Around the AAC: Ups and downs conclude non-conference play
With the third week of the 2022 college football season officially concluded and conference play on its way, it’s time to take a look at how the American Athletic Conference fared in its final week of non-conference matchups.
South Florida at No. 18 Florida
South Florida and No. 18 Florida faced off in an in-state battle that resulted in a 31-28 win for the Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.
Florida jumped out to a double-digit lead in the second quarter and went into the halftime break leading 24-13 over South Florida, but the Bulls made a comeback charge after scoring 15 unanswered points in the second half.
After a go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter put South Florida up 28-24, and was the Bulls first lead of the game.
Late in the fourth, the Gators answered to retake the lead at 31-28 with just over five minutes to play.
South Florida had a chance to tie the game again with a late field goal, but the kick was no good and Florida snuck out with a narrow win.
Cincinnati at Miami (Ohio)
Cincinnati came away with a win to bring its record above .500 after defeating Miami (Ohio) 38-17 in another in-state matchup seen in the AAC.
The game started off close with the Redhawks leading after the first quarter by just a field goal, but it didn’t take long for the Bearcats to find their rhythm after.
A big second-quarter surge saw Cincinnati outscoring Miami 17-7 and the Bearcats found themselves going into the halftime break with a 24-17 lead.
The second half was all Cincinnati, as the Bearcats kept their foot on the gas and tacked on another pair of touchdowns to cruise to a 38-17 victory and secure a win in the Battle for the Victory Bell.
Cincinnati put up 478 total yards from scrimmage to the Redhawks’ 183 by the end of the contest.
Temple vs. Rutgers
Temple and Rutgers engaged in a low-scoring affair that ended with the Scarlet Knights on top after a 16-14 win in Philadelphia.
The Owls struck first late in the first quarter with a touchdown to go up 7-0, and the Scarlet Knights answered with a field goal soon after to make it a 7-3 game going into the second
The Rutgers field goal was the beginning of what turned into 16 unanswered points for the Scarlet Knights and the Owls found themselves in a 16-7 hole early in the fourth quarter.
A quick touchdown by Temple early in the final period gave the Owls some light, but Rutgers stood tall defensively and hung on for the remainder of the game to secure the win on the day.
The Scarlet Knights only managed 59 total passing yards and barely broke 200 total yards from scrimmage but still came away with the win.
Tulane at Kansas State
Tulane took on Kansas State in another low-scoring match that resulted in another win for an AAC team after the Green Wave defeated the Wildcats 17-10 in Manhattan, Kansas.
Tulane got on the board first late in the first quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run by junior running back Tyjae Spears to cap off a nine-play, 91-yard drive to go up 7-0.
The second quarter was all Kansas State, with the Wildcats answering the early Tulane score with a touchdown and a field goal of their own to make it ten unanswered points to go into the halftime break up 10-7.
A field goal halfway through the third quarter by the Green Wave tied things up at ten a piece, and a late fourth quarter touchdown gave Tulane its first lead since the first quarter.
The Wildcats were unable to come up with the tying score and the Green Wave came away with their third win of the season and remain undefeated through three weeks of play.
East Carolina vs. Campbell
East Carolina took on Campbell and came away with a dominating 49-10 win at home to get win number two on the season.
The game was a back-and-forth battle early, with the Fighting Camels splitting the uprights for a field goal on the opening drive and the Pirates scoring a touchdown on the next drive, which Campbell then answered on the drive after that.
The action-packed quarter ended with the Fighting Camels up 10-7, but this would be their last.
East Carolina quickly scored a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter to go into the halftime break up 21-10.
The onslaught continued into the third quarter, with the Pirates taking on another three touchdowns to increase the lead to 32 points after going up 42-10 and a final touchdown late in the fourth quarter made it 42 unanswered points to close out the 39-point win for East Carolina.
The Pirates now improve to 2-1 on the season.
Tulsa vs. Jacksonville State
Tulsa took on Jacksonville State in what made for another dominating win for an American Athletic Conference team as the Golden Hurricane cruised past the Gamecocks en route to a 51-17 victory.
Tulsa jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead in the first quarter after a touchdown, safety and field goal were scored.
A trio of second-quarter touchdowns increased the Golden Hurricane’s lead to 33 before the Gamecocks made it on the scoreboard with a field goal, making it a 33-3 game with just two minutes to play.
Just 40 seconds later, Tulsa came right back with its fourth touchdown of the quarter and made it a 40-3 game going into the half.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair, but the game was well out of reach and Tulsa blew past Jacksonville State to secure its second win of the season.
Memphis vs. Arkansas State
Memphis took on Arkansas State in another high-scoring matchup that resulted in the Tigers coming away with a big 44-32 win in Memphis, Tennessee.
The game started off with both sides trading blows, with the Red Wolves scoring a touchdown on the opening drive of the game and Memphis quickly answering the drive after and the first quarter ended with the game tied at seven a piece.
The two teams traded touchdowns once more in the second quarter before the cycle was broken by an Arkansas State field goal and the Red Wolves led 17-14.
The Tigers scored another touchdown to make it three in the first half alone and the teams went into the half with Memphis leading 21-17.
After a scoreless third quarter, the silence was broken with another Tiger touchdown to extend the Memphis lead to 28-17, but this score was soon answered again by Arkansas State and a two-point conversion made it a three-point game again.
The Red Wolves held the Tigers to just a field goal after and soon made it a 32-31 ballgame in favor of Arkansas State, meaning Memphis was trailing again for the first time since the opening drive of the game.
With just two minutes to play, the Tigers scored a go-ahead touchdown to retake the lead and tacked on one more late for good measure to walk away with the win.
SMU at Maryland
SMU took on Maryland on the road in a tight 34-27 battle that ended in the Mustangs failing to close out in the fourth quarter after the Terrapins put together a late second-half run.
Maryland got on the board first with a field goal but SMU answered with two of their own to take an early 6-3 lead.
The Mustangs kept the momentum going into the second quarter after scoring a quick touchdown to push the lead to double-digits, but the Terrapins answered with back-to-back touchdowns of their own to take the lead with just under five minutes to play in the half.
Before the two teams entered the break, SMU put together one last scoring drive to make it a 20-17 game in favor of the Mustangs at the half.
Maryland tied things up at 20 a piece and SMU answered by scoring another touchdown to make it a seven-point Mustang lead going into the fourth quarter, but the Terrapins were able to tie the game and eventually take the lead late in the fourth quarter to secure the win on the day and remain undefeated.
UCF at Florida Atlantic
UCF faced off against Florida Atlantic and came away victorious after a dominating 40-14 win over the Owls on the road.
FAU got off to a solid start with a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter to go up 14-7 early, but it was downhill from there.
The Knights proceeded to score nine unanswered points in the second quarter to go into halftime with a 16-14 lead and added another 14 in the third quarter to make it 23 unanswered points and a 30-14 game in favor of UCF.
The fourth quarter was more of the same, with the Knights adding the finishing touches to a dominant performance and finishing the game on 33 unanswered points to cruise past the Owls.