Coming off a game that embodied their season slogan “Greatness Doesn’t Quit”, beating the UCF Knights on the last offensive play, 26-25, the Temple Owls (4-3,2-1 AAC East), face another big test hosting the USF Bulls (6-1, 3-0). This game then, is a battle for first place in the AAC East Division. The Bulls last game was a 42-27 victory over Connecticut on 10/15.
Last year USF upset the then # 21 Owls 44-23, for it’s only AAC loss in the regular season. All time the series is tied at 1.
The Bulls are off to a school record tying start, last done in their ’07 and ’08 seasons, and they are ranked just out of the top 25 at #27. They have never gone 7-1. UCF’s only loss was to No. 13 Florida State. USF has a national best and program record streak of scoring at least 35 points in 11 games going back to that win over Temple last year. They also have the most consecutive 200 yard rushing games (12), and 440+ total offense games (11). UCF is ranked 8th in running YPG with 268.4 yds as well as points per game at 44.1 “I think playing USF, for us, beyond everything else, it’s just a chance to play a great football team,” Head Coach Matt Rhule said. “They’re probably the best team we’ve played so far. I’m certain of it. But I will say it’s great to have a game that’s meaningful in October when it matters. That’s exciting for us.”
On offense Temple still has to watch out for the two guys that ran all over them last year, JR.RB Marlon Mack (592 yards rushing, 7.0 avg., 9 TDS) and JR. QB Quinton Flowers (106-181 passing for 1,535 yards, 13 TDs, 5 INT, 655 yards rushing, 7.0 avg., 7 TDs). This season they are second and third in the AAC in rushing YPG at 98.7 and 93.6. Their leading WR is SR. Rodney Adams (32 receptions, 459 yards, 4 TDs, 25.6 kickoff return avg.).
On defense they did give up 55 points to FSU, so they can be scored upon. UCF’s big players to stay away from there are the experienced JR. MLB Auggie Sanches (65 tackles, 8.0 TFL, 6.0 sacks) and SR. LB Nigel Harris (42 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions).
Fearless Forecast: This certainly appears on paper as a game where Temple is somehow going to have to find a way to outscore USF. There are 50 – 60% chances of showers through the evening so that may be a factor. The Owls coming in a 7 point home dog, have some of the pressure taken off of them, and last season they played well in that role, as well as last week. It would be hard to overstate how important a game this is for each team’s program. For the 1st time this season though, I have to pick against the Owls as they have had a hard time stopping mobile QB’s this season, and I think the Flowers and Mack attacks may be too much for Temple this week. USF Bulls 40 – Temple 30.
TV ESPN PBP Adam Amin, Analyst Mack Brown, Sidelines Molly McGrath
Radio 97.5 The Fanatic PBP Harry Donahue, Analyst Paul Palmer, Sidelines Harry Mayes
Student Radio WHIP PBP Greg Frank, Analyst John Cole
Live Stats www.sidearmstats.com/temple/football