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Riley Ferguson throws 7 TDs, Anthony Miller makes school history as Memphis blows away UConn

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Memphis (4-1, 1-1 AAC) quarterback Riley Ferguson tied an American Athletic Conference record with seven touchdown passes thrown in a single game Friday night in a 70-31 road win at UConn (1-4, 0-3 AAC). Tigers wide receiver Anthony Miller had himself a big night to contribute to Ferguson’s success with 15 catches for 224 yards and a school-record four touchdowns.

The record for most touchdown passes in a single game by a player form the AAC was previously set by former Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, who is now in the NFL with the Denver Broncos.

Here’s a look at the touchdown that moved Ferguson into a tie with the former Memphis quarterback…

Miller ended his night with 224 receiving yards and four touchdowns, pretty much doubling his season total coming into the night.

Ferguson completed 34-of-48 pass attempts for 431 yards and the seven touchdowns before finally getting a rest in the fourth quarter as David Moore stepped in to replace him. Memphis accumulated 711 yards of total offense, more than making up for what at times was a rough showing by the Memphis defense. But UConn did themselves no favors with three turnovers and going just 2-for-11 on third down attempts.

Memphis will hope to keep this momentum going next week when they host Navy in what looks to be a pivotal game in the AAC West standings. The Midshipmen are already 3-0 in conference play, while Memphis evened their record against conference opponents after getting rolled over by UCF last week.

Uconn will look to get something on track next week with a road game at Temple.

Big weekend for the AAC and Mountain West Conference

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For a conference trying to sell itself as the nation’s sixth power conference, Week 3 looks to be a pretty big one to do its best to prove it. The American Athletic Conference, which is going all in on its belief it is the sixth power conference and not one of the Group of Five conferences, will play games against the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, and Pac-12 this weekend. And that includes games against four ranked opponents, two of which will be played in an AAC stadium.

It all gets started tonight with preseason favorite South Florida hosting Illinois from the Big Ten. The Bulls are a prohibitive favorite, which comes as no surprise. Quarterback Quinton Flowers could go off against the Illini, who have a record of 2-0 thanks to wins against Ball State and Western Kentucky. With Charlie Strong as head coach, the Bulls have not looked quite as automatic through the first two weeks as many predicted, but this could be their opportunity to put it all together on a national stage.

On Saturday, Memphis will look to score a significant upset at home against No. 25 UCLA. The Bruins are off to a 2-0 start but cross-country trip for a noon eastern kickoff has been known to give a west coast team trouble in the past. If the Tigers can catch the Bruins off to a slumbering start, Memphis may have to hope Josh Rosen and company don’t wake up in the fourth quarter the way they did against Texas A&M. A Memphis win would be key to the AAC as a whole too, as a win against a ranked opponent from a power conference gives the AAC a strength of schedule argument to boost itself up in the long run.

The AAC will have a few other cracks at ranked opponents. The team with the best chance, most likely, to score a win against a ranked team may be SMU. The Mustangs visit rival TCU, ranked 20th in the AP poll and coming off a win on the road against Arkansas. East Carolina hosts No. 16 Virginia Tech, and Tulane visits No. 2 Oklahoma. Either AAC team picking up a win in those games would be a shocker.

One other game against an ACC school was scratched due to Hurricane Irma recovery efforts. UCF, who looked really good in their opener, was to host Georgia Tech. Instead, the Knights will get a week off before returning to action next week on the road against Maryland.

The one game that should probably be the most interesting to watch, however, may take place in Ohio. MAC favorite Toledo is hosting Tulsa in a key Group of 5 vs. Group of 5 matchup. The Rockets have looked good and are a solid favorite, but Tulsa is a team to keep an eye on in the AAC. A year after an undefeated MAC champion grabbed the New Years Six spot in the bowl lineup, the AAC delivering a blow to the preseason MAC favorites could knock the MAC out of contention entirely before even getting to October.

AAC vs. Power 5 In Week 3

  • No. 22 USF vs. Illinois (FRI)
  • Memphis vs. No. 25 UCLA
  • Virginia vs. UConn
  • East Carolina vs. No. 16 Virginia Tech
  • No. 20 TCU vs. SMU
  • No. 2 Oklahoma vs. Tulane

Not to be outdone, the Mountain West Conference has a healthy diet of games against power conference competition this weekend as well. Air Force travels to No. 7 Michigan, Utah State visits Wake Forest, Colorado State is in Tuscaloosa to face No. 1 Alabama, Wyoming is hosting Oregon, Fresno State visits No. 6 Washington, San Jose State visits Utah, and San Diego State hosts No. 19 Stanford. That is seven games against power conference teams, including games against three top 10 teams. Most of those matchups do not appear to give the MWC many favors, although San Diego State hosting Stanford could be interesting.

Before conference play begins in these conferences, this will be the last major opportunities for the AAC and MWC to showcase their stuff in non-conference play. These games could make or break the conference’s chances of getting in the lucrative New Years Six lineup at the end of the year, so neither conference will want to squander their opportunities this weekend.

AAC announced hurricane-related adjustment to league slate

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Several FBS games were affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma the first two weeks of the college football season.  Wednesday, one conference took significant steps to get their games in, although there’s still one left to take.

South Florida’s Week 2 game against UConn was postponed as the Bulls prepared for Irma to hit the Tampa area.  The AAC has now announced that game will be played on Nov. 4, which triggered the adjustment of a handful of other games in the conference involving not only those two schools but Cincinnati, East Carolina and Houston as well.

Below are all of the scheduling changes made by the league in an effort to get all AAC games played this season.

UCONN
UConn will host ECU Sunday, Sept. 24 (replacing an open date) and will host USF Saturday, Nov. 4 (replacing the original date of the ECU game). The game will be played on a Sunday due to the unavailability of Pratt & Whitney Stadium on Saturday.

USF
USF will host Cincinnati Saturday, Oct. 14 (replacing a previously scheduled game against Massachusetts), will host Houston Saturday, Oct. 28 (replacing the original game against Cincinnati), and will play at UConn Saturday, Nov. 4 (replacing the original game against Houston).

CINCINNATI
Cincinnati will play at USF Saturday, Oct. 14 and will have its open date Oct. 28 (replacing an Oct. 14 open date and the game at USF Oct. 28).

ECU
ECU will visit UConn Sunday, Sept. 24 (replacing an open date), will have an open date Saturday, Oct. 28 (replacing a game against Houston), and will play at Houston Saturday, Nov. 4 (replacing the previously scheduled game against UConn).

HOUSTON
Houston will play at USF Saturday, Oct. 28 (instead of Nov. 4) and will host ECU Saturday, Nov. 4 (instead of Oct. 28).

Still left to be rescheduled is the Memphis-UCF game, which was postponed last weekend as well because of Irma.

“I would like to thank our presidents, athletic directors and our head football coaches for their outstanding collaboration and cooperation to resolve this unprecedented situation in as fair a manner as possible,” said commissioner Mike Aresco in a statement. “I would also like to acknowledge and thank Ryan Bamford of UMass for his cooperation and understanding. This was not an easy process, but we feel that this revised schedule is a significant step toward giving us the best opportunity to decide our champion on the field.”

 

ACC shuffles Week 3 schedule without Florida State-Miami; Clemson-Louisville moved to primetime

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The ACC was gearing up for a week that was to star Florida State and Miami in a primetime battle in the sunshine state. However, Hurricane Irma’s path through the state of Florida is causing some more disruption to the college football schedule a week after wiping a handful of games off the calendar. With Florida State and Miami being moved back to October 7, the ACC will now get to take advantage of a prime time vacancy by showcasing the game that should have been there in the first place.

Clemson’s road game at Louisville will now take over the primetime slot for the ACC this week on ABC. The ACC Atlantic Division battle between the reigning national champions and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner (Lamar Jackson) was originally scheduled for 3:30 p.m. This will be just the fourth time in college football history the defending national champs will face the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, and it will be just the third time it has happened in the regular season.

Clemson won last year’s meeting with the Cardinals in Death Valley, and both teams are off to 2-0 starts this season. The matchup will now go head-to-head in the main prime time slot against USC vs. Texas on FOX.

The ACC also shuffled a few other games to adjust their Week 3 schedule as well. Boston College’s home game against Notre Dame will move from a noon kickoff to 3:30 p.m. on ESPN. Pittsburgh’s home game against Oklahoma State will remain at noon but will be bumped to ESPN. Virginia’s home game against UConn will now air on ESPN2, also kicking off at noon.

“I appreciate the cooperation and flexibility by our institutional leadership and television partners in making these changes possible,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford in a released statement.

South Florida at UConn won’t be played this week due to Hurricane Irma

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Add another game to the increasingly long list affected by Hurricane Irma.

South Florida and UConn both announced on Thursday afternoon that the Bulls trip to Storrs on Saturday has been cancelled ahead of the storm and the game will not be played as scheduled.

“As I noted in my comments yesterday, the safety and well-being of our students, staff and coaches is our paramount concern,” USF athletic director Mark Harlan said in a release. “Several large areas of the state are under evacuation orders, including portions of the Tampa Bay area. After consultation with university leadership and outside agencies, I believe it is not appropriate for our team to travel at this time.”

The contest was originally moved up to 10:30 am ET on Saturday in order to allow the Bulls to return home to Tampa before the front was expected to hit the area.  Campus is already closed through at least Sunday but it appears that new tracks for Irma caused plans to change even further.

“I know both our team and USF were excited about a chance to play this weekend,” said UConn head coach Randy Edsall. “We certainly are disappointed, but clearly understand that this is something totally out of everyone’s control. I hope that Coach Strong, his team and the entire community impacted by this storm remain safe and know that we are thinking about them as they deal with this.”

What makes this game slightly different from other cancellations like the Miami-Arkansas State game is that this is a conference contest. An AAC official  told NBC Sports that it is unlikely the game can be rescheduled as the two teams do not share a common bye week but it is “too soon to project what happens the rest of the way.” That indicates some wiggle room for the league and the programs down the road but is certainly a decision that will be made down the road after things calm down in the state of Florida.