8. Houston Cougars (American Athletic Conference) 4-1
The Cougars were on the ropes early in the 4th quarter last Thursday. Tulsa had taken a 26-17 lead with 13:10 left in the game. But Houston quarterback D’Eriq King took over from there. King has become a tremendous weapon driving the Cougars offense after making the transition from wide receiver last year. On the third play of the next series, King broke off a 61-yard touchdown run to pull Houston within 26-24.
That play changed the momentum of the game. The Houston defense forced a three-and-out, fumble and interception on the next three Tulsa possessions that led to a Houston field goal and two more King touchdown passes to give the Cougars a runaway 41-26 win. King was a bit off passing in the game, throwing for only 165 yards and two interceptions on the game, but he made up for it with 117 yards rushing and five total touchdowns.
Up next: Saturday at East Carolina.
7. Fresno State Bulldogs (MWC) 4-1
Fresno State falls one spot from six to seven after some big moves by other teams around them. The Bulldogs aren’t flashy, but they have been solid and consistent, both in their performances on the field and in these rankings. They’ve been ranked between five and eight every week of the season. Only Central Florida has moved around less.
In Week 6, Fresno St. put the clamps on the Nevada Wolfpack for a 21-3 win. The ground game, while usually reliable, struggled to only 30 yards on 24 carries. But Marcus McMaryion is the best quarterback you haven’t heard of (if this is the first time reading these rankings), completing 20 of 28 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns.
Up next: Saturday vs. Wyoming.