The Owls (2-2) are heading home for a week 5 matchup to continue their conference play against the Houston Cougars (2-1) this Saturday afternoon.
Temple looks to regain some footing and get back on track after falling short in all aspects last week at conference rival USF. Getting shutout offensively, their only points came from a strip sack fumble recovery taken 44 yards to the endzone by senior DL Jacob Martin.
“Our motto is to go 1-0 every week. We’re on a long week so we watch film Friday and Saturday to make or corrections. Now, we’re back on it, that film is done, yeah you let it hurt for a little while but after 24 hours you just keep pushing to the next week,” Martin said.
Since the beginning of the season, there were questions as to who would start at QB. And here we sit week 5 with the same question recurring. Sophomore Logan Marchi started strong during the first three weeks as the Owls started off the 2017 season 2-1. However, Marchi struggled against on Thursday at USF and was benched following his third interception. Senior Frank Nutile replaced Marchi and went 4-12 with an INT. It is anybody’s guess will be under center on Saturday when the Owls play the Cougars.
Coach Collins is the message relayer who knows what quarterback will get his number called first at Houston, but he isn’t too keen on giving hints as to who.
“They’re all our quarterbacks, I know there’s a story there and I know people are trying to get a story and I appreciate it because people care,” Collins said. “These guys are young guys getting a lot of reps right now and they’re trying as hard as they can to be the best possible quarterbacks that they can be.”
The Owls receiving core struggled last week due to the inconsistencies at QB. The group managed just 7 receptions for 89 yards, one-third of the yardage from senior Adonis Jennings, who tallied up 33 yards on only 2 catches. Hopefully, the QB Coach Collins decides to go with, will be able to get the receivers back in action and much more involved this week.
As for the run game, any positive yards will be an improvement from last week after accruing -4 yards. Starting junior RB Ryquell Armstead carried 11 times only for 3 yards. Majority of the negative rushing yards came from the 3 QB’s trying to scramble away from defenders. Nonetheless, if the Owls want to get back on track, it has to start with the run game, finding their identity any way they can.
Houston is coming off a tough home loss to Texas Tech that broke the nation’s longest active home winning streak at 16 games. The Cougars lost the game 27-24 as their only loss of the season. Their wins came from defeats of Arizona (19-16) and Rice (38-3).
Leading the way offensively for the Cougars is junior QB Kyle Allen, who is off to an impressive start. Allen has completed 80 of 104 passing attempts (76.9%) totaling 751 yards for 4 TD’s and 4 INT’s. Allen transferred to Houston after two seasons with the Texas A&M Aggies, where he put up some impressive numbers in the SEC. Due to NCAA rules, he had to sit out last season, making this season his first starting for the Cougars.
They also like to use senior QB Kyle Postma at times. Postma is a dual threat out, able to pass the ball so far on the season for 145 yards. Last week against Texas A&M he went 8-13 for 100 yards passing and rushing 4 times for 52 yards and a TD.
Splitting the backfield for Houston, is senior Captain RB Dillon Birden, and junior RB Duke Catalon. Birden has 22 rush attempts on the season for 111 yards and 2 TD’s to go along with 4 catches for 35 yards. Catalon has seen 38 touches totaling 150 yards and 1 TD along with 5 catches for 30 yards and 1 TD. With both of these players being dual threats out of the backfield, Temple’s front 7 must be ready for the task.
“They have some great dynamic players and playmakers. They have some some running backs who run hard and tough offensive linemen up front so we’re looking forward to the challenge, we’re hungry,” said senior DL Jacob Martin.
Catching the ball for Houston is senior Captain WR Steven Dunbar. On the season so far, Dunbar has 18 catches for 212 yards. He is coming off his best season where he tallied 692 yards and 5 TD’s. Also making plays is senior WR Linell Bonner who has 26 catches totaling 257 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Defensively, senior Captain LB Matthew Adams leads the way with 34 tackles on the season with one pass defended. He is ranked 10th nationally and leads the conference with 11.3 tackles per game.
On the defensive line, Ed Oliver earned first-team All-America honors and was named The American’s Rookie of
the Year after totaling 23 tackles for loss which was second in the country. Oliver is second nationally with two forced fumbles and third nationally with an average of of 7.3 tackles per game.
The last time these two teams met was in the first AAC Championship game in 2015 where the Cougars won that battle 24-13.
Both teams look to get back in the win column this week as they square off. Gametime is set for 12:00PM from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. The game will be broadcasted live on ESPNU and you can listen in on 97.5 The Fanatic.
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