Points were the name of the game in Week 9 in the American and lots of them were scored. The four winners in the AAC (Houston, Louisville, SMU and UCF) this week put up an average of 51 points in their games. Three of the games were blowouts while Temple put up a surprising fight in a barnburner against SMU. What did we learn this week? Houston continues to show they mean business in the American after blowing away Rutgers in New Jersey. The league's first title winner could be determined in the next three weeks as the Cougars have to play UCF and Louisville after hosting USF next week.
#20 Louisville 34, USF 3: Teddy Bridgewater missed on just four of his 29 passes while posting 344 yards passing and three touchdowns on the Bulls. Louisville held the ball for over 41 minutes in the victory after their first loss of the season last week. The Cardinals' defense was equally as impressive in holding the South Florida offense under 100 yards passing and under 40 yards rushing in the game. USF only managed 133 yards of offense in the game and needed a 50-yard first quarter field goal to not get shutout. Louisville's 70-yard pick six in the fourth quarter by Charles Gaines would have been enough offense to defeat USF on the day.
#23 UCF 62, UConn 17: Uconn's miserable winless season continued with a massive beatdown by UCF. The game was never close as the Knights led 45-10 at halftime. UCF also never trailed and were led by quarterback Blake Bortles' five total touchdowns. Bortles only missed on four of his 24 pass attempts in the game. UCF improved to 3-0 in AAC play while UConn dropped to 0-3. The Knights have a fortunate schedule break during the upcoming week to prepare to host a red-hot Houston team for first place in the conference. UConn's woes will persist when they host Louisville on Nov. 8.
Houston 49, Rutgers 14: Houston's John O'Korn put up 364 yards passing and five touchdowns (with at least one in each quarter) to lead the Cougars in the impressive win. Rutgers tied the score at 14 all midway through the second quarter before Houston rolled up 35 straight points before the end of the contest. The Scarlet Knights didn't throw a single touchdown pass and combined to throw five interceptions between two quarterbacks and a running back's pass attempts. The Cougars' defense has forced multiple turnovers in 15 straight games.
SMU 59, Temple 49: Garrett Gilbert was a nightmare for the Owls' defense by accounting for 635 of SMU's 728 offensive yards and six touchdowns. The video game statistics existed on the Temple side as well. The Owls rushed for 217 yards and six yards per carry as a team while also racking up five passing touchdowns and 376 yards through the air. The game was tied 35-35 going into the fourth quarter before 17 unanswered points gave the Mustangs the cushion they needed to hold on to the victory. SMU improved to 3-4 (2-1 AAC) on the season while Temple 1-7 (0-4 AAC) was eliminated from bowl contention.
Player of the Week: Garrett Gilbert, QB, SMU: Gilbert helped the Ponies survive the Owls by going 37-of-53 passing for 538 yards and four touchdowns. Gilbert added another two touchdowns and 97 yards on the ground on eight carries.