Around the American: Memphis shows strong defense, Navy continues to struggle

Tulsa safety McKinley Whitfield (5) drags down Memphis running back Darrell Henderson during an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in Tulsa, Okla. (Brett Rojo/Tulsa World via AP)

There were plenty of high-scoring matchups in the AAC this week as the top team in each division, UCF and Memphis, continued their respective campaigns for the AAC title game. Here’s what went down:

UCF 31, SMU 24

UCF got their first real test of the season as they took down SMU in Dallas, moving to 8-0 on the season and squarely in the driver’s seat for the AAC championship game.

McKenzie Milton didn’t have his usual hyper-efficient day, only completing 23 of 40 pass attempts and throwing two interceptions, but the raw numbers still impressed: 412 yards passing and two touchdowns on the day.

Adrian Killins Jr. instead stole the show for the Knights’ offense, rushing for 145 yards and two touchdowns on the day, taking over the game with a 64-yard touchdown on the drive after Milton threw a pick-six that threatened to change the game in SMU’s favor.

Temple 34, Navy 26

Navy continued to struggle this week, extending their losing streak to three in a row against Temple on Saturday.

Temple quarterback Frank Nutile had another standout game, passing for 289 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. Receiver Adonis Jennings more than doubled his next-highest receiving total this season, hauling in three receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

Navy’s struggles on offense continued. Temple completely shut down Navy’s potent option attack, limiting them to only 2.6 yards per carry, so they had to take to the air. Navy attempted 19 passes for 226 yards, by far the most they’ve thrown this season.

Memphis 41, Tulsa 14

Memphis’ offense ran wild as usual, but their defense really stepped up to shut Tulsa down on Saturday as the Tigers won their fifth straight.

Memphis held Tulsa to 14 points and shut down their usually fantastic rushing offense. Tulsa averaged over 250 yards rushing per game before Saturday but Memphis held them to 145 yards on the ground.

Riley Ferguson had another great game, completing 27 of 39 passes for 298 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Darrell Henderson wasn’t asked to do too much, but was very efficient on the ground, carrying the ball 14 times for 123 yards.

Houston 52, East Carolina 27

Well, Houston seems to have finally figured out their quarterback situation this year. D’Eriq King looked aces against a struggling East Carolina defense, completing 15 of 21 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns as Houston beat the breaks off of the Pirates.

Houston receivers Linell Bonner and Steven Dunbar both had their best games of the season, combining for 318 yards receiving with a touchdown catch each.

East Carolina quarterback Gardner Minshew had a ridiculous game even in defeat, completing 52 of 68 passes for 463 yards and three touchdowns.


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