American Athletic Conference News and Notes

10:05 AM, Oct 14, 2013   |    comments
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CINCINNATI: The Bearcats shook off a sluggish start and ended up rolling to a 38-20 win over Temple last Friday night. The win was the first in league play this season for the Bearcats, who are now 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the AAC. Cincinnati finished with 475 total yards marking the 19th straight game the team has had at least 340 yards in a game. Brendon Kay had a strong day through the air, completing a career-high 31-of-37 pass attempts for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Kay also rushed for a touchdown and had a pair of punts that pinned Temple within its own 20-yard line. Tion Green rushed for a career-high 91 yards and two scores on 18 carries. Shaq Washington (11 receptions, 72 yards) led the team in catches while Anthony McClung brought in seven passes for 86 yards and two scores. Greg Blair had a team-high nine tackles for the Bearcats, who held the Owls to a 4-of-11 conversion rate on third down. Cincinnati will be at home again next Saturday against Connecticut.

CONNECTICUT: In the Huskies' AAC opener they were unable to get a win as they fell 13-10 to South Florida at Rentschler Field. The loss also came in the first game for the Huskies under interim head coach T.J. Weist, who took over after Paul Pasqualoni was let get go following the team's 0-4 start. UConn lost despite out-gaining USF (356-228), while earning eight more first downs (21-13). The Huskies also failed to get into the red zone in the contest, scoring their lone touchdown on a 52-yard run from Lyle McCombs. Freshman quarterback Tim Boyle got his first start under center and completed only 15- of-43 pass attempts for 149 yards and was sacked three times. Geremy Davis tied for a team-high with six receptions, while totaling a team-best 80 yards. McCombs rushed for a career-high 164 yards and the score on 20 carries. The Huskies had 207 yards on the ground overall. Jeff Ashiru had a team-high 10 tackles, while Shamar Stephen had eight stops and one of two sacks by UConn. The Huskies start a two-game road trip next week against Cincinnati.

HOUSTON: The Cougars are still undefeated following a 25-15 win over former Conference USA rival Memphis this past weekend. Houston (5-0, 2-0 AAC) and Louisville are the only teams remaining in the conference that have yet to lose a game. Houston has opened a season at 5-0 for just the fifth time in school history. The Cougars put up points in each quarter of the contest and have now done so in 27 straight periods dating back to last season. The Cougars did not allow a touchdown in the contest, the first time that has happened since 2011. Freshman quarterback John O'Korn improved to 3-0 as starter for the Cougars, despite completing just 13-of-30 pass attempts for 198 yards. Deontay Greenberry had a team-best 76 yards on four receptions as the Cougars failed to have a 100-yard receiver for the first time this year. Kenneth Farrow scored a pair of touchdowns in the contest but had just 33 yards on 15 carries. As a team Houston was out-gained in total offense 349-247) by more than 100 yards. The defense did not allow a touchdown to Memphis in three red zone trips. Efrem Oliphant had a game-high 13 tackles. Houston takes a break from league play when it hosts BYU this Saturday.

LOUISVILLE: In perhaps its biggest test of the season, eight-ranked Louisville was able to pull out a 24-10 victory over conference rival Rutgers. The Cardinals improved to 6-0 overall with the victory, to become bowl eligible for the fourth straight season. The Cardinals had more than 400 yards of total offense for the sixth time this season, while holding Rutgers to just 240. The Scarlet Knights were also the third straight opponent to have fewer than 55 yards rushing against the Cardinals with just 12. In the win, Teddy Bridgewater was solid, completing 21-of-31 pass attempts for 310 yards and two scores, though he was intercepted for just the second time this season. Bridgewater set a program record by throwing for a touchdown for the 18th straight game. Damian Copeland collected eight passes for 115 yards. Kai De La Cruz (three receptions, 56 yards, TD) got the start in place of the injured DeVante Parker, who was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Senorise Perry rushed for 104 yards and a score on 13 carries. He is the first player this season to rush for 100 yards against Rutgers. Calvin Pryor had a game-high 14 tackles and one of three interceptions, while Marcus Smith recorded three of eight sacks. Another big test awaits Louisville, which faces UCF next week.

MEMPHIS: For the second straight week the Tigers failed to get enough going offensively as they fell 25-15 to Houston. With the loss the Tigers are just 1-4 overall, while winless in two chances against league foes. The Tigers held the Cougars to a season-low 247 yards of total offense, including just 38 on the ground. Memphis also won the time of possession battle (35:56 to 24:04) and limited the Cougars to a 4-of-14 success rate on third down. However Memphis failed to get in the end zone all game, despite making three trips to the red zone. Jake Elliott accounted for all of scoring with a 5-of-5 effort on field goals, including a career-long 50-yarder. Paxton Lynch completed 21- of-41 pass attempts for 222 yards and Brandon Hayes rushed for 72 yards on 12 carries. Hayes was one of seven players to have a carry in the contest. Mose Frazier caught five passes for 81 yards as one of nine players to record a reception. Tank Jakes led the Tigers in both tackles (nine) and tackles for loss (2.5), while Martin Ifedi had a sack. He now has 6.5 this season. Memphis will be at home in its next three games beginning against SMU next week.

RUTGERS: The Scarlet Knights fought admirably but came up short in an upset bid against No. 8 Louisville by taking a 24-10 loss. Rutgers limited Louisville to a season-low in points in the contest, while forcing a season- high three turnovers from the Cardinals. However, Rutgers also had a season- low in points, while totaling just 240 yards of total offense. The Scarlet Knights also had 10 fewer first downs than Louisville (25-15), converting on just 3-of-13 third down chances. Gary Nova completed 19-of-36 pass attempts for 202 yards and a score but was also intercepted four times, while being sacked eight times. Justin Goodwin, a week after rushing for a career-high 149 yards, had just 38 yards on 11 carries as the leading rusher. Brandon Coleman (66 yards) and Ruhann Peele (58 yards) each tied for a team-high five receptions, while Tyler Kroft had four receptions for 44 yards and the lone Rutgers touchdown. Steve Longa had a team-high 11 tackles, including two for loss. Rutgers will have a week to dwell on the tough loss as it is idle next week before a three-game homestand.

SMU: Following a 55-52 loss in triple overtime to Rutgers in its league opener, SMU was off this past weekend. The Mustangs get back to work on the road this Saturday against Memphis.

SOUTH FLORIDA: After dropping their first four non-conference games, the Bulls are suddenly a perfect 2-0 in league play after handing UConn a 13-10 loss. The win was the second straight for the Bulls, who are now 2-4 overall and tied with Houston and Louisville atop the AAC standings. In the win the Bulls had only 228 yards of total offense and 13 first downs, compared to 356 yards and 21 from the Huskies. Marvin Kloss nailed two field goals in as many attempts and Aaron Lynch returned a fumble 44 yards for a touchdown to account for the Bulls' scoring. Kloss has made nine straight field goals and the Bulls have had a defensive touchdown in three straight games. Bobby Eveld got the start at quarterback and completed just 8-of-28 attempts for 106 yards and an interception. Darius Tice, who got the start with Marcus Shaw out with a hamstring injury, had a team-high 69 yards on 11 carries. DeDe Lattimore tallied a game-high 11 tackles. USF will be idle next weekend as it gets ready to host Louisville the following Saturday.

TEMPLE: Despite holding a lead after the first quarter, Temple fell yet again on Friday night with a 38-20 setback against Cincinnati. The loss was the seventh straight for the Owls dating back to last season as they continue to look for their first win under head coach Matt Rhule. In his first career start freshman P.J. Walker threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns on 12-of-22 passing but was also intercepted once. Kenneth Harper rushed for a team-high 72 yards on 19 carries, Harper also tied for a team-high with three receptions for 40 yards. Zaire Williams (three receptions, 51 yards) also had three catches for the Owls. Jalen Fitzpatrick caught a 35-yard touchdown pass and Clinton Granger brought one in from 30 yards out on their only receptions. Temple let up 475 yards of total offense to the Bearcats and also had 10 fewer first downs (27-17). Temple also allowed Cincinnati to score touchdowns on three of its red zone trips, after allowing only eight touchdowns in their previous 26 chances. Tyler Matakevich, who leads the nation in solo tackles, had a game-high 15 stops. Temple will try to get that first win next Saturday in a non-conference bout with Army.

UCF: The Black Knights got an extra week to prepare for their huge battle with No. 8 Louisville this Friday, as they had last weekend off.

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