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American Athletic Conference News and Notes

12:32 PM, Sep 2, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

CINCINNATI: The Tommy Tuberville era got off to a fantastic start for the Bearcats, who rolled to a 42-7 victory over Purdue on Saturday. Though they would win easily the Bearcats were held scoreless in the first quarter for the first time since a 10-3 loss to Rutgers last season. Tuberville, who had not named a starting quarterback prior to game day, went with last season's opening game starter, Munchie Legaux. Legaux threw for 145 yards on 13-of-20 passing and a score and also picked up 55 yards rushing and an additional touchdown. Brendon Kay, who finished the season as the starter a year ago, completed 4-of-5 passes for 59 yards as well. Hosey Williams (15 carries, 71 yards) was the lead rusher for Cincinnati and also scored his first career touchdown. As a team the Bearcats totaled 425 yards of offense split between the rush (221) and pass (204). The Bearcats will travel to Champaign to face Illinois next week.

CONNECTICUT: The 2013 campaign didn't start the way the Huskies would have liked, as they were downed, 33-18, by Towson of the FCS. The setback was the first for UConn against a FCS program since 2001. UConn, which ranked first in the Big East in total defense last season (309.9 ypg), let up 393 total yards to the Tigers. The 33 points allowed marked just the third time in the last two seasons the Huskies have given up more than 30 points. Geremy Davis caught five passes for 100 yards and Shakim Phillips also had five catches to go with 77 yards and two scores in the losing effort. Chandler Whitmer completed 16- of-28 passes for 206 yards and two TDs but was also intercepted once. Lyle McCombs picked up 80 yards on 17 carries. UConn will have an extra week to recover from the loss as the Huskies aren't back on the field until Sept. 14 against Maryland.

HOUSTON: Houston did not have much trouble in its season opener as the Cougars easily dispatched of FCS foe Southern with a 62-13 victory. The 62 points were the most scored by the Cougars since 2011 and the most in a season opener since 2010. Houston forced five turnovers and committed none, marking the first time since the 2012 Ticketcity.com Bowl that the Cougars went a game without a turnover. The Cougars scored 17 points off of the five takeaways. David Piland (15-of-26, 148 yards, TD) started the game under center but freshman John O'Korn (11-of-15, 107 yards, three TDs) also saw time in the rout. Ryan Jackson rushed for 120 yards on 10 carries, while scoring twice. Kenneth Farrow added 97 yards on 20 carries. Daniel Spencer was the lead receiver with nine catches for 102 yards and a pair of scores. Houston will be in Philadelphia next weekend when it plays its first conference game as a member of the AAC against Temple.

LOUISVILLE: Teddy Bridgewater firmly stamped his place at the front of the Heisman Trophy race as he led the No. 9 Cardinals to a 49-7 rout of Ohio in the season opener. Bridgewater completed 23-of-28 pass attempts for 355 yards and tied a career-high with five touchdown passes. The defending conference offensive player of the year has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in 13 straight games. Kai De La Cruz was the leading receiver in the game with 116 yards and two scores on four receptions. Damian Copeland had a game-high six receptions for 98 yards and two touchdowns as well. Former Auburn running back Michael Dyer had just four rushes but picked up 48 yards and a touchdown. As a team the Cardinals totaled 615 yards, the first time the team has reached the 600-yard plateau in a game since 2007. Louisville also went 13-of-16 on third down attempts. Defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin, who was hospitalized after a traffic accident earlier in the week, was able to start the game. Next week the Cardinals will be at home, this time against FCS foe Eastern Kentucky. .

MEMPHIS: The wait for the start of the season continued for Memphis which had the first weekend of the season off. The Tigers will open up their 2013 campaign next Saturday at home against Duke.

RUTGERS: For Rutgers, its trip west for the season opener ended in thrilling, albeit disappointing fashion. The Scarlet Knights tangled with Fresno State and fell 52-51 in overtime when a two-point conversion attempt failed in the extra session. The 103 combined points scored in the game were the most in an opener in program history. Janarion Grant's 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was the first for Rutgers since 2011. Gary Nova threw for 348 yards and tied a career-high with five touchdown passes, while completing 26-of-41 pass attempts. Brandon Coleman brought in a career-high 10 receptions for 105 yards and two scores. Leonte Carroo had 124 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Kyle Federico matched a career-best with three made field goals, but he also missed a potential game-winning attempt from 43 yards out at the end of regulation. Rutgers begins the first of three straight home contests next week against Norfolk State.

SMU: Even though Garrett Gilbert was impressive and the Mustangs out gained Texas Tech, SMU fell, 41-23, to the Red Raiders in the Friday night opener. SMU picked up 490 total yards to Texas Tech's 461 in the contest. The Mustangs allowed a 43-yard field goal to open the scoring and are now 0-14 in the last 29 games when their opponent scores first. Gilbert completed 41-of-62 pass attempts for 388 yards and also rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown. Gilbert set career highs in total yards and pass attempts in the losing effort. Chase Hover kicked a 51-yard field goal at the close of the first half marking the second longest kick of his career. Jeremy Johnson had a career-high 12 receptions and also earned his second career 100-yard game (131). Darius Joseph also totaled more than 100 yards (103) on 11 receptions. Prescott Line, brother of Zach Line, who led the Mustangs in rushing each of the last three seasons, scored his first career touchdown. SMU will play an FCS foe next week at home against Montana State.

SOUTH FLORIDA: Willie Taggart did not have a good start to his tenure as head coach for the Bulls, who were routed, 53-21 by FCS opponent McNeese State. The 53 points the Bulls allowed were the most a FCS foe has scored against an FBS program and the most the Bulls have allowed at home in school history. The loss was the also the first in a season opener for the Bulls at Raymond James Stadium (11-1) in school history. Marcus Shaw broke off an 80-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter to give the Bulls a 7-0 lead but they were then gashed for 31 points in the second quarter. Shaw finished the game with 145 yards on just 12 carries. Matt Floyd started at quarterback for the Bulls but was benched in favor of Bobby Eveld after throwing two interceptions. Eveld completed 10-of-20 pass attempts for 137 yards and two scores. USF was just 3- of-13 on third down and had only 24:06 minutes in time of possession. Up next the Bulls face a tough challenge in East Lansing against Michigan State.

TEMPLE: A trip to South Bend didn't go Temple's way on Saturday as the Owls fell to Notre Dame, 28-6 in Matt Rhule's head coaching debut. The Owls were lit up for 543 yards of total offense but stiffened on third down and in the red zone where Notre Dame went 5-of-13 and 1-of-2 respectively. On offense the Owls picked up 362 total yards but failed to score on two different red zone chances, while Jim Cooper missed a pair of field goal tries. Cooper also missed an extra point attempt when the Owls scored their only touchdown on a one-yard run from Kenny Harper. Connor Reilly completed 23-of-46 pass attempts for 228 yards and also led the team with 65 rushing yards. Tyler Matakevich, the Big East Rookie of the Year last season, finished with a game-high 11 tackles, including two for loss. Matakevich has had double-digit tackles in eight of his last nine games dating back to last season. Temple begins conference play next weekend against Houston.

UCF: As it welcomed in a new era for its program the UCF Knights kicked off the 2013 campaign with a 38-7 rout of Akron, out of the Mid-American Conference. The Knights held the Zips scoreless in the first half, the first time they have accomplished that since Sept. 15 of 2012 against FIU. The 116 passing yards allowed by UCF were the fewest allowed by the Knights in a non- conference game since 2011. Breshad Perriman's 91-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter set a record for the longest play from scrimmage in program history. Perriman set a personal best with 113 yards in the contest. For the first time in his career, Blake Bortles got to 300 yards passing as he threw for 314 yards and three scores, while completing 18-of-24 pass attempts. Storm Johnson had 99 yards and two scores on a career-high 20 carries. UCF picked up more than 200 yards more on offense (476) than it allowed (250). In the second quarter the Knights had two touchdown drives of at least 75 yards, while holding the ball for more than 11 minutes in the period. The Knights had five scoring drives of at least 75 yards overall. UCF will be on the road in its next two games against FIU and Penn State

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