Can You say “Trap Game” boys and girls? With a big win behind them over Cincinnati , 34-13, keeping the AAC East lead and becoming bowl eligible, and a bye week looming, the Temple Owls (6-3, 4-1, 1st place AAC East) visit the UConn Huskies ( 3-6, 1-5, 6th place), try to keep focused on the task at hand. UConn comes in losing their last three, including a 41-3 loss last Saturday at East Carolina, but they are 3-2 at home.
Last year Temple won 27-3, clinching the AAC East title, which sent them to the inaugural AAC Championship game, and their first conference championship opportunity since 2009. Temple can duplicate that feat by winning all three remaining games. UConn does have the motivation of doing the same to become bowl eligible. All time Temple has an 11-5 edge, the best against any current conference opponent, and have won four out of the last five.
Though the Huskies offensively have struggled overall, only scoring 18.3 ppg (last in the AAC), they do have SR. WR Noel Thomas (83 receptions, 1,058 yards, 3 TDS), who is ranked fourth nationally in receptions per game with 9.2. His 83 catches are more than half of the 166 thrown by JR. QB Bryant Shirreffs (166-283 passing, 2,010 yards, 7 TDs, 6 INT, 326 yards rushing, 2.3 avg., 2 TDs), who is a threat to pass or run at any time. Their top RB is JR. Arkeel Newsome (528 yards, 4.5 avg., 4 TDs, 18 receptions, 212 yards, 1 TD).
Temple has shown the last few weeks that it wants to run the ball and control time of possession, but the strength of UConn is their run defense, ranked 2nd best in the conference and 26th nationally, only giving up 125.3 yards per game. In their last victory, which came against Cincinnati, they held the Bearcats to 2 yds rushing and 9 points. “We have won games lately because we have been able to run the football,” Temple Head Coach Matt Rhule said. “We have gotten [nearly] 40 minutes in time of possession. That hasn’t been our MO against Connecticut.” Their big play-makers on defense are JR. CB Jamar Summers (44 tackles, 1 INT) who has 10 career interceptions, and red-shirt SR S Obi Melifonwu (74 tackles, 2 INT) who is third in the AAC in tackles per game (8.2).
Fearless Forecast: I see a slow start for Temple as say what they might, they can’t help but fall into the trap of playing a last place team the week before a bye, even as a 10 point favorite. As long as they do not fall into too big a hole, the Owls will eventually pull it out and win going away, 28-10. I will be live tweeting from the couch as @pattisonavenue. Type at you all then.
TV ESPN2 PBP Adam Amin, Analyst Mack Brown, Sideline Molly McGrath
Radio 97.5 The Fanatic PBP Harry Donahue, Analyst Paul Palmer, Sideline Harry Mayes
Student Radio WHIP PBP Greg Frank, Analyst John Cole