Around the American: West Virginia destroys East Carolina in week two

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (7) looks for an open receiver during the second half of an NCAA college football game against East Carolina, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Morgantown, W.Va. West Virginia defeated East Carolina 56-20. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)

Although the Huskies football game against the USF Bulls was canceled due to travel concerns in the midst of Hurricane Irma, there were plenty of other big games for several American Athletic Conference teams. Here is this week’s edition of Around the American.

West Virginia 56, East Carolina 20

East Carolina got smoked again in week two, giving up over 600 yards of total offense to West Virginia, just one week after getting gouged for 614 yards against James Madison, an FCS school.

These back-to-back beatdowns prompted the Pirates to reassign their defensive coordinator Kenwick Thompson within the football program, essentially kicking him off the coaching staff.

ECU usually hangs their hats on their air-raid offense, but even that side of the ball hasn’t looked great so far. It was a rough day for transfer quarterback Thomas Sirk, who threw for 191 yards and two interceptions before he was pulled for backup Gardner Minshew.

Michigan 36, Cincinnati 14

Cincinnati gave Michigan all it could ask for Saturday, trailing the Wolverines by only three until late in the third quarter.

Cincinnati moved the ball with some success against a terrifying Michigan front, but were ultimately sunk by two back-breaking pick sixes thrown by quarterback Hayden Moore.

The Bearcats defense turned in a mixed-bag performance, however. They gave up over six yards per play, but forced two fumbles to keep the game close until late.

Temple 16, Villanova 13

Temple disappointed again in week two, needing a last-second field goal to put away their cross-town FCS opponent Villanova.

Villanova had more first downs and yards of total offense than Temple, but got stifled on the ground. The Owls’ run defense was stout, only allowing 20 yards on the ground the entire game, but their pass defense was porous.

Villanova quarterback Zach Bednarcyk threw all over their secondary for 382 yards, but Temple took advantage of Villanova’s four fumbles and managed to pull off the victory in the end.

Navy 23, Tulane 21

In the first conference game of the season, Navy snuck by Tulane in a game dominated by the running game.

Both teams rushed for over 190 yards, and both teams’ passing attacks looked interesting, to say the least. Navy quarterback Zach Abey attempted just 12 passes the entire night. Seven fell incomplete, one was intercepted, two were for no gain, and the other two went for 52 and 79 yards respectively.

Tulane, on the other hand, used two different quarterbacks, Johnathan Brantley and Jonathan Banks, but neither of them threw for over 60 yards.

The game hinged on Navy’s last-minute drive, right after Tulane scored to close the deficit to just two points. Tulane forced Navy into a fourth and long but the Green Wave’s punt team had too many men on the field, giving Navy a fourth and one, which they converted, sealing the game for the Midshipmen.

Tulsa 66, Louisiana Lafayette 42

Tulsa took out Louisiana-Lafayette in a blazing shootout Saturday, during which both teams combined for over 1,200 yards of total offense.

Tulsa running back D’Angelo Brewer had 262 yards on the ground by himself, averaging 6.9 yards per carry.

Quarterback Chad President had an efficient game in his own right, completing 13-19 passes for 234 yards, including a 69-yard bomb of a touchdown to receiver Justin Dobbs to close out the first half.

SMU 54, North Texas 32

SMU quarterback Ben Hicks and receiver Courtland Sutton hooked up for eight receptions totaling 163 yards on Saturday on the road to routing North Texas.

With four touchdown grabs, Sutton set the AAC record and tied the SMU record for number of touchdown receptions in a game.

Houston 19, Arizona 16

After their season opener was postponed by Hurricane Harvey, Houston owned the AAC’s only victory over a Power Five opponent Saturday as they eked out a win over Arizona.

Houston quarterback Kyle Allen had a decent game, going 25-32 for 225 yards, but had trouble taking care of the ball, giving up two interceptions and one fumble.

This game served as a showcase for Houston’s RB corps. Senior Dillon Birden was all over the field, rushing for 83 yards on six yards per carry and catching three passes for 22 yards with one touchdown. Junior Duke Catalon added to the effort with 83 yards of total offense.

Two AAC games, the aforementioned USF vs. UConn matchup and Memphis vs. UCF, were canceled this week in anticipation of Hurricane Irma.


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