Temple football just keeps on rolling. After a dominating homecoming victory against Tulane, the Owls now sit at 5-0, and look to match their 2014 win total tomorrow night under the lights, as Temple battles the UCF Knights. While Coach Rhule is 0-2 against the Florida boys during in tenure at Temple, tomorrow’s matchup should rewrite that script. Only two years removed from 1st round QB Blake Bortles being drafted into the NFL, the Knights have faltered in 2015, coming in with an 0-6 record.
No player currently donning the Cherry and White can forget the last two matchups against UCF, and that has shown over social media this week. After UCF tweeted a “reminder” of JJ Warton’s incredible, SC Top 10 catch in Philadelphia two seasons ago, the Owls responded with some fun of their own. Check out the ongoing banter here:
However, that tide is looking to turn this year. After losing two of their first three games by a one-point margin, UFC’s defense has fallen apart. In the last three games, opponents have hung an average of 38 points on the Knights.
The offense is nothing to write home about either. Aside from a 31-point performance against Tulane (who Temple blew out 49-10), the Knights are scoring only 12 points per game. Much of this can be attributed to the turbulence at the quarterback position. Between three signal callers, UCF has totaled 12 INTs and only 9 TDs through their six games.
After Justin Holeman suffered a hand injury early in the season, and returned last week by tossing 3 INTs. Holeman has been named the starter tomorrow night against a Temple D that has tallied 9 INTs this year. The pressure on the young QBs has been a result of UCF’s even more dismal running game, which has gained only 307 yards on the year, with no running back scoring a TD.
One bright spot for the Knights is their receiving core. Freshman D’erren Wilson tore up Tulane for 7 catches, 144 yards and 3 TDs against Tulane Last week against Cincinnati, as Michael Willet and Nick Patti combined for 11 catches, 123 yards and a TD. Temple has shown some vulnerability wideouts this season, as two UMass receivers hauled in 100 yards in Temple’s close victory. However, no receiver has dropped more than 50 yards on the Owls since then.
Teams have torn up the Knights on both sides of the ball thus year, and Temple should be next in line. The Owls’ dynamic offense was on full display last weekend. With the emergence of Ryquell Armstead against Tulane (34 yards, 2 TDs), coupled with the shifty workhorse Jahad Thomas (713 total yards, 9 total TDs on the season), Temple has established a two-headed monster in the backfield that should wreck havoc with UCF. UConn rushed for 205 yards and 4 TDs last week against the Knights. With the Knight’s lackluster defense, coupled with a mistake free P.J. Walker (only one game with an INT), the offense is poised to explode Saturday Night.
Temple is sitting as the #26 team in the country, a position no one expected out of a program that was 2-10 only two years ago. “I want to finish the year in the top 25, make no mistake about it,” Matt Rhule said after the Tulane game. “But right now I really don’t care.” Well Coach, that very well could come to fruition if Temple dominates tomorrow night.
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