The Owls (3-3) are coming home this weekend for a Homecoming matinee this Saturday afternoon to take on the UConn Huskies (1-4).
Temple will try to even their conference record with a win against their intra-divisional opponent this week who has had struggles throughout the season.
The Owls are fresh off their 34-10 victory down at East Carolina, where they made enormous strides as a team.
The team registered season highs in both points (34) and total yards (523). They entered the game with only one rushing touchdown in 5 games, and scored 2 against the Pirates defense.
RB David Hood had a career day rushing the football with 106 yards and a touchdown. QB Logan Marchi had a career day as well throwing 321 yards and 2 touchdowns from 5 and 32 yards out, completing 19-32 passes.
The offensive outburst last week, put the Owls 11th in the conference in total offense and 10th in the conference in scoring offense. A step up from their rankings last week for sure: dead last in both.
“[Our offense is] very dangerous, it’s always dangerous when you have more than one threat on the offense, so that will definitely help open up a lot of things for us,” RB David Hood said about the duel threat the offense presented against ECU.
To add to the offensive threat, plug in the wide receivers. Sophomore Isaiah Wright led the pack with 6 catches for 91 yards and a score. The other receiver hauling in one of Marchi’s TD passes was senior Adonis Jennings, who caught 3 passes for 37 yards and a score.
One receiver seems to be missing though over the last few weeks: junior Ventell Bryant. Bryant hasn’t caught more than 2 passes in a game since the Owls week 2 matchup with Villanova where he caught 7 passes for 79 yards.
Since then, he’s caught the same amount of passes, 7, only totaling 57 yards, all in the last 4 games. Halfway through the season, he’s only caught 14 passes for 136 yards, following a season where he caught 54 passes for 895 yards. Bryant sits at number10 all-time in receptions at Temple, and with 19 more receiving yards, he will be tied for 10th in that category as well.
So, where has Ventell Bryant been in the offense? QB Logan Marchi talks about how to get him going.
“You just got to take what the defense gives you. Ventell is a great player, any time you can get him the ball that what we’re trying to do. His time is coming, we’re going to get him the ball this week and we’re going to get all the receivers the ball this week.”
Defensively, the Owls front 7 continue to produce. Sophomore Shaun Bradley had a team-high 9 tackles, freshman Quincy Roche continued his fine play with 3 tackles and one sack. Senior Jacob Martin had two sacks to go along with two tackles, also getting a sack was senior Sharif Finch, making it a total of 4 sacks on the day for the defense. Junior Delvon Randall continues his impressive play with 5 tackles and 1 INT.
“Most people panic, that’s when pass interference comes into play. Me and [Mike Jones] and the guys we try not to panic and just play through the hands, stuff like that,” Randall said about dropping back into coverage against big, physical opponents.
As for the Huskies, they come into this game after the worst defensive outing in program history, losing to Memphis 70-31. UConn is 1-4 overall and 0-3 in conference play, their lone win coming from a 27-20 victory over Holy Cross, which was their first game of the season. Since then, they’ve gone 0-4 and have been outscored by a total of 83 points by opponents.
Offensively, they’re led by their senior QB Bryant Shirreffs. On the season, he’s completed 94 of 141 passes for a total of 1475 yards, 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Last week Shirreffs went 21-35 for 310 yards and one touchdown. It was his third straight game with 300 yards passing.
Shirreffs leads the AAC in passing yards, 295 yards per game, and is second in pass efficiency, 171.3, which is sixth nationally. The Huskies have averaged 469 yards per game this season.
Leading the rushing attack for UConn is freshman RB Nate Hopkins. Hopkins had a dazzling debut week one against Holy Cross, rushing 20 times racking up 130 yards and scoring 3 touchdowns. Since then, Hopkins has been quiet, averaging 29 yards per game in their last 4 contests, scoring 3 more touchdowns to give him a team high 6 rushing touchdowns.
Also in the backfield for UConn is senior RB Arkeel Newsome. He rushed 9 times last week vs. Memphis for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns, though running the ball hasn’t been Newsome’s biggest threat. On the season, he’s caught 18 passes for 360 yards. His best receiving game coming in week 4 when he racked up 170 yards on 8 receptions and one touchdown.
Another running back the Owls defense could see is freshman Kevin Mensah. His biggest game of the year came against ECU when he rushed 16 times for 107 yards. There’s a lot of personnel the Owls need to look to when studying the backfield this week.
“UConn’s actually a great team, when you really look and study them, they can put up points. Their QB is very good, their running backs are good, receivers are good, they’re a good team so we have to come and be ready to play,” safety Delvon Randall said.
RB Arkeel Newsome leads the Huskies in receptions, but there are a few wide receivers who’ve had nice games thus far. Sophomore Tyler Davis had his best game catching 4 passes for 87 yards. Junior Aaron McLean had a stellar game vs. SMU in week 5 catching 5 passes for 122 yards and one touchdown.
Early on in the season, it seemed junior WR Hergy Mayala was the main target, with 11 receptions for 183 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first 2 games. Since then, he hasn’t recorded a catch. Recently, it seems the most consistent target has been freshman Mason Donaldson. In the last 3 games, he’s recorded 13 receptions for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns. Look for production from just about everybody from this UConn offense, as they clearly like to spread the ball around and get everybody involved.
Defensively, they’re led by senior LB Junior Joseph, who has a team high 45 tackles and one sack on the season. The Huskies defense only has one interception so far, coming from freshman DB Tyler Coyle, who has 20 tackles as well.
Leading the way on the defensive line is senior Cole Ormsby. On the year, Ormsby has 12 tackles, including 3 sacks, to go along with 2 forced fumbles. Helping out Ormsby on the defensive line, is fellow senior Folorunso Fatukasi who has 17 tackles thus far.
In their 3 conference games, the Huskies have allowed the most points scored against them at 160, but have put up 97 points, which is second in the conference in points for during conference play.
Temple has had success against UConn during the team’s meetings, leading the series 12-5. The Owls look to keep their winning success going this weekend when they celebrate homecoming and look to had to the presumably exuberant atmosphere.
The game will kick off from Lincoln Financial Field this Saturday at noon. It will be broadcasted on ESPNews and you can listen in on 97.5 The Fanatic.
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