The Temple Owls come into this game reeling after three straight losses, all of the blowout fashion, to Big East opponents. With their record sitting at 3-5 and 2-3 in the Big East, this team is struggling to say the least. However, as with most Big East teams, they cannot be taken lightly and do have some talent on the offensive side of the ball. That talent starts with quarterback Chris Coyer. The Owls signal caller is a true dual threat option, rushing for 410 yards and two touchdowns while passing for 890 yards and eight touchdowns. Coyer is by far the biggest threat on this Temple team, and holding him in check will be crucial for the Cincinnati defense. At running back, the Owls have Montel Harris leading the way. The senior from Jacksonville leads the team in rushing with 578 yards on 121 carries and two touchdowns. In looking at their offense, they really do not have much of a passing attack, relying heavily on the rushing game to move the ball. Coyer does a solid job of running the read option, meaning the UC defense will have to know their assignments and stay disciplined. It all comes down to Coyer. Stop him, and you should be fine.
The Temple defense is very much a middle of the road type of unit. Ranking 87th in pass defense and 66th in rush defense, the Owls are not terrible on the defensive side of the ball, but they're not great either. The defense is led by N.D. Smith, who comes in with over 60 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss. The last three games, however, have not been kind to this group. After hanging around with Louisville for the first quarter, the Owls ended up getting blown out 45-17 the rest of the way. Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had a career day, throwing for five touchdown passes. Attacking the secondary early is key to opening up the defense, letting the vaunted Cincinnati rushig attack take over.
UC's game plan
While we're still not sure who will be starting at quarterback for UC, we know who will be starting at running back, and that should be enough to get the Cincinnati offense going early. George Winn is coming off of a career day last week against Syracuse, rushing for 165 yards and three touchdowns. The Temple defense should really pose no threat to the rushing attack of the Bearcats, and I expect Winn and Ralph Abernathy IV to get going early. If the rushing attack struggles, Munchie Legaux or Brendon Kay will have to open up the passing attack a bit. Luckily, with Kay being a senior, there shouldn't be much drop-off. Kay is a senior and has been in this offense for four years, and Legaux has obviously started quite a few games this season and last. Either way, I expect Cincinnati to come out and run the ball early and often, putting together long drives and tiring the Temple defense. I expect a big day on the ground from the Bearcats.