Around The American: Houston shocked by SMU, Temple wins big game

SMU wide receiver Kevin Thomas, right, makes a catch for a first down against Houston safety Khalil Williams, left, during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Dallas. SMU won 38-16. (Ron Jenkins/AP Photo)

This week in the American Athletic Conference, all 12 teams played conference games. Of the six games, five of them were won by the home team, and all were won by eight points or more.

The weekend was supposed to be highlighted by a huge matchup at the top of the East Division between USF and Temple. The game was on primetime national television Friday night, and it did not disappoint. The Owls (5-3, 3-1 the American) got off to a slow start, and were held without a touchdown until halfway through the second quarter. They would then score twice in a three minute span late in the half, going into halftime with a 20-13 lead.

The Bulls (6-2, 3-1 the American) were powered by their playmaking quarterback Quinton Flowers. Flowers threw for two touchdowns while also rushing for 107 yards and another touchdown. It wasn’t enough for USF, as the Owls would hand the Bulls their first conference loss of the season. Temple ran for 347 yards as a team in a 46-30 win, including 213 from sophomore running back Ryquell Armstead. The Owls took over first place in the East Division with the win.

Taking the attention away from Temple and USF was a massive upset in Dallas. SMU came into a matchup against No. 11 Houston with a 0-2 record in the American and just 2-4 overall. The Mustangs (3-4, 1-2 the American) sacked Houston’s star quarterback Greg Ward Jr. seven times, holding him to only 17 yards rushing and 241 yards passing the whole game

Freshman quarterback Ben Hicks threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another to lead the SMU offense, and sophomore running back Braeden West rushed for 115 yards and a score. The Cougars (6-2, 3-2 the American) gave up 38 points in the 38-16 loss, and were knocked out of the AP Top 25 Poll while also falling to fourth place in the West Division of the American. The Mustangs’ win is their first over a team ranked 11th or higher since 1982.

UCF won the fourth edition of the Civil Conflict against UConn, the only American team to win on the road this week. Quarterback McKenzie Milton threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns, completing passes to nine different players. The Knights (4-3, 2-1 the American) won the game 24-16 and are sitting in third place in the East Division.

With USF’s loss, Navy is the last remaining undefeated team in the conference. The Midshipmen (5-1, 4-0 the American) won 42-28 over Memphis this weekend. Navy only attempted four passes in the entire game, as they ran the ball 74 times for a videogame-like 447 yards and four touchdowns. Memphis falls to 2-1 in the American, but the Tigers remain in second place in the West Division. No. 22 Navy is the only team in the conference ranked in this week’s AP Poll.

Rounding out the weekend slate of games, Cincinnati earned their first conference victory with a 31-19 win over last place East Carolina. The Pirates are still winless in conference play. Tulane also remains winless in the American with a 50-27 loss to Tulsa over the weekend.

Next week, Navy takes on USF in a matchup between the two division-leaders in the American. Houston will look to get back on track against UCF, and Tulsa will play Memphis in a battle for second place in the West Division.


Josh Buser is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.buser@uconn.edu.