later next month, which allows for immediate eligibility for the Indiana native. He would also have another season of eligibility he can use the following year.
A four-star member of the Wolverines’ 2016 recruiting class, Peters was rated as the No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in the state of Indiana; and the No. 61 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. Only two signees in Jim Harbaugh‘s first full class in Ann Arbor were rated higher than Peters.
After redshirting as a true freshman, Peters started four of the six games in which he played in 2017 and appeared to be the Wolverines’ quarterback of the future before Shea Patterson transferred into the program from Ole Miss. With Patterson starting all of last year, Peters attempted just one pass in five appearances this past season.
Peters’ decision to transfer from the Wolverines came a few of months after Patterson opted to return to U-M for another season instead of leaping early in the 2019 NFL Draft.
I’m not sure if you knew this, but it can get hot in Tampa in the early fall. Humid. Steamy. Muggy. Downright uncomfortable. Sweat is a part of life there, especially if you’re spending your Saturday afternoons running around in full pads and a helmet.
As such, South Florida figured it’d be to their advantage to wear lightweight, breathable uniforms, and Adidas has produced.
On Tuesday, USF debuted a brand new WVN A1 uniform, the German-based manufacturer’s lightest uniform. USF was certain to point out they will be the only team in the threads this season.
“We are very excited that in the second year of our partnership with adidas our football team will be the only one in the country wearing their lightest weight uniforms,” USF AD Michael Kelly said in a statement. “We look forward to the Bulls looking great and feeling great in the new lightweight, breathable material.”
The design itself is slightly different from what the Bulls wore previously, solid green or white with green shoulders, cresting into golden bull horns on each side, above a solid color pant. The metallic material that comprises the golden Bull horn on each shoulder was developed in Israel.
Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to uniforms, but in this set of eyes these kits are a massive step up from the chainmail-style Adidas template South Florida wore previously, shown above.
The new, lightweight uniforms will take the field for the first time on Friday, Aug. 30 vs. Wisconsin (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Kansas State wide receiver Hunter Rison will pursue a second transfer in as many years, according to reports Tuesday from GoPowercat and the Wichita Eagle.
The son of Michigan State great Andre Rison, Hunter signed with his father’s alma mater in 2017 and caught 19 passes for 224 yards as a freshman before transferring to Kansas State. After sitting out the 2018 season, as per NCAA transfer rules, Rison shined in spring practice, but his career as a Wildcat was instantly derailed when he was arrested for domestic battery in April.
Rison was immediately suspended from the team, though he maintains his innocence. Charges have not been filed, and his first court appearance in the civil case related to the charge is scheduled for July 16.
“This will be my only response,” Rison wrote on Twitter at the time. “I will continue to be myself … A man of God, as well as a great student-athlete at this university. I have done nothing wrong.”