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American Athletic Conference News and Notes

10:17 AM, Sep 30, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

CINCINNATI: After a dominating defensive effort led the Bearcats to their eighth-straight triumph in the Victory Bell rivalry with Miami-Ohio, Cincinnati was off this past weekend. The week off gives the Bearcats extra time to prepare for their American Athletic Conference opener at South Florida this week.

CONNECTICUT: Taking the show on the road didn't help Connecticut in the wins department as the Huskies were routed 41-12 at Buffalo. With the loss the Huskies are now 0-4 on the campaign, the first time that has happened since 1991. UConn had just 220 yards of total offense including a paltry 27 yards on 39 rushing attempts. Chandler Whitmer completed only 10-of-24 pass attempts for 182 yards, had four turnovers and was sacked five times. Geremy Davis brought in five passes for 102 yards. No other player had more than two receptions. Lyle McCombs rushed for 33 yards on 13 carries and scored the Huskies' only touchdown of the contest. Chad Christen went 2-of-3 on field goals, making 33 and 37-yard efforts while having a 48-yard attempt blocked. UConn did hold Buffalo to just 330 yards of total offense, but also allowed touchdowns on all three of the Bulls' trips to the red zone. Yawin Smallwood had a team-high 12 tackles and has had double-digit tackles in every game this season. At 0-4 to start the year, UConn has officially made a change at top, firing Paul Pasqualoni, who was in his third year at UConn and had guided the Huskies to a mark of just 10-18. The Huskies are off next weekend as they prepare to face USF in their conference opener.

HOUSTON: For the eighth time in program history the Cougars are 4-0 after dropping Texas-San Antonio 59-28 on the road. The Cougars actually allowed more yards of offense (493) than they gained (491), but forced five turnovers, the most in a single game since 2008. John O'Korn completed 24-of-36 pass attempts for 312 yards and four touchdowns. The 312 yards were a career-high for the freshman, who was making just his second career start. Deontay Greenberry (nine receptions, 149 yards, TD) had over 100 yards for the third- straight game. Greenberry has had at least six catches in each game this year. Houston has had a 100-yard receiver in all four games. Ryan Jackson accounted for 68 yards on 18 carries and also caught four passes for 50 yards and a score. Jackson has scored in five straight games dating back to last season. The Houston defense and special teams accounted for two touchdowns on a 78- yard blocked field goal return by Brandon Wilson and a 96-yard interception return by William Jackson. Houston, which won its conference opener against Temple on Sept. 7, will be back in league action against Memphis next.

LOUISVILLE: The Cardinals were idle this past weekend after routing FIU 72-0 in week four of the season. Louisville will travel to Philadelphia to battle the Temple Owls in the Cardinals' league opener next.

MEMPHIS: The Tigers earned their first win of the season against Arkansas State on Sept. 21 but were off this past weekend. Memphis will have its sights set on former Conference-USA foe UCF in their American Athletic Conference debut this week.

RUTGERS: The Scarlet Knights earned a week off after rallying back to defeat Arkansas on Sept. 21. Rutgers will play in its American Athletic Conference opener against SMU in Dallas this weekend.

SMU: The Mustangs crumbled in the fourth quarter, allowing 31 points in the period, en route to a 48-17 setback against TCU on Saturday. The Mustangs finished with just 292 yards of total offense, despite having 13 more plays than the Horned Frogs. Garrett Gilbert completed 23-of-44 pass attempts for 276 yards and two touchdowns, but was also intercepted four times and sacked seven times. Jeremy Johnson brought in 11 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown and Darius Joseph had eight catches for 82 yards and a score as well. K.C. Nlemchi led the team in rushing with 46 yards on 10 carries. The Mustangs did force a season-high five fumbles to bring the season total to 10. The Mustangs also forced five fumbles in a game against Stephen F. Austin last September. SMU allowed 335 yards of offense to the Horned Frogs. SMU will make its American Athletic Conference debut against Rutgers this Saturday.

SOUTH FLORIDA: Another week, another blowout loss for the Bulls, who were dropped 49-21 at home by nationally ranked Miami-Florida. USF finished with only 288 yards of total offense, while letting up 540 to the Hurricanes. USF converted on just 2-of-14 attempts on third down. If there was a bright spot for the Bulls it was Marcus Shaw, who rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Steven Bench completed only 13-of-27 pass attempts for 189 yards, with one touchdown pass and one interception. Bench was also sacked five times. Andre Davis brought in five passes for 75 yards, all team-highs. On defense the Bulls allowed 7.6 yards per play to the Hurricanes, though they did get three stops in the red zone in eight total chances. DeDe Lattimore led the way once again for the defense with seven tackles, while Ryne Giddins had the Bulls' only sack of the game. USF will get its league schedule underway this Saturday when it hosts Cincinnati.

TEMPLE: The Owls came up just short in their quest for their first win of the season as they lost a 26-24 decision to Idaho. The Owls are now 0-4 for the first time since 2007. That Temple unit finished 4-8. Temple had more first downs than the Vandals (22-19) but despite putting up more than 400 yards was out gained (478-410) in total offense. Temple went just 4-of-16 on third down but did score on all three of its trips to the red zone. Kenny Harper rushed for 61 yards and two touchdowns, while Zaire Williams totaled 48 yards on just six carries. Connor Reilly completed less than 50 percent of his pass attempts (23-of-47) for 249 yards and a touchdown. Jalen Fitzpatrick led the team in receptions (six) but had only 49 yards. Ryan Alderman brought in five passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Matakevich set a program record with 24 tackles for the Owls. Blaze Caponegro (11 tackles) and Abdul Smith (11) each had double-digit tackles as well. Getting the first win of the season will be even tougher next week when the Owls host No. 7 Louisville.

UCF: The Knights went toe to toe with No. 13 South Carolina, but fell short in a 28-25 setback to the Gamecocks at Bright House Networks Stadium. UCF held South Carolina scoreless in the first half, the first time that had happened to the Gamecocks since 2010. UCF finished with 427 total yards on offense, 358 of which came through the air. Blake Bortles threw for all 358 of those yards, completing 25-of-36 pass attempts. Bortles had two touchdown passes and was intercepted twice. Rannell Hall (eight receptions, 142 yards, two TDs) had a career-high in receiving yards while Breshad Perriman (three receptions, 109 yards) also topped the century mark in receiving yards. Both Hall and Perriman each had a reception of over 70 yards. Storm Johnson rushed for 64 yards on 16 carries to account for the bulk of the Knights' rushing output (69 yards). UCF allowed 490 yards of offense to the Gamecocks and allowed them to convert on 10-of-18 third down attempts. Terrance Plummer led the team with 14 tackles and a forced fumble. UCF forced four total turnovers. UCF faces former Conference USA opponent Memphis in its American Athletic Conference opener next weekend.

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