The 2013 college football regular season is flying to a close and what we learned after Week 13 in the American is that there will be unfinished business. UCF, unbeaten in AAC play, defeated Louisville earlier this year but avoids red-hot Cincinnati as the Knights look to wrap up the league's first title in the next two weeks. The Bearcats' unconscionable loss to USF at the beginning of league play will haunt them all summer if they are able to top Louisville on December 5.
#18 UCF 41, Rutgers 17: UCF smashed Rutgers to secure their sixth straight victory after a narrow loss to South Carolina. The Knights raced out to a 21-0 lead on two Storm Johnson touchdown runs and a touchdown pass by quarterback Blake Bortles. Rutgers got a rushing touchdown and a blocked punt touchdown in the first half to trim the lead to 28-14 at the break. However, UCF scored 13 straight points in the second half to put the game far out of reach. Bortles finished the game with 335 yards passing, 32 yards rushing and a passing and rushing touchdown. The UCF defense held the Scarlet Knights to 221 yards of offense and just 152 yards passing on 35 percent completions. Rutgers has now lost four of their past five outings and is in danger of missing out on a bowl game if the slide continues.
#21 Louisville 21, Memphis 17: Louisville got another head start in a game via their defense and a little cushion from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater which proved to be enough for a win. The Cardinals were far from impressive on Senior Day and let the Tigers have some hope during a fourth-quarter rally. The Louisville defense used turnovers to stop one promising Memphis drive in the first half before capitalizing on a second for a touchdown. After a Memphis field goal, the Cardinals scored 17 unanswered points in the second and third quarters before Paxton Lynch provided Memphis with two fourth-quarter scores. No matter what it looked like on the field, the Cardinals have to be relieved to win on Senior Day for the first time since 2007. Memphis has two winnable games left this season and could finish with a 4-1 record over their final five games after a 1-6 start.
Cincinnati 24, Houston 17: The Bearcats have now won six games in a row after surviving Houston on the road. All of the points in the game were scored during the second and third quarters and miscues kept the score lower than it could have been. Houston was willing to try anything to snap their recent slide and benched starting quarterback John O'Korn for Greg Ward, Jr. The freshman was unable to provide the spark the Cougars needed to overcome the Brendon Kay show. Kay finished with 386 passing yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions, 38 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Houston as a team only had 278 yards of offense. O'Korn came back in on the final drive but ran out of time for the tying score at the Bearcats' 32-yard line.
SMU 16, USF 6: Seeing this shocking scoreline makes you wonder what happened to the Ponies' offense. The answer is pretty straightforward: the American's most prolific quarterback (and the country's leader in total offense) Garrett Gilbert was injured and a freshman, Neal Burcham, had to lead SMU to the win. Burcham was little used this season prior to replacing Gilbert, but guided the Mustangs to two scoring drives in the second half to give SMU a 16-0 lead that USF would not be able to overcome. USF's only score of the game came on a 50-yard punt return with 2:24 remaining. The Bulls moved the ball a little better on average than a severely slowed down SMU offense but were unable to string plays together into a scoring drive. SMU's hopes for a fifth consecutive bowl berth under June Jones are still alive after a 1-4 start. The Bulls are looking for answers as a fourth straight loss has followed two wins to open AAC play.
UConn 28, Temple 21: UConn has had a forgettable season this year but at least it won't finish winless after the Huskies were able to knock off Temple. The Owls are the only winless team in conference but have made life difficult nearly every week for their opponent despite a 1-10 record. Such was the case again on Saturday as the Huskies had to overcome a 21-0 halftime deficit to win the game. The UConn offense was pretty ineffective (3.9 yards per play) but three Temple turnovers, including the go-ahead score for UConn off of a pick six, helped secure the win. For Temple, it was the sixth time this season it had blown a second-half lead and the fourth time a fourth-quarter lead was surrendered.
Player of the Week: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF. Bortles was 21-of-30 passing for 335 yards and a touchdown in the Knights' big win over Rutgers. Bortles also had 32 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.