American Week Nine Preview
No. 23 UCF (5-1, 2-0 AAC) returns home following a road win over Louisville to face Connecticut (0-6, 0-2 AAC). The Knights won their fourth road game of the season, upsetting the undefeated Cardinals and moving to the top of the American standings. UCF rallied from a 28-7 third quarter deficit behind two touchdowns from running back Storm Johnson and a game-winning touchdown pass from Blake Bortles to Jeff Godfrey in the final minute. The newly-ranked Knights play UConn for the first time in school history. The Huskies dropped their sixth-straight game to start the season, falling 41-16 at Cincinnati.
No. 20 Louisville (6-1, 2-1 AAC) travels to Tampa to face South Florida (2-4, 2-0 AAC). The Bulls have rebounded from a 0-4 start to the season to open up American play with two-straight wins over Cincinnati and Connecticut, currently sitting ahead of Louisville in the conference standings after its home loss to UCF. Despite giving up 38 points to the Knights, the Louisville defense still ranks second nationally in points allowed at 11.7 points per game. QB Teddy Bridgewater tossed for 341 yards and two touchdowns in the setback.
Rutgers (4-2, 1-1 AAC) hosts Houston (5-1, 2-0 AAC) for the first time in school history. The Cougars suffered their first defeat last weekend, falling 47-46 in a thriller versus BYU. Freshman QB John O’Korn tossed for a career-high 363 yards and three touchdowns, including 186 passing yards to junior wideout Daniel Spencer. Rutgers sat idle in week eight after a 24-10 road defeat against Louisville. The Scarlet Knights open up a stretch of three-straight home games against conference foes.
Temple (1-6, 0-3 AAC) and SMU (2-4, 1-1 AAC) meet on the gridiron for the first time since the 1940s. The teams met up in 1942 and 1946 with each game resulting in ties by the scores of 6-6 and 7-7, respectively. Overtime rules have changed since then, ensuring a winner will be crowned this season. The Owls earned their first win of the season last weekend, defeating Army 33-14, while SMU snapped a three-game skid with a 34-29 win at Memphis.