American Athletic Conference mid-week football notes, thanks to the AAC…
American Teams Moving The Turnstiles
Through two weeks of the season, several American Athletic Conference schools are seeing impressive, and in some cases unprecedented, numbers at the turnstiles. SMU’s season-opener against Texas Tech produced the Mustangs’ first advance sellout at Gerald J. Ford Stadium as 34,790 were on hand. Cincinnati had a Nippert Stadium record crowd of 36,007 in attendance for its season-opener against Purdue. Louisville has averaged 54,490 for its first two games at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium as the Cardinals have played in front of two of the top five home crowds in school history. Rutgers drew 49,111 for its home-opener against Norfolk State – the 11th largest crowd in High Point Solutions Stadium history. Memphis played its season-opener against Duke at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in front of 44,237 – the Tigers’ largest home crowd since 2009 and the most against a non-SEC opponent since 2005.
Cougars Claw Their Way To First Place
Houston used a touchdown and five field goals to rally for a 22-13 win against Temple in the first American Athletic Conference league game. The Cougars will have sole possession of first place in the standings for about a month as the next league games aren’t until Oct. 5. Houston was led by wide receiver Deontay Greenberry, who had 14 catches for 165 yards against the Owls.
American Players Top NCAA Leaderboard
The 2013 season is only two weeks old, but some American Athletic Conference players find themselves among the NCAA statistical leaders. SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert leads all FBS players in completions (38.0 per game), while Mustangs receiver Darius Joseph leads the nation in receptions (11.5 per game). UConn linebacker Yawin Smallwood leads the nation in tackles (16.0 per game), while Memphis defensive end Martin Ifedi is first in sacks (2.0 per game). Houston kicker Richie Leone has averaged 3.5 field goals per game to sit atop the national leaderboard.
UCF Goes For 3-0 Start At Penn State
UCF has outscored its first two opponents by a combined score of 76-7, but the Knights expect to find a stronger challenge Saturday when they visit Penn State (6 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network). It’s the second of back-to-back road games in decidedly different venues for the Knights, who beat Florida International in the second-smallest FBS stadium (20,000 seats) last week, but head to the nation’s second-largest stadium this week (106,572).
Cardinals Go For Third Straight Governor’s Cup Victory
Louisville also is off to a 2-0 start in emphatic fashion as the Cardinals opened with a 49-7 win against Ohio and a 44-7 decision against Eastern Kentucky. The Cardinals make the short road trip to Lexington Saturday to face Kentucky in the annual Governor’s Cup matchup (1 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Louisville has moved up to No. 7 in the national rankings, thanks in large part to the play of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater has completed 76.7 percent of his passes this season (46 of 60) for 752 yards and nine touchdowns with just one interception.