Around the American: South Florida dominates, Tulsa makes a comeback

South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) throws the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Cincinnati Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

In the wildest week of college football yet, the favorites in the American Athletic Conference avoided huge upsets, but there was still plenty of chaos. Here’s what went down:

South Florida 33, Cincinnati 3

South Florida sleepwalked through another blowout win against a conference opponent Saturday as they took down Cincinnati.

Senior linebacker Auggie Sanchez blew the game wide open in the last play of the second half, picking off Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore at his own 45-yard line and returning it for a touchdown.

After that, South Florida pretty much punched Cincinnati in the face over and over again. The Bulls rushed the ball 53 times in the game for 212 yards and two touchdowns, more than doubling Cincinnati’s total yardage on the ground.

Quinton Flowers had another phenomenal day, as he surpassed 3,000 career rushing yards and passed for 184 yards and a touchdown. I hope we aren’t becoming numb to his performances week after week, because Flowers is still one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country.

South Florida is now 6-0 and has risen to No. 16 in the AP poll, neck and neck with their directional Florida relatives, UCF.

UCF 63, East Carolina 21

UCF has been burning a hole through the American this year on offense, and pitting them against East Carolina’s defense was like throwing water on a grease fire.

The Knights outgained East Carolina in total yards 603-347, respectively, and averaged an absurd eight yards per play on their way to blowing out the Pirates.

McKenzie Milton has an uphill battle to the Heisman podium as a quarterback outside of the power five, but he’s giving it all he’s got. Milton completed 21 of 27 pass attempts for 324 yards and two touchdowns, and ran the ball into the end zone for another.

Not to be outdone, UCF’s ground game had an even more impressive performance. Three different running backs—Greg McRae, Cordarrian Richardson and Adrian Killins, Jr.—had over 50 yards rushing each on over six yards per carry. The running back committee scored five touchdowns with five different rushers.

UCF improves to 5-0 on the year and all signs point to an epic showdown between them and South Florida in the final week of the season, a game that will likely decide the American East division.

Memphis 30, Navy 27

Memphis outlasted Navy in a thrilling game between the two top teams in the AAC West division that came down to the last drive.

Navy was marching down the field, trailing by three with under two minutes to go in an attempt to win the game when Memphis defensive back Austin Hall picked off Navy quarterback Zach Abey to seal the deal.

Riley Ferguson followed up his record-breaking night against UConn with a very respectable performance, completing 24 of 40 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns.

Abey could not stop giving Memphis the ball, throwing two interceptions and fumbling the ball three times.

Tulsa 45, Houston 17

The Tulsa team that we got to know in 2016 finally woke up on Saturday, as the Golden Hurricane gutted a struggling Houston at home.

Tulsa’s run game was dominant; backfield threats D’Angelo Brewer and Shamari Brooks both rushed for over 100 yards and a touchdown on over six yards per carry. Tulsa quarterback Chad President didn’t attempt a pass but rushed for two touchdowns on the day.

Houston’s trouble at the quarterback position continued, as Kyle Postma threw two picks and fumbled once. The Cougars’ running game couldn’t bail them out this time either, as they only averaged 3.1 yards per carry on the ground.

Florida International 23, Tulane 10

Tulane had goodwill from putting a beatdown on Tulsa last week, and they went out and laid a big egg against Florida International on Saturday.

FIU not only had 220 yards through the air and stifled Tulane’s own passing game but beat Tulane at their own playstyle, outgaining them on the ground and dominating the time of possession, practically unheard of when playing an option team.

Tulane is still very much in the mix for the AAC West division race, however, and a key game against Memphis in two weeks could prove decisive.


Luke Swanson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus.  He can be reached via email at luke.swanson@uconn.edu.