Conference Notes: American Athletic Conference

THIS WEEK

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
UCF at Louisville
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Series: Tied, 1-1
Last Meeting: Oct. 18, 2013 (UCF, 38-35)

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
Cincinnati at Indiana
Time: Noon
Series: Indiana leads, 9-3-2
Last Meeting: Sept. 23, 2000 (Indiana, 42-6)

Boston College at Temple
Time: Noon
Series: Boston College leads, 29-7-2
Last Meeting: Sept. 29, 2018 (Boston College, 45-35)

SMU at Louisiana Tech
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Series: Louisiana Tech leads, 4-1
Last Meeting: Dec. 20, 2017 (Louisiana Tech, 51-10)

Tulsa at Ohio State
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Series: Ohio State leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: Sept. 10, 2016 (Ohio State, 48-3)

Mississippi State at Memphis
Time: 4 p.m.
Series: Mississippi State leads, 33-11
Last Meeting: Sept. 1, 2011 (Mississippi State, 59-14)

East Carolina at Marshall
Time: 6 p.m.
Series: East Carolina leads, 10-5
Last Meeting: Nov. 29, 2013 (Marshall, 59-28)

Grambling State at Houston
Time: 7 p.m.
Series: Houston leads, 2-0
Last Meeting: Sept. 6, 2014 (Houston, 47-0)

Florida A&M at South Florida
Time: 7 p.m.
Series: South Florida leads, 3-0
Last Meeting: Sept. 5, 2015 (South Florida, 51-3)

Tulane at Ole Miss
Time: 8 p.m.
Series: Ole Miss leads, 41-28
Last Meeting: Sept. 22, 2012 (Ole Miss, 39-0)

Open Week
Navy
Next Game: Sept. 25 at Houston

All times Eastern

Rank And File
Cincinnati finished the 2020 season ranked No. 8 nationally, marking the fourth time in the American Athletic Conference’s eight seasons that the league finished with a top-10 team.

Top-10 Finishes by American Athletic Conference Teams
2013 UCF (No. 10 AP)
2015 Houston (No. 8 AP, No. 8 USA Today)
2017 UCF (No. 6 AP, No. 7 USA Today)
2020 Cincinnati (No. 8 AP, No. 8 USA Today)

Bowling Lane
Cincinnati’s appearance in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl marked the fifth time in seven seasons of the current College Football Playoff format that the American Athletic Conference was represented in the New Year’s Six.

Big Time
American Athletic Conference teams have gone 3-3 in New Year’s Six/BCS bowls since the formation of the conference in 2013.
2013 UCF 52, Baylor 42 (Fiesta Bowl)
2015 Houston 38, Florida State 24 (Peach Bowl)
2017 UCF 34, Auburn 27 (Peach Bowl)
2018 LSU 40, UCF 32 (Fiesta Bowl)
2019 Penn State 53, Memphis 39 (Cotton Bowl)
2020 Georgia 24, Cincinnati 21 (Peach Bowl)

Defend This House
Cincinnati extended its homefield winning streak to 22 games with its Week 2 victory against Murray State. Memphis has a 16-game winning streak at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Active Home Winning Streaks
29 Clemson
25 Notre Dame
22 Cincinnati
16 Memphis

On A Roll
Cincinnati is 33-6 since the start of the 2018 season.
UCF is 43-8 since the beginning of the 2017 season.
Memphis is 22-5 and SMU is 19-6 since the start of the
2019 campaign.

Bullies
Cincinnati has won 29 consecutive games against unranked teams.

Consistency
Cincinnati has been ranked in 29 consecutive national polls, dating to the rankings of Oct. 6, 2019. The Bearcats would have to be ranked in the next four polls of the 2021 season to tie UCF’s American Athletic Conference record of 33 straight national rankings.

Variety Show
Nine of the 11 American Athletic Conference schools have been ranked in the top 25 since the start of the 2018 season.

Welcome Aboard
The American’s top two rushing leaders in 2020 were freshmen. SMU UB Ulysses Bentley led the league with 91.3 rushing yards per game, while East Carolina RB Rahji
Harris was second at 78.0 ypg.

Veterans Day
Tulsa lost only eight letter-winners from last year’s team. The Golden Hurricane has 14 ‘super seniors’ who elected to return for 2021 with an extra year of eligibility.

Trailblazer
SMU QB Tanner Mordecai tied an American Athletic Conference record with seven touchdown passes against Abilene Christian in Week 1 and had four TD passes against North Texas last Saturday. The 11 touchdown pass are the most by an SMU player through two games in program history.

Believe The Hype
The following American Athletic Conference players have been named to preseason All-America teams by college football’s leading presenters.

Athlon Sports
Ahmad Gardner, DB, Cincinnati – First Team
Marcus Jones, PR, Houston – First Team
Myjai Sanders, DL, Houston – Second Team

Sporting News
Ahmad Gardner, DB, Cincinnati – First Team
Walter Camp Football Foundation
Ahmad Gardner, DB, Cincinnati – First Team
Marcus Jones, KR, Houston – First Team
Myjai Sanders, DL, Houston – Second Team

247 Sports
Ahmad Gardner, DB, Cincinnati – First Team
Marcus Jones, PR, Houston – First Team
Myjai Sanders, DL, Houston – Second Team

Phil Steele
Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati – First Team
Marcus Jones, PR, Houston – First Team
Myjai Sanders, DL, Houston – Third Team
Diego Fagot, LB, Navy – Third Team
Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis – Fourth Team
Tyler Snead, AP, East Carolina – Fourth Team
Adam Higuera, LS, Tulsa – Fourth Team
College Football News
Dillon Gabriel, QB, UCF – Honorable Mention
Matthew Lee, C, UCF – Honorable Mention
Cole Schneider, OG, UCF – Honorable Mention
Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati – Honorable Mention
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati – Honorable Mention
Myjai Sanders, Edge, Cincinnati – Honorable Mention
Ulysses Bentley IV, RB, SMU – Honorable Mention

Top Of The Charts
Memphis RB Brandon Thomas leads the NCAA in rushing through two games (169.0 ypg).

Leaderboard
SMU QB Tanner Mordecai’s 11 touchdown passes are the most of any FBS player in 2021.

Top This
Memphis WR Calvin Austin III had 239 receiving yards against Arkansas State last Saturday, the most by an NCAA FBS player in a game this season.

Active Claims
UCF QB Dillon Gabriel is the NCAA active career leader in passing yards per game. Gabriel has averaged 314.1 yards per game.

Familiar Faces
The American Athletic Conference returns 10 of its 11 head coaches from last season. The only new head coach in The American in 2021 will be UCF’s Gus Malzahn.

Great Eight
Cincinnati is the first American Athletic Conference team with a preseason top-10 ranking since Louisville was ranked No. 9 to start the 2013 season. The Bearcats’ No. 8 preseason rank is the highest for an American Athletic Conference team in the league’s history.

Draft Class
The American Athletic Conference saw 19 players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, the most in conference history. Former Tulsa LB Zaven Collins (16th to Arizona) and
former Houston DE Payton Turner (28th to New Orleans) were both first-round selections.

TALKING POINTS

UCF
2-0, 0-0 American
@UCF_Football
Last: Beat Bethune-Cookman, 63-14
Next: Sept. 17 at Louisville (ESPN)
American Ranks
Total Offense…………………………. 622.0 …………………. 2nd
Total Defense………………………….292.5 …………………..3rd
Scoring Offense ……………………….49.5 …………………. 2nd
Scoring Defense ……………………….22.5 …………………..3rd
• RB Isaiah Bowser rushed for four touchdowns and 59 yards on 12 carries in the win against Bethune-Cookman.
• QB Dillon Gabriel threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns and added a 44-yard rushing TD against the Wildcats.
• UCF has scored a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown in 51 consecutive games, the longest streak in the nation.
• The Knights are 43-8 in their last 51 games.
• WR Ryan O’Keefe had eight receptions for 110 yards against the Wildcats, turning in his second career 100-yard game.
• The Knights gained 671 yards of offense against Bethune-Cookman and have totaled 1,244 yards through their first two games.

CINCINNATI
2-0, 0-0 American
@BearcatsFB
Last: Beat Murray State, 42-7
Next: Sept. 18 at Indiana (ESPN)
American Ranks
Total Offense………………………….466.5 …………………..5th
Total Defense…………………………260.0 …………………. 2nd
Scoring Offense ………………………. 45.5 …………………..4th
Scoring Defense ……………………….10.5 ……………………1st
• RB Jerome Ford rushed for 113 yards and three touchdowns as the Bearcats pulled away from a 7-7 halftime tie to beat Murray State.
• Cincinnati is 33-5 since the start of the 2018 season. The Bearcats are 15-1 all-time as a top-10 team.
• Cincinnati extended its homefield winning streak to 22 games with the victory against Murray State.
• QB Desmond Ridder was 14-of-22 for 243 yards and two touchdowns against the Racers.
• Cincinnati forced five turnovers against Murray State (three interceptions, two fumble recoveries).
• The Bearcats’ next two games are on the road, beginning with Saturday’s contest at Indiana.

EAST CAROLINA
0-2, 0-0 American
@ECUPiratesFB
Last: Lost to South Carolina, 20-17
Next: Sept. 18 at Marshall (CBSSN on Facebook)
American Ranks
Total Offense…………………………. 322.0 …………………..8th
Total Defense…………………………405.0 …………………..8th
Scoring Offense ………………………..18.0 …………………..9th
Scoring Defense ……………………… 26.5 …………………..6th
• East Carolina did not trail against South Carolina until the final gun as the Gamecocks got the game-winning field goal as time expired.
• The Pirates scored a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, but only found the end zone once the rest of the way.
• WR Jsi Hatfield had a team-high 90 receiving yards on only two receptions against the Gamecocks. Hatfield scored on a 75-yard touchdown catch on the first play of the game.
• QB Holton Ahlers was 11-of-24 for 77 yards, was intercepted twice and was sacked five times against South Carolina. Ahlers did have a rushing touchdown, the 14th of his career.
• The Pirates have forced at least one turnover in 10 consecutive games. East Carolina has six defensive interceptions in its last three contests.

HOUSTON
1-1, 0-0 American
@UHCougarFB
Last: Won at Rice, 44-7
Next: Sept. 18 vs. Grambling State (ESPN+)
American Ranks
Total Offense…………………………. 326.5 …………………..8th
Total Defense…………………………294.0 …………………..3rd
Scoring Offense ………………………. 32.5 …………………..6th
Scoring Defense ……………………….22.5 …………………..3rd
• The Cougars scored the first 17 points of the game against Rice a week after they scored the first 14 points against Texas Tech.
• QB Clayton Tune passed for 236 yards and two touchdows and was the Cougars’ leading rusher against Rice with 49 yards on nine carries.
• K Dalton Witherspoon has not missed a PAT in his collegeiate career (140-of-140). Witherspoon ranks third on The American’s career chart for consecutive made PATs and needs 14 to tie former UCF kicker Matthew Wright for second place.
• RB Alton McCaskill scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) against Rice, becoming the first Houston true freshman with three TDs in a game since Bryce Beall in the 2008 season.

MEMPHIS
2-0, 0-0 American
@TigersAthletics
Last: Won at Arkansas State, 55-50
Next: Sept. 18 vs. Mississippi State (ESPN2)
American Ranks
Total Offense………………………….633.5 ……………………1st
Total Defense…………………………489.5 …………………10th
Scoring Offense ……………………….48.5 …………………..3rd
Scoring Defense ………………………33.5 …………………..8th
• QB Seth Henigan was 22-of-33 for 417 yards and five touchdowns in his second career start to lead Memphis past Arkansas State.
• The teams combined for 105 points and 1,361 yards of offense.
• WR Calvin Austin II had six catches for careerhighs of 239 yards and three touchdowns against Arkansas State.
• Memphis scored six touchdowns of at least 40 yards in the win against Arkansas State.
• RB Brandon Thomas rushed for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries against the Red Wolves.
• Memphis is off to a 2-0 start for the fifth time in seven years.

NAVY
0-2, 0-0 American
@NavyAthletics
Last: Lost to Air Force, 23-3
Next: Sept. 25 at Houston (ESPNU)
American Ranks
Total Offense…………………………. 233.0 ………………….11th
Total Defense………………………… 344.5 …………………..5th
Scoring Offense ………………………….5.0 ………………….11th
Scoring Defense ………………………36.0 …………………..9th
• Navy was limited to 36 rushing yards and 68 total yards in the loss to Air Force in the first game of the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy series.
• The Midshipmen gained only six first downs against Air Force and had moved the chains only once through the first three quarters.
• Navy’s defense limited Air Force to 225 yards.
• The loss to the Falcons ended an eight-game winning streak by the home team in the series between Navy and Air Force.
• LB Diego Fagot had 13 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss against the Falcons.
• The Midshipmen are idle in Week 3 and begin conference play Sept. 25 at Houston.

SOUTH FLORIDA
0-2, 0-0 American
@USFFootball
Last: Lost to Florida, 42-20
Next: Sept. 18 vs. Florida A&M (ESPN+)
American Ranks
Total Offense………………………….284.0 …………………..9th
Total Defense………………………… 595.5 ………………….11th
Scoring Offense ………………………..10.0 …………………10th
Scoring Defense ……………………… 43.5 ………………….11th
• South Florida outscored No. 9 Florida 17-7 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Gators’ 35-point first half.
• RB Jaren Mangham scored two rushing touchdowns against the Gators.
• WR Xavier Weaver had two receptions for 68 yards, finishing as the Bulls’ leader in receiving yards for the second consecutive week.
• QB Cade Fortin was 12-of-18 for 91 yards and an interceptions against the Gators in his second start with South Florida.
• The Bulls look to snap a 10-game slide with Saturday’s home date against Florida A&M

SMU
2-0, 0-0 American
@SMU_Football
Last: Beat North Texas, 35-12
Next: Sept. 18 at Louisiana Tech (CBSSN)
American Ranks
Total Offense…………………………..497.5 …………………..3rd
Total Defense………………………… 420.5 …………………..9th
Scoring Offense ………………………. 45.5 …………………..4th
Scoring Defense ……………………….10.5 ……………………1st
• QB Tanner Mordecai threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns as the Mustangs pulled away from North Texas.
• Mordecai has 11 touchdown passes, the most by an SMU player in consecutive games in program history.
• RB Ulysses Bentley IV rushed for 141 yards and a TD on 10 carries against the Mean Green.
• The Mustangs are 11-1 in their last 12 games at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.
• SMU had 537 yards of offense against North Texas, giving the Mustangs at least 500 yards in 18 of their last 24 games.

TEMPLE
1-1, 0-0 American
@Temple_FB
Last: Won at Akron, 45-24
Next: Sept. 18 vs. Boston College (ESPNU)
American Ranks
Total Offense…………………………..341.5 ………………….. 7th
Total Defense………………………… 363.5 ………………….. 7th
Scoring Offense ………………………. 29.5 …………………..6th
Scoring Defense ……………………… 42.5 …………………10th
• Temple erased an early 14-0 deficit to roll past Akron as QB Justin Lynch and WR Randle Jones connected on a pair of touchdown passes.
• Lynch, making his first career start, completed 19 of 23 passes for 245 yards and added a rushing touchdown two his two passing TDs.
• Jones had seven receptions for 170 yards and the two touchdowns.
• The Owls scored two defensive touchdowns against Akron. DE William Kwenkeu found the end zone on a 38-yard fumble return, and S Amir Tyler scored on a 3-yard interception return.
• Temple snapped a six-game losing streak with the win against Akron.

TULANE
1-1, 0-0 American
@GreenWaveFB
Last: Beat Morgan State, 69-20
Next: Sept. 18 at Ole Miss (ESPN2)
American Ranks
Total Offense………………………….490.0 …………………..4th
Total Defense………………………… 339.5 …………………..4th
Scoring Offense ………………………. 52.0 ……………………1st
Scoring Defense ………………………30.0 ………………….. 7th
• The Green Wave raced to a 45-0 halftime lead on its way to the easy win against Morgan State.
• Tulane scored 35 points in the second quarter against Morgan State, becoming only the second American Athletic Conference team in league history to register a 35-point quarter (Memphis vs. Bowling Green, 9/24/16).
• QB Michael Pratt threw for 124 yards and two touchdowns, while QB Justin Ibieta threw for 166 yards and two TDs against the Bears.
• Nine Tulane players scored touchdowns against Morgan State. No player had more than one TD.
• Tulane has scored at least 60 points four times under Willie Fritz, who has been head coach since 2016. The Green Wave had not broken 60 points since 1998 before Fritz arrived.

TULSA
0-2, 0-0 American
@TulsaFootball
Last: Lost at Oklahoma State, 28-23
Next: Sept. 18 at Ohio State (FS1)
American Ranks
Total Offense………………………….403.0 …………………..6th
Total Defense…………………………354.0 …………………..6th
Scoring Offense ……………………….20.0 …………………..8th
Scoring Defense ……………………… 23.5 …………………..5th
• Tulsa held a 17-14 fourth-quarter lead, but saw Oklahoma State scored two backbreaking touchdowns in the Bank of Oklahoma Turnpike Classic.
• QB Davis Brin was 19-of 27 for 224 yards and was the Golden Hurricane’s leading rusher with 37 yards on eight carries.
• LB Justin Wright scored on a 55-yard interception return against Oklahoma State.
• Tulsa limited Oklahoma State to seven points through the first three quarters, but allowed 21 points in the fourth period.
• Tulsa finished with a 347-272 advantage in total offense against Oklahoma State.