Around the AAC: week two results and what they mean for UCF

Graphic by Sarah Kelliher

UCF extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 15 games on Saturday with a 38-0 shutout of South Carolina State. The Knights now sit at No. 18 in both the Coaches Poll and AP Poll and were scheduled to play North Carolina in week three, but Hurricane Florence forced a cancellation. Regardless, let’s take a look at what else happened around the AAC in week two.

AAC East

Cincinnati: The Bearcats (2-0, 0-0 AAC) picked up their third straight win dating back to last year, shutting out Miami (OH) 21-0. Michael Warren II ran for 91 yards and two touchdowns while quarterback Desmond Ridder was a steady contributor. The freshman threw for just 45 yards and one touchdown through the air, but ran for 100 yards on 18 carries. The Cincinnati defense held the RedHawks to just 198 yards of offense. Up Next: vs. Alabama A&M

South Florida: In one of the more exciting games of week two, the Bulls (2-0, 0-0 AAC) overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Georgia Tech 49-38. South Florida scored the game’s final three touchdowns to grab another big win for the conference. Blake Barnett was the difference, throwing for 207 yards and two touchdowns while running for 86 and another two on the ground. The Yellow Jackets put up 595 yards of offense, but couldn’t get enough stops to win. Up Next: at Illinois

East Carolina: After losing their opener to North Carolina A&T, the Pirates (1-1, 0-0 AAC) bounced back on Saturday with a 41-19 win over North Carolina. Reid Herring threw for two touchdowns and Holton Ahlers ran for two, making up a good day for the ECU quarterback group. After the Tar Heels got within 21-19 before halftime, the Pirates outscored them 20-0 in the second half. The loss dropped North Carolina to 0-2 ahead of its scheduled game with UCF. Up Next: at No. 13 Virginia Tech

Temple: The Owls (0-2, 0-0 AAC) continued to disappoint in week two, losing 36-29 to Buffalo. Quarterback Frank Nutile threw for 216 yards and three touchdowns, but was intercepted twice. The Temple defense couldn’t contain Bulls running back Kevin Marks, who rushed for 138 yards and two scores on 25 carries. The Owls tied the game at 29-29 with 4:53 left, but allowed the game-winning touchdown with 59 seconds left. Up Next: at Maryland

UConn: Playing a ranked opponent for the second straight week didn’t work out for the Huskies (0-2, 0-1 AAC) as they lost 62-7 on the road against then-No. 20 Boise State (now No. 17). Quarterback David Pindell threw for just 71 yards and one touchdown, while Kevin Mensah rushed for 82 yards on 10 carries. The UConn defense couldn’t contain the Broncos at all, allowing 818 yards. Boise State put up 38 first downs to UConn’s nine. Up Next: vs. Rhode Island

AAC West

Navy: The Midshipmen (1-1, 1-0 AAC) rebounded from last week’s loss to Hawaii by picking up a big conference win over preseason AAC West favorite Memphis. The Tigers led 21-9 entering the fourth quarter, but Navy came roaring back. Malcolm Perry ran for a 19-yard touchdown to make it 21-16 with 11:06 to go, then Zach Abey punched one in from three yards out with 2:37 left to clinch the victory. Up Next: vs. Lehigh

Houston: Saturday was a big day for the Cougars (2-0, 0-0 AAC), who blew out the Pac-12’s Arizona by a score of 45-18. Quarterback D’Eriq King threw for 246 yards and totaled six touchdowns (four passing, two rushing) in the victory. The Wildcats racked up 531 yards of offense, but scored just 18 points. Houston scored the game’s first 38 points and never looked back, earning one of the conference’s biggest victories of the weekend. Up Next: at Texas Tech

Tulane: The Green Wave (1-1, 0-0 AAC) came back from last week’s tough loss to Wake Forest by beating Nicholls 42-17 at home. Corey Dauphine was the star, carrying the ball six times for 152 yards and three touchdowns. The game was never really in doubt, as Tulane took a 21-3 lead by the midway point of the second quarter. 458 yards of offense did the trick for the Wave, despite the defense allowing 415. Up Next: at UAB

Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane (1-1, 0-0 AAC) couldn’t overcome a 21-0 first-half lead against Texas, falling 28-21 on the road. Shamari Brooks ran for two straight touchdowns to bring the game within 21-14 early in the fourth, but the Longhorns struck again. A late touchdown pass from Luke Skipper to Keenen Johnson wasn’t enough to bring Tulsa back. Texas racked up 478 yards one week after a crushing loss to Maryland. Up Next: vs. Arkansas State

SMU: The Mustangs (0-2, 0-0 AAC) hung with No. 16 TCU in the first half, but ultimately fell 42-12 on Friday night. The game started with a weather delay, but SMU came out of the locker room hot, grabbing a 9-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. But from there, the Horned Frogs found their footing and finished strong. Braeden West ran for 78 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, but quarterback Ben Hicks completed just 18 of his 38 passes for 111 yards in a poor performance by the offense. Up Next: at No. 19 Michigan

Memphis: The Tigers (1-1, 0-1 AAC) suffered their first non-UCF regular season loss since November of 2016, falling 22-21 at Navy. Quarterback Brady White failed to find the end zone, but running back Darrell Henderson ran for 212 yards and three scores. The Memphis defense just couldn’t hold the Midshipmen in the fourth quarter and the offense added its fourth turnover of the day in the game’s final quarter. Up Next: vs. Georgia State (Friday)

What does this all mean for UCF?

The conference fared much better in week two after an awful opening weekend. The AAC East had two big wins over Power Five teams, with South Florida beating Georgia Tech and East Carolina beating North Carolina. Houston continued to look impressive against Arizona, adding a third Power Five win. The rest of the conference mostly played lower-tier opponents, but some teams needed to pick up wins of any kind after a rough start last weekend.

The Knights’ strength of schedule didn’t get considerably better this week, but it may have been helped a bit by South Florida and Cincinnati improving to 2-0 (especially with the Bulls beating an ACC opponent). Houston might be the new favorite in the AAC West, which could help UCF in the long run. The Knights just have to keep winning and let everything else play out. With weather impacting this week’s game at North Carolina, the Knights will not be back on the field until Sept. 21 against FAU.

 



About Bailey Adams 171 Articles
Bailey Adams is a senior writer covering UCF Football and Baseball for Knight Sports Now. You can follow him on Twitter at @BaileyJAdams22.