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The Morning After: Bearcats Collapse in Second Half

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The Bearcats hung with Temple for 30 minutes but then completely fell apart after halftime.

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Temple Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

At halftime of yesterday’s game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Temple Owls, UC was right in the thick of things. Thanks to two touchdown passes from Gunner Kiel, the Bearcats trailed just 17-13 at the break.

Fast forward to the final whistle and the Bearcats were on the wrong end of a 34-13 loss. That was the result of a futile attempt to get anything going offensively in the final 30 minutes. After amassing 180 yards in the first half, the Bearcats didn’t have a drive last longer than five in the second half and finished with 186 total yards.

Kiel completed 15-of-27 pass attempts for only 119 yards and the two scores, while Nate Cole led the team with five receptions for 32 yards. Devin Gray grabbed both touchdown passes, but had only 23 yards total. And he was the second-leading receiver. It marked the first time this season that a UC receiver did not garner at least 70 yards through the air

As mentioned in our game preview, slowing down the run on defense was a major key. Temple got the message, holding UC to 67 yards rushing, but UC did not. Temple pounded out 275 yards on 60 carries. Jahad Thomas (151 yards) and Ryquell Armstead (61 yards, 2 TDs) were expectantly the most lethal ball carriers.

So what have we learned? A couple things actually. First, Temple is very good and will be having a say in the American Athletic Conference title chase. As for UC, the offense may not be as alive as previously thought and the reprieve of the East Carolina win is long gone.

UC, now 4-4 overall and just 1-4 in AAC play, will be back in action next Saturday afternoon at Nippert Stadium against the BYU Cougars.

On the bright side, basketball season starts soon.

The Rest of the AAC

USF 52 No. 22 Navy 45

Quinton Flowers threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns and added 176 yards and two more scores on the ground as the Bulls (7-2, 4-1 AAC) bounced back with a major victory over the previously unbeaten (in league play) Navy Midshipmen (5-2, 4-1).

Houston 31 UCF 24

Another upset appeared to be on the docket for Houston, which trailed 21-3 at halftime at home against UCF (4-4, 2-2). But Greg Ward Jr. turned into 2015 Greg Ward Jr. in the second half, rushing for a pair of touchdowns and throwing for another one as Houston (7-2, 4-2) rallied for a 31-24 victory.

East Carolina 41 UConn 3

Zay Jones hauled in 19 receptions for 185 yards and a touchdown. Just another day at the office for the ECU (3-5, 1-3) pass-catcher, who now trails only former teammate Justin Hardy for the most receptions in NCAA history. Hardy had 387 with the Pirates and Hardy now has 355.

Oh, and UConn (3-6, 1-5) was in attendance.

SMU 35 Tulane 31

SMU (4-4, 2-2) ruined Tulane’s weekend at home, with Braeden West scoring on a pair of one-yard touchdown runs in the final seven minutes to complete a comeback from a 10-point deficit. West rushed for 119 yards on 22 carries and James Proche had 164 yards and two scores on six catches. The loss ruined Dontrell Hilliard’s solid game (146 total yards, TD) for the Green Wave (3-5, 0-4).

Tulsa 59 Memphis 30

The Golden Hurricane might just be legit. For the second-straight week, Tulsa (6-2, 3-1) hung up a 50-burger on an opponent and is now firmly in second place behind Navy in the AAC West Division standings. James Flanders was ridiculous in the win, rushing for five touchdowns and 249 yards on 33 carries. Spoiler alert: he’ll be getting my vote for player of the week in this week’s edition of the Underdogs Poll.

As for Memphis (5-3, 202), it has lost back-to-back games and is sliding backward in the AAC standings.