D-Men Matakevich and Ioannidis Celebrate (USA Today Images)
For the 1st time as a ranked team since 1980, but also the 1st as underdogs since the Penn State game, the Temple Owls (6-0,3-0) travel to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC (50,000) to try to keep their lead in the American Athletic Conference when they face the East Carolina Pirates (4-3,2-1).
The Owls are coming off another win after a slow start, beating themselves more than the UCF Knights over matched offense and defense finally pulling away to win, 30-10. See my wrap-up here. The Pirates are also coming off a home conference win over Tulsa 30-17.
East Carolina is led by Blake Kemp who has thrown for 10 TDs and over 1,500 yards, but also 6 ints. They also use a more run oriented QB in James Summers (354 yards rushing, 6.7 avg., 6 TDs, 30-44 passing, 417 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT), and they are not afraid to use them both to keep the opponent guessing. Temple must be careful not to get off to another slow and sloppy start like last week because the Pirates are 3-0 @ home and have won 26 straight when leading @ 1/2 time. Coach Matt Rhule‘s job is to keep the team focused and not worry about what is being said about those starts “Our kids are listening too much of that out there,” Rhule said. “We scored on our first drive [Saturday] and had 14 first-half points and if we don’t fumble the ball, the game is probably over early.”
Led by Elizabeth NJ HS teammates P. J. Walker and Jahad Thomas on offense and All Everything LB Tyler Matakevich and DL Matt Ioannidis on defense, Temple has a Prime Time chance on Thursday to show the country that they deserve their top 25 ranking by getting a win of any kind against a good opponent away from home. Said Matakevich “People have been asking us about Notre Dame and all that stuff, but you’ve just got to shrug it off. You’ve just got to focus on ECU. That’s the only thing I’m focused on and I know all these guys are, too….The only thing we care about is East Carolina…. Don’t worry about anything else but this game.’”
Win and Temple goes 7-0 for the 1st time in their history, as well as their 1st 4-0 road start
Temple’s rush defense is 8th in the nation for scoring w/ 14.7 PPG.
East Carolina is 12th in 3rd down conversion rate (47.7%)
Last year the Pirates were in almost the same position as Temple, coming to the Linc ranked #21/19, but Temple upset them lowering their bowl aspirations, 20-10. Temple had 11 TFLs and 4 sacks that game.
TEMPLE-EAST CAROLINA KICKOFF INFO
Date: October 22, 2015 Kickoff: 7:00 PM Stadium: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC (50,000)
Ray Bentley ………Color Analyst
Radio 97.5 The Fanatic
Paul Palmer ………Color Analyst
Harry Mayes ……………Sidelines