UCF Seizes American Title Share
No. 19 Central Florida secured at least a share of the inaugural American Athletic Conference championship with a 23-20 victory over in-state rivals South Florida in Orlando Friday night.
The Knights, who have sat pretty at the top of the conference since upsetting conference favorite Louisville on the road back in October, are now one step away from locking up the title outright. A victory over Southern Methodist next Saturday would ensure that.
George O’Leary’s side didn’t have it easy Friday night though.
The Knights turned the ball over five times, matching a season-high tallied in a loss to South Carolina on September 28, UCF’s only loss of the season. The team managed to get around the turnovers though.
Quarterback Blake Bortles completed 17 of 26 passes for 219 yards. He counterbalanced a pair of interceptions with a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winner, a 52-yard effort to Breshard Perriman late in the fourth quarter. William Stanback caught six balls for 69 yards and rushed for another 33 yards.
The Bulls hung in there all the way though. Quarterback Mike White threw for 211 yards, including 87 yards to Andre Davis. Marcus Shaw meanwhile ran the ball for 67 yards and a score. But with little between the teams, it was the conference leaders that emerged victorious.
Central Florida’s victory marked the first time the school had defeated South Florida. The Bulls had won all four previous meetings between the sides.
The Knights (10-1, 7-0 American) can now watch this Thursday’s primetime showdown between Louisville (10-1, 6-1 American) and Cincinnati (9-2, 6-1 American) to see which team will at least have a shot at sharing the title if UCF was to slip up next weekend.
Around the Conference
Houston (8-4, 5-3 American) closed out the regular season with a 34-0 shutout of Southern Methodist (5-6, 4-3 American).
The game was over before halftime as the Cougars built a 24-0 lead before cruising the rest of the way. The victory snapped Houston’s three-game losing streak, which will buoy the team as they prepare for a potential Bowl game next month.
Saturday sees Temple (1-10, 0-7 American) play its last game of the season. The Owls will look to avoid a winless year within the conference as they face Memphis (3-7, 1-5 American), another team out of Bowl contention.
Temple Owls vs. Memphis Tigers odds for 11/30/2013
The Tigers are favored at home in this first ever meeting between the schools. Memphis lost to Louisville last weekend, snapping a two-game winning streak, while Temple’s only in of the year came back on October 19.
Saturday’s other American Athletic Conference fixture sees Rutgers (5-5, 2-4 American) visit Connecticut (1-9, 1-5 American).
Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Connecticut Huskies odds for 11/30/2013
The Scarlet Knights can become Bowl eligible with a victory but they’ll need to be wary of a Huskies side that got its first taste of winning a week ago, defeating Temple 28-21 on the road. Rutgers is a road favorite having won six of the last eight games between the schools.
After this weekend is done and dusted, Thursday night sees a showdown between the two preseason favorites within the conference. BettingSports.com will have all of the odds and trends for the Louisville-Cincinnati matchup as they become available.
REMAINING AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
12:00 Rutgers at Connecticut
12:00 Temple at Memphis
7:30 No. 19 Louisville at Cincinnati
Saturday (Dec. 7)
12:00 No. 19 Central Florida at Southern Methodist
1:00 Memphis at Connecticut
7:30 South Florida at Rutgers
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