Around the American Football: ECU holds off Old Dominion, SMU crushes conference rival  

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Old Dominion's Stone Smartt (4) breaks the tackle of East Carolina's Daniel Charles (27) to score a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday.  Photo by L. Todd Spencer/AP

Old Dominion’s Stone Smartt (4) breaks the tackle of East Carolina’s Daniel Charles (27) to score a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday. Photo by L. Todd Spencer/AP

For college football fans who love offense, the slate of games from this past weekend certainly did not disappoint. ECU was able to do just enough to get a win over Old Dominion. Cincinnati was dominant on offense and defense all day long in a blowout win over Marshall. SMU is undefeated for at least another week with an impressive win over conference rival USF.  

ECU: 24 Old Dominion: 21 

ECU and Old Dominion provided the most competitive game of this weekend, with the Pirates getting a win and improving their record on the season to 3-2. It was all ECU in the first half of the game, as the Pirates went into halftime with a 17-3 lead over the Monarchs. The Monarchs came to life offensively in the second half and cut the Pirates’ lead to 17-13. ECU scored one more touchdown in the fourth quarter to make it 24-13, which proved to be too much for Old Dominion to overcome. 

The Pirates had a good but not great offensive performance. ECU gained 309 total yards on offense. The Pirates gained 107 yards on the ground, but it was their passing attack that      carried them on offense. Quarterback Holton Ahlers had an okay performance, passing for 202 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Pirates came up with a huge play on special teams, as Warren Saba returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. 

The Monarchs had an average day on offense, gaining 293 yards on offense. Quarterback Stone Smartt was doing it all for Old Dominion, running for 76 yards and one touchdown, while throwing for 203 yards; however he also threw two interceptions. 

Next week ECU will face Temple on Thursday. 

Cincinnati: 52 Marshall: 14 

Cincinnati coasted to an easy victory on the road thanks to dominant performances on both offense and defense. The Bearcats were in total control of this game from the start, not allowing Marshall to score at all in the first half. The Thundering Herd’s defense was helpless against Cincinnati’s offense. By halftime it was clear that the Bearcats were not going to lose. Cincinnati is now 3-1 on the season while Marshall falls to 2-2.  

Cincinnati gained an incredible 525 total yards of offense, and only turned the ball over once. Running back Tavion Thomas ran the ball 11 times for 71 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Desmond Ridder had a stellar performance, completing 18 of 22 passes for 221 yards and four touchdowns. Wide receiver Alec Pierce had six receptions for 108 yards and one touchdown. 

Up next for Cincinnati is a matchup with UCF. 

SMU: 48 USF: 21 

SMU moved to 5-0 with another impressive performance, this time against USF, which fell to 1-3. SMU is the only undefeated team left in the AAC and based on the way they are playing it could stay like this for a while. The Mustangs set the tone for the game early, jumping out to a 14-0 lead by the end of the first quarter, and they added another 20 going into halftime with a 34-0 lead. USF got things rolling on offense in the second half, but by that point it was too late. SMU has been a sneaky good team this season. The Mustangs are a team everyone should keep an eye on for the next couple of weeks. 

The Mustangs offense was able to do whatever it wanted against USF. SMU averaged six and a half yards per play, which explains why they had 497 total offensive yards for the game. The Mustangs’ ground game gained 245 yards total, with running back Xavier Jones gaining 155 yards on 15 attempts. Jones also ran for two touchdowns. Quarterback Shane Buechele had good game, completing 21 of 25 passes for 226 yards, and he threw for three touchdowns and two interceptions. Buechele’s favorite target of the game was wide receiver James Proche, who had seven receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns.   

Although USF gained 342 total yards of offense, the Bulls offense struggled for most of the game. USF really struggled to run the ball, only gaining 54 yards for the game. It’s hard for teams to put themselves in position to score, especially when your team can’t run the ball effectively. The offense relied heavily on quarterback Blake Barnett, who completed 13 of 21 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns. Barnett did, however, throw two interceptions. The Bulls offense did not lose the game, but they also did not help their struggling defense out. 

Next up for SMU is a matchup with Tulsa. USF will face UConn on Saturday, Oct. 5.   


Joshua Gorman is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.gorman@uconn.edu. He tweets @joshuagorman15.

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