Last week, the Owls suffered a heartbreaking loss to the University of Central Florida. Temple hung with the #12 team in the nation for the majority of the game, but a lack of offense in the second half stalled the team’s chances at an upset.
Now, the Owls will turn their attention to another AAC rival in Houston. The Cougars are coming off of a head-scratching loss against SMU dropping their record to 7-2. Houston now leads the AAC West by just one game and is desperate for a win to stay atop the standings.
The Cougars are lead by dual-threat quarterback D’Eriq King. The junior ranks 4th in the nation at passing touchdowns, 12th in passing yards, and 1st in points responsible for per game. King had even been considered a Heisman candidate for the period of the year.
King’s performance has catapulted the Cougars to the 4th ranked offense in the country, only topped by Alabama, Oklahoma and UCF.
If Houston does have a weakness, it lies with their defense. Led by future top-10 pick and Heisman hopeful, Ed Oliver, the Cougars have struggled on the defensive side of the ball. They rank 120th in the nation defensively giving up a whooping 484 yards per game.
Still, with a player of Oliver’s caliber on the other side of the ball, the Owls know to be on high alert.
“Ed Oliver, is obviously one of the best players in the country,” said Temple starting quarterterback Anthony Russo, “He’s going to be a big test for us.”
Fortunately for the Owls, their offensive line has been playing at an elite level. The group is currently tied for 20th in the country in sacks allowed averaging just 1.22 a game.
The protection from the offensive line has allowed Russo to grow comfortable within the offense, and it is showing. In his limited time as a starter, Russo is already 2nd in Temple history in 4-TD games, 4th in 3-TD games, 5th in 250-yard games and 5th in 300-yard games.
Expect the Owls to lean on Russo’s arm against Houston’s passing defense, which is ranked last in the nation.
The game is set to kick off from Lincoln Financial Field at 7 PM on Saturday and will be broadcasted on CBSS. You can also listen in to WHIP Student Radio accessible through the iHeart Radio app and listen to the SportsDesk’s very own Vince Coll analyze the game.