For a second straight week, UCF had its game called off due to the effects of Hurricane Irma. The Knights are still sitting at 1-0 heading into their Sept. 23 game at Maryland. There was plenty of action around the AAC last weekend. What all went down for UCF’s conference foes?
USF: The No. 22 Bulls (3-0, 0-0 AAC) played their most complete game of the year against Illinois on Friday night, winning 47-23. USF totaled 680 yards of offense, getting 100-plus yards on the ground from seniors Quinton Flowers, Darius Tice and D’Ernest Johnson. Flowers finished with five total touchdowns. Up Next: vs. Temple
UConn: The Huskies (1-1, 0-0 AAC) struggled at Virginia, falling 38-18. They trailed 31-0 at one point in the third quarter, but came back with three late touchdowns to close the gap. Junior Hergy Mayala caught two passes for 77 yards and two scores. The defense let them down, allowing 626 yards to the Cavaliers. Up Next: vs. East Carolina
Temple: The defending conference champion Owls (2-1, 0-0 AAC) picked up a 29-21 win over UMass on Friday night. After falling behind 7-3, Temple scored 12 straight before holding off a Minutemen comeback attempt. Sophomore Logan Marchi completed 22 of his 37 pass attempts for 248 yards and three touchdowns. Up Next: at USF
Cincinnati: It took an 18-3 advantage in the fourth quarter, but the Bearcats (2-1, 0-0 AAC) came up with a 21-17 win over Miami (OH). Junior safety Malik Clements put Cincinnati on top with 1:07 left, returning an interception 14 yards for a touchdown. Junior Hayden Moore threw two interceptions, but his 20-yard touchdown pass and ensuing two-point conversion with 2:52 left brought the game to 17-14. Up Next: at Navy
East Carolina: The Pirates (0-3, 0-0 AAC) had a 17-7 lead over No. 16 Virginia Tech, but eventually fell apart in a 64-17 loss. Junior Gardner Minshew put ECU up with two early touchdown passes, but the Hokies scored 57 unanswered points to end the game. Up Next: at UConn
Navy: The Midshipmen (2-0, 1-0 AAC) were on a bye this week. Up Next: vs. Cincinnati
SMU: The Mustangs (2-1, 0-0 AAC) had an early 19-7 lead over No. 20 TCU, but ended up on the wrong side of a 56-36 final score. Sophomore Ben Hicks threw for two touchdowns, while sophomore Ke’Mon Freeman ran for two. SMU totaled over 450 yards of offense for the third straight game, but allowed more than 450 for the second straight. Up Next: vs. Arkansas State
Houston: The Cougars (2-0, 0-0 AAC) rolled over Rice, winning 38-3. Junior Kyle Allen was impressively efficient, completing 31 of his 33 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns. All 38 of Houston’s points came in the first half. The defense kept the shutout until there was 2:47 left in the game. Up Next: vs. Texas Tech
Memphis: The Tigers (2-0, 0-0 AAC) pulled off a 48-45 upset over No. 25 UCLA on Saturday afternoon, which marked their third straight season with a win over a ranked opponent. Senior Riley Ferguson out-dueled UCLA’s Josh Rosen, throwing for 398 yards and six touchdowns. Memphis was outgained 633-560, but its defense forced three turnovers, including a pick six. Up Next: vs. Southern Illinois
Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane (1-2, 0-0 AAC) continued to struggle on defense this week at Toledo, losing 54-51. Freshman Shamari Brooks tied the game at 51 with 2:47 left, but Toledo then went 59 yards down the field to kick a game-winning 33-yard field goal as time expired. The Tulsa defense allowed over 550 yards for the third straight game and gave up over 600 for the second time. Up Next: vs. New Mexico
Tulane: The Green Wave (1-2, 0-1 AAC) played No. 2 Oklahoma tough for a quarter, but lost 56-14. Senior Dontrell Hilliard was one of the lone bright spots, rushing for 104 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Despite being up 14-7 at one point, Tulane couldn’t hang in. The Sooners scored 49 straight to end the game and piled up 631 yards of offense. Up Next: vs. Army
What does this all mean for UCF?
It was another weekend off for the Knights, but they will get back on the field at Maryland before starting conference play with the rescheduled Memphis game on Sept. 30. In last week’s conference roundup, we looked at the potential big games for AAC teams this weekend against ranked and power five opponents. The opportunity for a big weekend from the conference was there, but only some lived up to the hype.
USF looked strong for the first time this season and Memphis picked up an impressive win over a ranked power five opponent. Other than those two, it was a poor weekend for the AAC.
ECU and SMU both had sizable leads against top-25 teams, but couldn’t finish and were blown out the rest of the way. The rest of the conference played up to a fair standard, with no real surprises one way or the other.
Through three weeks, the only teams in the AAC that look like anything special are USF, Memphis and UCF (which has yet to play more than one game). Navy and SMU have potential, but neither have done anything too impressive in the first three weeks.
This weekend, a number of teams will go head-to-head as conference play gets going in full swing. Over the first few weeks of AAC play, the real contenders will start to separate themselves.