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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Football

Around the AAC: A rough first week for The American


College football has kicked off all across the AAC, officially ringing in the 2022 season. | Jhair Romero/The Cougar

College football has kicked off all across the AAC, officially ringing in the 2022 season. | Jhair Romero/The Cougar

Although UH football won in Week 1 of the 2022 season, many of its fellow American Athletic Conference members were not as successful. With the season officially underway, here is a look at how teams in the AAC fared in Week 1.

UCF vs. South Carolina State

UCF’s 2022 campaign got off to a strong start against South Carolina State, with the Knights dominating the Bulldogs in a 56-10 blowout.

The Knights got to work early in the season opener, jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to three straight scores from senior quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, who found the end zone twice through the air and again on the ground in the first quarter alone.

The onslaught continued through the remainder of the game as UCF went into the halftime break up 28-3 and eventually piled on another 28 points in the second half to cruise to a Week 1 victory over South Carolina State.

Plumlee finished with 308 passing yards and four passing touchdowns while adding another 86 yards rushing and another touchdown on the ground to make it five total touchdowns on the day in his debut.

Temple at Duke

Temple was on the receiving end of a shutout at the hands of the Duke in its season opener, falling 30-0 in what was a disappointing showing from the start.

The Blue Devils jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter and quickly blew the game open in the second with another pair of touchdowns to make it a 24-0 lead by the halftime break.

Both sides went dormant in the second half, but the Blue Devils still managed to come away with a field goal in both the third and fourth quarter to add to their total on the day.

Sophomore quarterback Riley Leonard led the way with 328 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns, capped off by another 64 yards rushing and had more total yards from scrimmage as an individual than the Owls had as a team.

Temple mustered only 179 total yards as a team and had two turnovers to Duke’s zero.

East Carolina vs. No.13 NC State

East Carolina found themselves just short of a Week 1 upset after falling 21-20 against No. 13 NC State despite putting together a comeback effort late in the second half.

ECU struck first to take an early 7-0 lead but quickly fell behind after NC State put together a pair of scores thanks to a touchdown pass by Wolfpack junior quarterback Devin Leary and following it up with a blocked punt that was returned for a score.

After the back-to-back scores, NC State kept its foot on the gas and tacked on seven more thanks to a 24-yard touchdown run from sophomore running back Demie Sumo-Karngbaye and the Wolfpack went into the halftime break up 21-7.

The Pirates began to mount a comeback effort in the second half, a touchdown late in the third quarter brought the game back to one score. Another touchdown with just three minutes to play in the fourth gave ECU a chance to tie, but a missed PAT by sophomore kicker Owen Daffer ultimately handed NC State the game.

No. 23 Cincinnati at No. 19 Arkansas

A Top-25 matchup of Cincinnati and Arkansas saw yet another comeback effort by an AAC team fall short as the Bearcats fell to the Razorbacks 31-24 after trailing 14-0 at halftime.

Cincinnati stopped Arkansas on the game’s opening drive and quickly got to work on offense, driving the ball deep into Razorback territory before the drive was cut short due to an interception thrown by Bearcat senior quarterback Ben Bryant.

Arkansas quickly turned the Cincinnati interception into points and jumped out to a 7-0 lead early.

From here, the Bearcats went dormant. Their remaining drives of the half consisted of two missed field goals, two punts and a fumble, and the Razorbacks cruised into halftime up 14-0.

Cincinnati finally found its way again in the second half and began to mount a comeback effort after scoring touchdowns on their first two drives and a field goal on the third drive of the half. Arkansas managed to score in between the Bearcats, but the game was close again at 21-17.

The Razorbacks were able to open the game up again early in the fourth quarter after scoring 10 unanswered points to push the lead back up to 14. A late touchdown gave the Bearcats hope, but their failure to stop Arkansas from draining the final 5:49 resulted in a hard-fought loss for Cincinnati in Week 1.

 South Florida vs. BYU

South Florida found itself on the receiving end of an opening-day blowout at the hands of BYU, falling 50-21 in what was total domination through its entirety.

The Cougars jumped out to a massive 28-0 lead in the first quarter and kept piling it on in the second quarter to go into the locker room at halftime up 38-7.

Despite returning the second-half kickoff for a touchdown, the second half as a whole was no better for the Bulls as BYU forced a safety on the next South Florida drive and added another touchdown after receiving the ball to make it a 47-14 game.

South Florida mustered another touchdown late in the third quarter but went scoreless in the fourth quarter and opened the season with a sizable loss.

The Cougars put up 573 total yards, made possible by the 312 yards rushing BYU totaled.

Navy vs. Delaware

Navy was unable to best FCS-level Delaware in a low-scoring affair after falling 14-7 in a game where the Midshipmen had 117 more yards from scrimmage than the Blue Hens.

The first score of the game came early after a Navy fumble set Delaware up inside the Midshipmen’s 25-yard line, the turnover was quickly capitalized on after senior quarterback Nolan Henderson threw a 21-yard strike and put the Blue Hens up 7-0.

This was the lone score of the half, and another wouldn’t come again until late in the third quarter when Henderson was able to find the end zone once more on a 51-yard bomb to put Delaware up 14-0.

The first Navy score came with less than 30 seconds to play in the third quarter, but it would be the final score of the game after the two teams traded punts throughout the fourth quarter.

Tulsa at Wyoming

Tulsa came up just short against Wyoming in a double-overtime thriller, falling 40-37 in an offensive battle.

The game was close all the way through, with both sides trading blows throughout the game.

The Cowboys struck first with a touchdown before both sides traded field goals to end the first quarter with Wyoming up 10-3.

Tulsa opened the second quarter with a touchdown and another field goal to eventually take the lead at 13-10, and the teams traded touchdowns in the final minute to make it a 20-17 Tulsa lead at halftime.

The back-and-forth battle continued in the second half as the two teams traded touchdowns once more in the third quarter.

The Golden Hurricane were able to string together back-to-back touchdowns, and the lead was up to the highest it had been all game at 10.

The Cowboys made one final push late in the fourth quarter and managed to tie things up with a big 51-yard touchdown thrown by Wyoming junior quarterback Andrew Peasley with just over six minutes to play.

A defensive stalemate on both fronts forced the game into overtime from here.

Both sides traded field goals once more and forced a second overtime, where the Cowboys were able to win it all with a walk-off field goal after coming up with a massive stop.

Tulane vs. UMass

Tulane came away with a blowout win after defeating UMass 42-10 in front of the home crowd in New Orleans.

The game got off to a slow start with just a lone touchdown scored by the Green Wave in the first quarter, but things quickly got heated up.

The Minutemen opened the second quarter with a touchdown to tie things up at 7-7 before giving up 14 unanswered points by Tulane to break the game open.

A field goal with just eight seconds in the half by UMass made it a 21-10 game in favor of the Green Wave going into the half.

Tulane cruised to victory from here, scoring another 21 unanswered in the third quarter and holding the Minutemen scoreless in the half.

Memphis at Mississippi State

Memphis was routed on the road in Week 1 against Mississippi State after suffering a 49-23 loss at the hands of the Bulldogs.

Mississippi State jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter and kept pressing on the necks of Memphis in the second quarter, adding another pair of touchdowns all while allowing just a field goal to go into the break up 28-3.

The two teams traded blows throughout the second half, but the Tigers failed to cover any ground and were unable to make a dent in the 26-point Bulldog lead.

Mississippi State junior quarterback Will Rodgers had 450 yards passing with five touchdowns en route to the dominating victory over Memphis.

SMU at North Texas

In the final game in the conference, SMU dominated North Texas in a 48-10 blowout to cruise to a Week 1 victory.

The Mustangs jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter before the Mean Green were able to come up with an answer and bring it back to a 14-point game, but it was no match for SMU’s offense and the Mustangs went into halftime with a commanding 31-10 lead.

SMU added another 17 unanswered points in the second half and the Mustangs cruised past the Mean Green to start the season off 1-0.

SMU senior quarterback Tanner Mordecai threw for 432 yards and four touchdowns in the dominating win.

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