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What we learned from Week 1 in the AAC

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Three AAC teams played Thursday, two Friday, three Saturday, and the league's best team -- Louisville -- played Sunday.

Check out the top 10 images from the first weekend of college football play.

Here are some things we learned about the AAC in Week 1.

1. Bridgewater leaps to front of Heisman race

Teddy Bridgewater's junior season got off to a great start Sunday. So did Louisville's. Bridgewater threw for 355 yards and five touchdowns in three quarters of work as the Cardinals blasted Ohio 49-7. Bridgewater's performance helped Louisville roll up 615 yards and kept him at the forefront of the Heisman discussion. It also did nothing but increase his NFL stock.<\p>

2. Nice debut for Tuberville

New Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville prefers to win with a tough ground attack and a stingy defense. His first game at Cincy followed that blueprint as the Bearcats rolled Purdue, 42-7. The victory over a Big Ten team was a boost to a conference that sorely needed one after one of its teams lost to a FCS opponent Thursday (Towson pounded Connecticut). Cincy ran for 221 yards against the Boilermakers; three backs reached the 50-yard mark, and four of the Bearcats' six touchdowns came on the ground. Cincinnati held Purdue to 229 total yards, spoiling the debut of Purdue coach Darrell Hazell. And it came in front of the largest on-campus crowd in school history. On paper, Cincy is the second-best team in the league. If the Bearcats can run effectively each week, they are going to win at least nine games.

3. Temple's offense has improved

The score doesn't show it -- a 28-6 loss at Notre Dame -- but Temple's offense acquitted itself well. The Owls passed for 228 yards (more than they did in any game last season), had 362 total yards and had more first downs than the Irish (24 to 22). New coach Matt Rhule, who had been the assistant offensive line coach for the New York Giants, has installed a version of the spread, and the offense actually looked good at times. The Owls gained more than 362 yards only twice last season. Cue the "Twilight Zone" music: The Owls also finished with 362 yards in last season's opener. But doing it against Notre Dame is more impressive than doing it against Villanova.

4. Horrible debut

Willie Taggart's debut as USF's coach was an inauspicious one, as his Bulls were mauled by FCS opponent McNeese State 53-21. USF scored first, on an 80-yard TD run on its first play of the game, but it went downhill fast. McNeese, which went 7-4 last season, led 33-7 at halftime and coasted from there. USF's defense, which was supposed to be a strength, was carved up to the tune of 424 yards, and the 53 points were most ever scored against USF at home. Sophomore DE Aaron Lynch, a highly touted transfer from Notre Dame, finished with three tackles and no sacks. USF plays at Michigan State next week and, suddenly, a Sept. 14 game against Florida Atlantic looks losable for USF, which was seen as a potential long-shot AAC challenger entering the season. Now, make that "had been seen" as a potential long-shot AAC challenger.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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