ucf beats smu

What We Learned: The American, Championship Edition

With a Louisville overtime win over Cincinnati on Thursday, UCF had clinched the American conference crown before even playing their game against SMU. However, the Knights overcame the bitter cold and the Mustangs in Dallas anyway on Saturday to win the conference outright. Ultimately, half of the AAC qualified for a bowl game with Rutgers' win over South Florida.

#16 UCF 17, SMU 13: UCF had a miserable first half in a cold and a literally almost empty stadium and found themselves trailing SMU 10-3 at halftime in a game they didn't have to win. UCF quarterback Blake Bortles led the Knights back with two third quarter touchdowns on rushing plays. SMU quarterback Neal Burcham had a solid game, arguably his best since being forced into action by Garrett Gilbert's injury. Burcham finished with 222 yards passing and a touchdown. SMU was knocked out of a bowl game with the loss while UCF will be headed to the BCS.

#19 Louisville 31, Cincinnati 24, OT: Louisville needed overtime to defeat Cincinnati for the Keg of Nails and assured that UCF would win the American conference when they took down the Bearcats. Quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater for Louisville and Brendon Kay for Cincinnati both had two-touchdown quarters in the game to make it a back and forth affair. Kay's two rushing touchdowns helped the Bearcats take a lead into the halftime break, while Bridgewater's passing touchdowns in the fourth quarter pushed the game toward overtime. It was all Dominique Brown for the Cardinals in overtime. Brown rushed five times for 25 yards and a touchdown. Cincinnati was unable to complete a pass and turned the ball over on downs to end the game.

UConn 45, Memphis: 10: Memphis took the lead in the game on a field goal in the first quarter and then it went all downhill from there. UConn's passing game, led by Casey Cochran, picked apart the Tigers' defense for 31 consecutive points and the rout was on. Cochran finished with 461 yards passing and four touchdowns. The Huskies ended the season with a three game win streak after nine straight losses to open the season. The freshman Cochran was a big part of the turnaround with eight touchdowns over that span. In a season of close losses, Memphis might have ran out of gas in the final game of the year.

Rutgers 31, USF 6: Rutgers needed a win against the Bulls to become bowl eligible for the eighth time in the last nine years. The Scarlet Knights got off to a quick start with a pair of first quarter touchdowns. After leading 21-6 at the break, Rutgers padded the lead with 10 fourth quarter points to send USF to their sixth straight loss. Chas Dodd was very efficient for the Scarlet Knights, finishing 19-of-24 passing for 179 yards and two touchdowns. Paul James had a pair of rushing touchdowns for Rutgers and 113 rush yards on 26 yards. South Florida was completely unable to rush the ball, finishing with just 10 yards on the ground. The passing game was under 50 percent completions on the day for South Florida as well in an effort which never threatened Rutgers.

Player of the Week: Casey Cochran, QB, UConn: Cochran was 36-of-54 passing for 461 yards and four touchdowns in the blowout victory over the Memphis Tigers.