Around the American: South Florida crushed Temple, Tulane tops Army

South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers, left, runs past Temple defensive lineman Jacob Martin during the second half of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Let’s take a look at the weekend of games in the American Athletic Conference.

South Florida 43, Temple 7

Temple is a very bad football team, and South Florida handled them accordingly on Thursday, but the score itself wasn’t indicative of how sloppy they looked at times.

South Florida punted on four of their first six possessions and had nine penalties for 70 yards. The Bulls’ star quarterback Quinton Flowers only completed eight of 20 passes for 96 yards and only rushed for 59 yards.

With Flowers off his game, South Florida’s rushing attack and defense had to step up, and they did. The Bulls gained 312 yards on the ground and running back Darius Tice played like a man possessed, racking up 117 yards on a whopping 7.8 yards per carry.

South Florida’s defense shut down all hope for Temple, limiting their offense to 89 yards passing and -4 yards rushing.

South Florida improved to 4-0 on the year and 1-0 in the American, while Temple fell to 2-2 on the year and 0-1 in the American.

Tulane 21, Army 17

Typically in football, time of possession and total yards gained are decent indicators of a team’s success. If they lead in both categories, they’re likely going to win the game.

In a game between two option offenses, you can throw all that logic out the window. Army outgained Tulane by 15 yards and almost doubled their time of possession, but Tulane pulled it out in the end.

Running back Dontrell Hilliard had an insanely efficient game, rushing for 134 yards on a ridiculous 9.6 yards-per-carry, including a 75-yard touchdown on the first play of the game.

Army gashed Tulane on the ground over and over again, rushing for 371 yards on the day, but turnovers did the Black Knights in. Army attempted five passes the entire game, and Tulane intercepted two of them, including one to ice the game on the final play.

Texas Tech 27, Houston 24

Texas Tech is doing this weird thing in 2017 where they actually play defense, and that helped them give Houston their first loss at home since Nov. 8, 2014.

Texas Tech made Houston quarterback Kyle Allen’s day a nightmare, picking him off twice and forcing two fumbles. The rest of Houston’s offense didn’t fare too well either as they only gained 110 yards on the ground and fumbled the ball twice themselves.

Texas Tech’s famously pass-heavy offense was on display Saturday, as quarterback Nic Simonek tore through Houston’s defense, completing 29-of-45 passes for 321 yards. Wide receiver Keke Coutee accounted for over half of that yardage, catching 11 passes for 161 yards.

Not to be left out on the fun, running backs Justin Stockton and Tre King combined for 200 yards rushing on 10.5 yards per carry including one 70-or-more-yard run each.

New Mexico 16, Tulsa 13

New Mexico went into Tulsa and pulled out a victory Saturday with a last-second field goal, knocking Tulsa down to 1-3 on the year.

If you’ve never seen New Mexico’s offense before, look it up. They run an awesomely weird zone triple option out of the shotgun. They strangled Tulsa with it despite missing starting quarterback Lamar Jordan. New Mexico more than doubled Tulsa’s time of possession, and outgained them by 160 yards.

The only thing that kept Tulsa in the game was the turnover battle. Tulsa recovered three fumbles, but they couldn’t do anything with the ball once they got it. Chad President had a mediocre game, only completing 13-of-27 passes for 131 yards.

As usual, D’Angelo Brewer was Tulsa’s one bright spot, and if anything they should have fed him more. He was very efficient running the ball, rushing for 131 yards on 8.2 yards per carry.

UCF 38, Maryland 10

UCF gained a signature win against a Power Five opponent Saturday as they defeated a much-improved Maryland on the road.

UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton had a very good all-around performance, passing for 178 yards and rushing for 94.

UCF’s defense performed well, but they were certainly aided by Maryland’s horrible injury luck in 2017. In their first game of the year starting quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome went down with a torn ACL. Then, in the game this past weekend, backup Kasim Hill was injured on a run in the first quarter, continuing Maryland’s string of quarterback injuries.

UCF‘s defense held Maryland’s third string QB Max Bortenschlager to 132 yards passing and stymied Maryland’s rushing attack as well, holding them to 37 carries for 42 yards.

Navy 42, Cincinnati 32

If there’s a theme to this week’s Around the American, it’s that the triple option brings good things. Navy came three yards short of breaking the school record for rushing yards in a game, rushing for 569 yards on 7.9 yards per carry as they outlasted Cincinnati on Saturday.

The Navy option machine rolled right over Cincinnati on the ground, as four separate players had over 10 yards per carry with more than one touch. Zach Abey, the maestro of Navy’s offensive attack, had 128 yards on 20 carries, and even aired it out twice for 53 yards.

Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore’s performance shouldn’t be lost in all this, however. Moore completed 28 out of 46 passing attempts for 381 yards and three touchdowns. 11 different receivers caught the ball for Cincinnati, showcasing a side of the Bearcats we hadn’t seen in awhile. Ultimately it wasn’t enough to knock off Navy, who improve to 3-0 on the season and 2-0 in conference.

SMU 44, Arkansas State 21

SMU’s offense exploded again this week, but this time they got it done on the ground. Running back Xavier Jones had 146 yards on 7.6 yards per carry, while Ke’Mon Freeman rushed for 92 yards on 6.1 yards per carry.

SMU quarterback Ben Hicks had a very solid day, throwing for 266 yards and two touchdowns.

Memphis 44, Southern Illinois 31

FCS opponent Southern Illinois led Memphis by four at the half, but a pair of rushing touchdowns and a kick return for a touchdown in the second half put the game out of reach.



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