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AAC Notebook: O'Korn emerging as freshman phenom

The SportsXchange

John O'Korn has very little shot at making the All-AAC First Team at quarterback. But maybe he should be a more serious candidate, and these next two games will give him, and his team, the chance to make their claim to national attention.

O'Korn had another outstanding game against South Florida, as the Cougars remained unbeaten in league play. He finished 22-of-27 for 273 yards, and threw three touchdowns. That's the third game in a row O'Korn has had at least three touchdown passes, and his 22 passing touchdowns lead all freshmen.

"O'Korn is not your typical freshman," said sophomore wide receiver Deontay Greenberry, who catches most of O'Korn's passes. "He is going to make his mistakes, but he corrects them. He rarely makes the same mistake twice."

But while Houston remains unbeaten in league play, the Cougars next play the three teams in best position to knock them off, starting with the only other unbeaten.

Houston plays Central Florida in Orlando this Saturday, then follows that with a trip to Louisville. It follows by hosting Cincinnati and then closes against SMU.

It's a positive sign for the future of the ACC that the Cougars and the Knights will be playing for such high stakes. Since much of the attention with the league has been the nature of its formation, which saw everyone in the former Big East who could find another home do so and leave a league filled with those teams not taken by bigger leagues and others looking up for mid-majors, securing the long-term viability of the conference is critical. Central Florida and Houston are both planning to stick around for a while, unlike short-timers Louisville and Rutgers.

But the Cougars take their high-powered offense, which has scored in every quarter this season, to take on a Knights defense that ranks 20th in the NCAA, and then face a Louisville squad that's second in the country and holds opponents to fewer than 250 yards a game. If O'Korn can play as well against those teams as it's done so far, he'll deserve to see his name mentioned along with the elite signal-callers in the country.

FIVE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 10 IN THE AAC

1. South Florida might be looking for a new air carrier. Mechanical problems caused the Bulls to spend seven hours on the tarmac before being able to fly home from Houston after their loss on Thursday.

2. On the other hand, South Florida will definitely not be looking for a new kicker. Marvin Kloss made all three of his attempts, including a 50-yarder and a 49-yarder, to extend his streak to 13 makes in a row.

3. If UCF can slow down the Houston scoring attack, it'll be the first team all season to do so. The Cougars have scored in every quarter this season, the only team in Division I to do so.

4. Welcome back, Bobby McCain. He came back after being sidelined by injury for the last two games, and made his presence felt by picking off a pass. "It felt really good. I've been training the past few weeks and working on recovering with our trainers. So, it felt really good to be back," McCain said.

5. Who knew who Ruhann Peele was before this week? The answer: a backup wide receiver for Rutgers. But he was switched to cornerback in practice because of the team's lack of depth there, and found himself on the field for Temple's final drive -- where he forced a fumble and recovered it to seal the Scarlet Knights' win.
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