The Temple Owls (2-3, 0-2 5th Place AAC East) continue conference play on the road against the ECU Pirates (1-4, 1-1, 3rd Place).
TEMPLE – ECU SERIES HISTORY:
The series is dead even at seven apiece with the * that ECU forfeited a 1986 W for an ineligible player. Last year the Owls, for the second year in a row, hoisted the AAC East Championship trophy, after a season ending 37-10 win at the Linc. It was the third win in a row for Temple over ECU.
LAST TIME OUTS:
Temple is coming off their, second conference loss, albeit a much closer one than their previous season losses, at 20-13 to the Houston Cougars. There were positive signs late in this game as they shut out Houston after an early 3rd period touchdown, and also seemed to find some semblance of a running attack on offense.
The Pirates, as have every other opponent, was beaten by No. 18 USF Bulls last weekend 61-31.
The AAC 8th ranked offense is led by dual threat GS QB Thomas Sirk. Not only has he thrown for 282.2 YPG, 87/151, with 6 TDs and 6 Ints, he is the team’s leading rusher with 159 net yards on 43 rushes, and 2 TDs. They tend to spread the ball around, but their leading RB is GS Tyshon Dye who has gained 136 yds on 34 carries, but has yet to score.
Sirk’s top target is GS Davon Grayson who has amassed 495 yds, on 29 catches, with 5 TDs.
ECU’s main problem is that they give up a lot of points. They are next to last (11/12) in AAC scoring defense, giving up 322 total points, 40.2 per game. Even in their only season win over UConn, they gave up 38 points, scoring 41.
As noted above last week something clicked in the rushing game. Considering they were at -8 yards the first half, the eventual total of 142 yards on 27 attempts was not bad. RB’s Ryquell Armstead and David Hood ran for 63 and 53 yds respectively.
As for the passing game QB Logan Marchi is still a question mark in most observer’s minds, and continues to make bad decisions throwing the ball. That is especially seen when he tries to deliver balls to well covered receivers, leading to 3 interceptions in each of the last two games, a few on deflections. Many are calling for the redshirt FR Anthony Russo. A loss in this one and they may get their way.
Another bright spot last week were the career best tackle totals by SO LB William Kwenkeu and redshirt SR DB Mike Jones with seven and six, respectively, which led the team.
The Pirates will try to use last year’s season ending loss as some kind of motivation, and Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium can be a tough place to play. Temple also in the past has had problems with mobile QB’s.
On the other side of the coin, if they want to keep their Bowl game streak alive, this is the kind of game the Owls must win in the tough AAC conference, and their defense is starting to show promise, if not “Mayhem” at this point.
I see Temple continuing the trend of scoring on this ECU defense, honing the running game. If Marchi can learn from the last two game films, and keep his mistakes to the minimum, this should be a Temple 35-24 win.
TV: ESPNU PBP Mike Couzens, Analyst John Congemi,
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic PBP Harry Donahue, Analyst Paul Palmer, Sideline Colin Thompson
Live Stats: www.sidearmstats.com/ECU/football