UCF cracks AP Top 10; Temple thumps ECU


Central Florida wide receiver Tre Nixon (16) catches a pass in front of SMU cornerback Robert Hayes Jr. (7) for a gain during a game on Saturday, Oct. 6 in Orlando, Florida. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

Central Florida wide receiver Tre Nixon (16) catches a pass in front of SMU cornerback Robert Hayes Jr. (7) for a gain during a game on Saturday, Oct. 6 in Orlando, Florida. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

Another week of college football, another UConn football loss. So instead of dwelling on the one-win Huskies, let’s take a look at the other action from this week in The American that saw three teams placed in the AP Top 25.

No. 10 UCF 48, SMU 20

UCF is now a top-10 team in the nation after picking up their 18th straight win in dominating fashion over SMU. The self-proclaimed “defending national champions” are making a serious case for why they should be in this year’s college football playoff, as they have not lost a game since 2016.

The Knights (5-0, 2-0 The American) faced an early three-point deficit, but quickly erased it after scoring on each of their first three drives. The Mustangs (2-4, 1-1 The American) would score their only touchdown of the first half after intercepting McKenzie Milton on a tipped pass. UCF hit a pair of field goals in the second quarter to take a 27-10 halftime advantage.

UCF got the ball to start the second half and picked up 88 of their 541 total yards before punching it in. The Knights let their big, 315-pound defensive lineman force his way into the end zone on a fourth-and-goal from one yard out. The Knights added a couple scores in the fourth quarter, scoring over 40 points for the 13th time in their 18-game winning streak.

McKenzie Milton was impressive, going 19-37 for 285 yards, but the ground attack was the real power in the offense. The Knights as a team rushed for 256 yards on 43 carries, good enough for just under six yards per carry. Junior running back Adrian Killins Jr. led the way with 20 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown.

UCF next plays on the road at Memphis on Saturday, October 13. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

Temple 49, ECU 6

Everything seemed to firing on all cylinders for the Owls last Saturday in their beatdown of ECU in conference play. Temple (3-3, 2-0 The American) more than doubled the offensive yards of ECU (2-3, 0-2 The American) while only giving up a pair of field goals.

Temple was in control from the opening kickoff, scoring five times in the first half to make it 35-3 at the intermission. The Owls didn’t need a whole lot more to put the nails in ECU’s coffin. Temple would score once in each of the remaining quarters and only gave up one more field goal before finishing this one.

Quarterback Anthony Russo had himself a day, throwing for 254 yards and four scores while completing 21 of his 25 passes. Eight different players accounted for the Owls’ 173 rushing yards with senior running back Ryquell Armstead getting the bulk of the work. Armstead amassed 99 yards on 20 carries and scored once.

Temple, like UCF, will play their next game on the road. The Owls will take on Navy next Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

No. 23 USF 58, UMass 42

USF is the second of three teams from The American to make it in this week’s AP Top 25 after a somewhat close game with the Minutemen from UMass.

Like their in-state rival UCF, the Bulls (5-0, 1-0 The American) remain perfect on the season after beating a not-so-perfect UMass team (2-5). USF scored four times in the first half but things were close as USF lead 20-14 going into the break.

Blake Barnett’s 209 yards through the air helped propel the Bulls in the second half, outscoring UMass 38-28 to secure their fifth win of the season.

Jordan Cronkrite was the real story in this back-and-forth battle. The junior running back carried the ball 23 times while gaining a jaw-dropping 302 yards, good enough for 13 yards a carry. Cronkite found his way into the end zone three times to cap off his impressive afternoon.

USF will get back to conference play next weekend when they head to Tulsa for a 7 p.m kickoff.

No. 25 Cincinnati 37, Tulane 21

Cincinnati claimed the last spot in this week’s AP Top 25 as The American continues to make their case as a “Power 6” conference. The Bearcats (6-0, 2-0 The American) sit atop the conference after handling Tulane (2-4, 1-1 The American) in their homecoming matchup.

In front of over 32,000 fans, Cincinnati trailed 7-3 at the end of the first quarter before putting up 21 points in the second. The Bearcats, lead by quarterback Desmond Ridder, scored on three of their four second quarter possessions, with Ridder scoring twice.

Tulane was able to fight for one more score in the second half while Ridder and the Bearcats were able to put up 13 points en route to their 37-21 victory. Ridder accounted for 174 yards and two scores through the air and added another 88 yards and a touchdown with his feet. Running back Warren Michael carried the ball 18 times for 127 yards and a score of his own. Freshman back Tavion Thomas accounted for the Bearcats’ other score while rushing for 59 yards.

Cincinnati will have next Saturday off, as they don’t take the field again until Oct. 20 when they visit Temple. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.

Kevin Arnold is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kevin.arnold@uconn.edu.

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