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CFB Week 8 Conference Notes: American Athletic Conference

THIS WEEK IN THE AAC

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21
Tulane at SMU *
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Series: SMU leads, 14-13
Last Meeting: Oct. 16, 2020 (SMU, 37-34)

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22
Memphis at UCF *
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Series: UCF leads, 13-2
Last Meeting: Oct. 17, 2020 (Memphis, 50-49)

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23
Cincinnati at Navy *
Time: Noon
Series: Navy leads, 3-1
Last Meeting: Nov. 3, 2018 (Cincinnati, 42-0)

East Carolina at Houston *
Time: 4 p.m.
Series: Tied, 7-7
Last Meeting: Oct. 13, 2018 (Houston, 42-20)

Temple at South Florida *
Time: 7 p.m.
Series: Temple leads, 5-2
Last Meeting: Oct. 17, 2020 (Temple, 39-37)

OPEN WEEK
Tulsa
Next Game: Oct. 29 vs. Navy

Elite Company
SMU (6-0) and Cincinnati (6-0) are among the 11 undefeated teams nationally through Week 7 of the 2021 season. Georgia, Michigan State, Oklahoma and UTSA are all 7-0, while the other 6-0 teams are Wake Forest, Coastal Carolina, Michigan, Oklahoma State and San Diego State.

We’ll Do It Ourselves
Cincinnati enters Week 8 with the second-longest home field winning streak nationally as the Bearcats have won 24 straight at Nippert Stadium, trailing only Clemson (31).

Active Home Winning Streaks
31 Clemson
24 Cincinnati
16 Oregon

High Point
Cincinnati is ranked No. 2 in this week’s Associated Press poll, marking the highest ranking by an American Athletic Conference team in the league’s nine-year history.

Highest AP Ranks by American Athletic Conference Teams
No. 2 Cincinnati Oct. 17, 2021
No. 3 Cincinnati Oct. 10, 2021
No. 5 Cincinnati Oct. 3, 2021
No. 6 Houston Sept. 6-Oct. 2, 2016
UCF Final 2017
Cincinnati Nov. 1, Dec. 13-20, 2020

On A Roll
Cincinnati is 37-6 since the start of the 2018 season. Memphis is 24-8 and SMU is 23-6 since the start of the 2019 campaign.

Bullies
Cincinnati has won 32 consecutive games against unranked teams.

Consistency
Cincinnati has been ranked in 34 consecutive national polls, dating to the rankings of Oct. 6, 2019.

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

Been Here Before
SMU is off to a 6-0 start for the second time in three seasons. The Mustangs won their first eight games in 2019.

Quarterly Report
Houston has outscored its opponents by a 73-7 margin in the first quarter.

Rejection Letters
East Carolina CB Ja’Quan McMillian enters Week 8 as the NCAA FBS leader in passes defended, leading a group of three American Athletic Conference players among the
top five national leaders.

2021 NCAA FBS Leaders – Passes Defended Per Game
1. Ja’Quan McMillian, East Carolina 2.7
2. Trenton Thompson, San Diego State 1.8
3. Coby Bryant, Cincinnati 1.8
4. Jakorian Benett, Maryland 1.6
t-5. Greg Rubin, Memphis 1.6

Dy-no-mite!
Memphis LB JJ Russell is second among all NCAA FBS players with 11.0 tackles per game.

Point Production
SMU QB Tanner Mordecai has 26 touchdown passes through five games. Mordecai has 10 more touchdown passes as any other American Athletic Conference player and is tied with Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe for the national lead.

Ford’s Theater
Cincinnati RB Jerome Ford has 12 rushing touchdowns, putting him second nationally. Ford is one TD off the national lead.

Streaking
Houston has won five games in a row for the first time since the 2018 season.

Austin III:16
Memphis WR Calvin Austin III has eight touchdown receptions in 2021, putting him fourth among NCAA FBS players. Austin has had touchdown receptions of 11, 21, 25, 30, 50, 55, 60 and 75 yards this season. He also has scored on a 94-yard punt return and a 69-yard run.

Keeping Up With Jones
Houston CB Marcus Jones, who was the 2020 American Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Year, is one of only two NCAA FBS players with two touchdowns
on punt returns in 2021 (Jayden Reed of Michigan State).

Active Claims
UCF QB Dillon Gabriel is the NCAA active career leader in passing yards and total offense per game. Gabriel has averaged 309.1 passing yards and 323.4 yards of total offense per game.

Bend But Don’t Break
Cincinnati leads the nation in red zone defense (42.9 percent). The Bearcats are second nationally in pass efficiency defense (86.04), trailing only Georgia (85.22).

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 is UCF’s Gus Malzahn.

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
3-3, 1-2 American
@UCF_Football
Last: Lost at Cincinnati, 56-21
Next: Oct. 22 vs. Memphis (ESPN2)
American Ranks
Total Offense………………………….440.8 …………………..5th
Total Defense………………………… 384.2 …………………..5th
Scoring Offense ………………………. 34.2 …………………..4th
Scoring Defense ……………………… 32.2 …………………..6th
• UCF was limited to 296 yards and committed three turnovers in the loss at No. 3 Cincinnati.
• The Knights were held below 30 points in back-to-back games for the first time since the 2016 season.
• QB Mikey Keene was 16-of 27 for 141 yards and a touchdown against the Bearcats.
• The 56 points allowed to Cincinnati were the most by a UCF squad since a 59-10 loss to Houston Oct. 24, 2015.
• RB Isaiah Bowser returned to the lineup after missing three games due to injury. Bowser rushed for 27 yards and his sixth touchdown against the Bearcats.

CINCINNATI
6-0, 2-0 American
@BearcatsFB
Last: Beat UCF, 56-21
Next: Oct. 23 at Navy (ESPN2)
American Ranks
Total Offense………………………….444.8 …………………..4th
Total Defense………………………… 294.5 …………………. 2nd
Scoring Offense ………………………. 43.5 ……………………1st
Scoring Defense ………………………. 13.7 ……………………1st
• RB Jerome Ford had career highs with 189 rushing yards and four touchdowns to lead Cincinnati past UCF.
• Cincinnati has scored at least 50 points in back-to-back games for the first time in program history.
• Cincinnati has won its last 24 home games and has the second-longest homefield winning streak nationally (Clemson, 31).
• Cincinnati is 37-5 since the start of the 2018 season. The Bearcats are 19-1 all-time as a top-10 team.
• The Bearcats have won nine straight games against American Athletic Conference opponents and are 16-1 against conference opponents since the start of the 2019 season.

EAST CAROLINA
3-3, 1-1 American
@ECUPiratesFB
Last: Lost at UCF, 20-16
Next: Oct. 23 at Houston
American Ranks
Total Offense…………………………..428.7 …………………..6th
Total Defense………………………….459.2 …………………..9th
Scoring Offense ………………………. 29.5 ………………….. 7th
Scoring Defense ………………………28.0 …………………..4th
• East Carolina saw a three-game winning streak come to an end with the loss at UCF.
• Two of the Pirates’ three losses this season have come when the opponent got the winning points in the final 23 seconds (South Carolina, UCF).
• QB Holton Ahlers went 20-for-32 for 208 yards and a touchdown against the Knights.
• RB Keaton Mitchell rushed for 65 yards on 17 carries against UCF, snapping a streak of three consecutive 100-yard games.
• The Pirates had an open date in Week 7 and return to the road Oct. 23 at Houston.

HOUSTON
5-1, 3-0 American
@UHCougarFB
Last: Won at Tulane, 40-22
Next: Oct. 23 vs. East Carolina
American Ranks
Total Offense……………………………381.7 …………………..8th
Total Defense………………………… 264.5 ……………………1st
Scoring Offense ………………………..30.7 …………………..6th
Scoring Defense ……………………….15.2 …………………. 2nd
• QB Clayton Tune passed for 288 yards and three touchdowns against Tulane to lead the Cougars to their fifth consecutive victory.
• RB Alton McCaskill rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries against the Green Wave.
• DT Logan Hall had 3.0 tackles for loss and 2.p0 sacks against Tulane.
• The Cougars have won five straight games for the first time since a five-game winning streak in 2018.
• Houston has outscored its opponents by a 73-7 margin in the first quarter this season.
• The Cougars had an open week before they host East Carolina Oct. 23.

MEMPHIS
4-3, 1-2 American
@TigersAthletics
Last: Beat Navy, 35-17
Next: Oct. 22 at UCF (ESPN2)
American Ranks
Total Offense…………………………..487.3 …………………. 2nd
Total Defense………………………… 426.3 …………………..8th
Scoring Offense ……………………….35.9 …………………..3rd
Scoring Defense ………………………30.4 …………………..5th
• QB Seth Henigan was 8-of-12 for 215 yards and two touchdowns to lead Memphis past Navy.
• WR Calvin Austin III saw a streak of five consecutive 100-yard games end as he had two catches for 20 yards. Austin finished as Memphis’ leading rusher, however, with a 69-yard touchdown run on his only carry.
• Memphis, which has won 20 of its last 21 non-Saturday regular-season games, visits UCF Friday night.
• The Tigers rushed for 200 yards against Navy, turning in their third straight game with at least 150 rushing yards.
• P Joe Doyle averaged 52.5 yards per punt against Navy, marking the third straight game in which he as averaged at least 50 yards per punt.

NAVY
1-5, 1-3 American
@NavyAthletics
Last: Lost at Memphis, 35-17
Next: Oct. 23 vs. Cincinnati (ESPN2)
American Ranks
Total Offense……………………………275.7 ………………….11th
Total Defense………………………….369.7 …………………..3rd
Scoring Offense …………………………17.5 ………………….11th
Scoring Defense ……………………….32.7 ………………….. 7th
• FB Isaac Ruoss had a team-high 75 rushing yards against Memphis, leading a Navy offense that had 198 yards on the ground against the Tigers.
• LB Diego Fagot led the Midshipmen with eight tackles against Memphis. Fagot also had his first interception of the season.
• The Midshipmen have eight rushing touchdowns and two touchdown passes this season.
• Navy’s first points against Memphis came on a 21-play, 75-yard drive that consumed 11 minutes, 50 seconds. It was the longest scoring drive in college football in 2021 in terms of number of plays.
• Navy had possession for 39:19 against the Tigers. Navy’s average time of possession this season is 34:48.

SOUTH FLORIDA
1-5, 0-1 American
@USFFootball
Last: Lost to Tulsa, 32-31
Next: Oct. 23 vs. Temple (ESPN+)
American Ranks
Total Offense…………………………..321.5 …………………10th
Total Defense…………………………502.0 ………………….11th
Scoring Offense ………………………..22.2 …………………10th
Scoring Defense ………………………35.3 …………………10th
• South Florida scored touchdowns on defense and special teams and forced three turnovers, but the Bulls fell to Tulsa on a late touchdown.
• QB Timmy McClain went 10-for-25 for 148 yards and added a rushing touchdown against the Golden Hurricane.
• RB Jaren Mangham had 13 carries for 75 yards and his league-leading 10th rushing touchdown against Tulsa.
• RB Brian Battie scored on a 100-yard kickoff return, becoming the ninth player in American Athletic Conference history to go end zone to end zone on a kickoff return.
• LB Antonio Grier had seven tackles, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown against Tulsa.

SMU
6-0, 1-0 American
@SMU_Football
Last: Won at Navy, 31-24
Next: Oct. 21 vs. Tulane
American Ranks
Total Offense……………………………511.0 ……………………1st
Total Defense………………………….390.7 …………………..6th
Scoring Offense ………………………..40.7 …………………. 2nd
Scoring Defense ……………………….22.2 …………………..3rd
• QB Tanner Mordecai went 30-for-40 for 324 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Mustangs in the win at Navy.
• SMU overcame a 21-7 second-quarter deficit against Navy, marking the Mustangs’ largest deficit overcome since a 21-point comeback against Tulsa in 2019.
• Mordecai improved his season total to 26 touchdown passes, the most of any FBS player this season.
• WR Reggie Roberson Jr. had five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown against Navy, turning in his 10th career 100-yard game.
• SMU is 6-0 for the second time in three seasons. The Mustangs started 8-0 in 2019.
• The Mustangs have clinched bowl eligibility for the third consecutive season.

TEMPLE
3-3, 1-1 American
@Temple_FB
Last: Lost at Cincinnati, 52-3
Next: Oct. 23 at South Florida
American Ranks
Total Offense………………………….343.0 …………………..9th
Total Defense………………………….354.7 …………………..3rd
Scoring Offense ………………………. 23.3 …………………..9th
Scoring Defense ………………………33.8 …………………..9th
• Temple was limited to 234 yards of offense as the Owls were undone in part by three turnovers in the loss at No. 5 Cincinnati.
• QB D’Wan Mathis threw for 120 yards as he completed 16 of 27 passes. Mathis was sacked five times.
• S Amir Tyler had a team-high 11 tackles with one tackle for loss agianst the Bearcats.
• K Rory Bell provided Temple’s only points against Cincinnati with a 55-yard field goal. The kick marked the third-longest field goal in American Athletic Conference history and was one yard shy of matching the league record.
• Temple had an open week before the Owls visit South Florida Oct. 23.

TULANE
1-5, 0-2 American
@GreenWaveFB
Last: Lost to Houston, 40-22
Next: Oct. 21 at SMU
American Ranks
Total Offense…………………………..398.7 ………………….. 7th
Total Defense………………………….474.2 …………………10th
Scoring Offense ……………………….32.8 …………………..5th
Scoring Defense ………………………40.2 ………………….11th
• QB Michael Pratt threw for 214 yards and two touchdowns, but was sacked eight times in the loss to Houston.
• Tulane held a 22-17 lead against Houston, but the Cougars answered by scoring the final 23 points of the game.
• Pratt has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 16 consecutive games. He has 33 career touchdown passes only six games into his sophomore season.
• LB Macon Clark had a game-high 10 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and a sack against Houston.
• The Green Wave looks to snap a four-game slide when Tulane returns to action Oct. 21 at SMU.

TULSA
3-4, 2-1 American
@TulsaFootball
Last: Won at South Florida, 32-31
Next: Oct. 29 vs. Navy
American Ranks
Total Offense………………………….. 457.3 …………………..3rd
Total Defense…………………………409.4 ………………….. 7th
Scoring Offense ………………………..25.4 …………………..8th
Scoring Defense ……………………… 32.4 ………………….. 7th
• RB Shamari Brooks rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown, while RB Deneric Prince had 110 yards and a TD to lead the Golden Hurricane past South Florida.
• Tulsa held the lead against South Florida for 47 seconds. The Golden Hurriane overcame a 24-10 deficit and scored the game’s final 12 points.
• Tulsa has won back-to-back games for the first time this season.
• QB Davis Brin went 22-for-39 for 266 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions.
• Tulsa finished with 535 yards of total offense against the Bulls.

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