Temple jumped out to hot start in their season, picking up five wins in the first six games. Coming off a three-game winning streak, they traveled down to Dallas to take on a tough SMU squad who came into the game ranked 16th in the country. The Owls needed to bring their A-game to jump into serious top 25 discussions and pull off an upset. Unfortunately, things were not in their favor. They dropped out to a 10-0 deficit in the first quarter, and by halftime, the lead increased to 17.
SMU later picked up the 45 – 21 win, and Owls were are forced to move on quickly with another crucial game lined up on the schedule. They host the Knights of UCF, under the bright lights of Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday. Both teams have two conference wins on the year and look to jump one another in the standings this weekend. The reigning back to back conference champions pose a fierce threat coming into the game, and the Owls need to be prepared if they hope to come out on top.
“We treat every team the same, but we know there’s a little bit more at stake right now,” said Linebacker Sam Franklin. “Like I said before its championship week from here on out and we want to win the championship. So we know what we have to do to get there.”
UCF comes into the game tied with the Owls at 5 – 2 respectively. With their former conference championship quarterback Mckenzie Milton out for the year with an ACL injury, in stepped their true freshman quarterback Dilon Gabriel whose been turning some heads so far in the season. The talented play-caller has over 2000 yards in the air to go along with his 17 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Surrounding him is an impressive receiving corps led by their junior wideout Gabriel Davis. He’s been hard to cover all year racking up 833 yards and 10 touchdowns in the first 7 games.
“They have guys that are really good at football at almost every position across the board,” Coach Carey told reporters Tuesday. “They play their system on offense and defense and execute at a high level, so it will be a big challenge for us again this Saturday.”
These teams have matched up six times in their history, with UCF taking four of them all time. The Knights are currently on a two-game winning streak against the Temple and in their last matchup, UCF put up big numbers in a shootout taking the victory 52 – 40. UCF has accounted for 97 points in their previous two matchups against Temple, and with both teams capable of putting on impressive offensive displays, the Owls know they need to bring their best effort come this weekend.
“They play hard, and their corners are going to be in our receivers faces playing press coverage.” Anthony Russo told reporters after practice. “I think its a great test for our wideouts. I think it’s going to be one of the best defenses we’ve faced all year, but we’re confident in our gameplan if we go out and execute.”
This matchup will take place at night for a change with a 7 pm start time, Saturday, October 26th. The game will be airing on ESPN2 including WHIP radio and 97.5 the fanatic.