Around the American Football: UCF wins big, Memphis outlasts Ole Miss 

UConn walked away with a win in their season-opener against Wagner, leading to endless celebrations from the players and fans.  Photo from The Associated Press

UConn walked away with a win in their season-opener against Wagner, leading to endless celebrations from the players and fans. Photo from The Associated Press

UConn held off Wagner 24-21 in its first game, but the Huskies weren’t the only team in the American Athletic Conference to start the season with a win. Perennial powerhouse University of Central Florida obliterated their first opponent, while Memphis and Cincinnati won tight matchups in Week One. Others, like Houston, weren’t as fortunate to start the year 1-0. 

 No. 17 UCF: 62 Florida A&M: 0 

 This game was a blowout in every sense of the word. FCS opponent Florida A&M stood no chance against the pride of The American. The score was 48-0 at halftime, and the Knights ended up gaining almost 600 more yards in the game than the outmatched Rattlers. The game simply wasn’t competitive. 

 UCF got to play all three of their quarterbacks, and all three of them threw touchdown passes. Former Notre Dame standout Brandon Wimbush got the start and threw for 168 yards and two TDs. Then, true freshman Dillon Gabriel took over and didn’t miss a beat, throwing for 127 yards and three touchdowns of his own. Even third-stringer Quadry Jones got some time in the fourth quarter and completed two passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. 

Adrian Killins Jr. speared the rushing attack with 14 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown, while Gabriel Davis led the receiving corps with three receptions for 68 yards and two scores. 

The competition wasn’t great, but if this performance was any sign of things to come, it’s going to be another successful season for the Knights. They take on FAU this week. 

Cincinnati: 24 UCLA: 14 

Cincinnati won their first game of the season against UCLA through their impressive play on the ground.  Photo from The Associated Press

Cincinnati won their first game of the season against UCLA through their impressive play on the ground. Photo from The Associated Press

The Bearcats took down a quality Pac-12 opponent in UCLA to begin their 2019 campaign on Thursday night.  

Junior running back Michael Warren II was the star of the game on offense. He carried the ball 26 times for 92 yards and a touchdown while also catching three passes for 27 yards and another touchdown. 

Cincinnati also shined defensively, forcing UCLA to turn the ball over four times. Safety Ja’von Hicks accounted for two of those himself with an interception and a fumble recovery. 

Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder played well too, completing 18 of his 26 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns. He did a good job controlling the pace of play and allowing the bearcats to dominate in time of possession. 

Next up, Cincinnati has their toughest opponent of the year in No. 5 Ohio State. 

Memphis: 15 Ole Miss: 10 

The Tigers’ offense wasn’t overpowering, but their defense played exceptionally well to get them their first win. Ole Miss didn’t score in the first half and finished with under 100 of both passing and rushing yards. 

Meanwhile, senior running back Patrick Taylor Jr. rushed for over 100 yards himself, finishing with 128 and a touchdown. Quarterback Brady White recorded the other Memphis score with a rushing TD. 

Fittingly, it was a defensive play that sealed the game for Memphis. Up three with under seven minutes to play, defensive end Bryce Huff sacked Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral in the end zone for a safety. 

Memphis is anticipated to be one of the top teams in The American this season. They continue their non-conference schedule this week with Southern University. 

No. 4 Oklahoma: 49 Houston: 31 

Houston had some tough luck facing the Oklahoma Sooners, led by former Alabama star Jalen Hurts, in their first game of the season. 

Jalen Hurts skyrocketed to first in the Heisman race after his huge game against Houston to begin the season.  Photo from The Daily Campus

Jalen Hurts skyrocketed to first in the Heisman race after his huge game against Houston to begin the season. Photo from The Daily Campus

The Cougars didn’t play awful, but Hurts clearly has something to prove this year. He established himself as the early frontrunner for the Heisman with his performance in his debut with the Sooners. He threw for 332 yards and three scores while running for 176 and another three touchdowns. The Houston defense had absolutely no answer for him on Sunday night. 

Oklahoma seemed to have plenty of answers for Houston though. The Sooner defense held D’Eriq King to just 167 passing yards. King did tally three scores, two with his arm and one with his legs. He was also the team’s leading rusher with 103 yards. 

In most games, 31 points would be enough to come away with a win, but not against the No. 4 team in the country. The Cougars will look for better fortune this week against Prairie View A&M, their lone FCS opponent. 


Danny Barletta is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.barletta@uconn.edu.