When: 11/29, 1:00
Last Week: SU
Returning Starters: 12
Last Week: Pitt
Returning Starters: 10
Last Meeting: 2002
Common Opponents to Date:
WVU - Tim Brown (Achilles) Out, Jahmile Addae (Shoulder) Out, Fred Blueford (Knee) Out, Pat Liebig (Knee) Out, Quincy Wilson (Ankle) Questionable, Mike Lorello (Foot) Questionable.
Temple - None.
WVU 7-4, 5-1
TU 1-10, 0-6
Sat: 11/29 1:00 pm
Series: WVU leads 22-12
Sagarin: WVU-37 TU-122
Line: WVU -21
Stats & Trends
It doesn't take long to realize why the Owls have lost ten games to this point in the season. Quite frankly, the defense has been offensive. The Temple defense allowed a league worst 31.6 points per game and his given up a total of 441.6 yards on the ground and through the air.
Leading the Owl defense has been All Big-East candidate linebacker Rian Wallace. The sophomore from Pottstown Pa., has recorded a team leading 138 tackles, ranking him second in the Big East behind only WVU's Grant Wiley. Wallace also leads the team with 17.5 tackles for loss, six pass breakups and two fumble recoveries. Flanking Wallace is in Temple's 4-2-5 defensive scheme is Troy Bennett. Bennett has had a productive senior season, accumulating 79 tackles and 1 sack.
Unlike the linebacker position, the defensive front four has struggled under defensive coordinator Raymond Monica. The leader of this foursome has been Taso Apostolidis. The hometown product has totaled 43 tackles, and has been the most consistent performer this season. Joining Apostolidis will be Mike Medenhall, Adam Fichter and Christian Dunbar. The trio has had limited experience, it has showed by the lack of pressure applied on opposing quarterbacks. Mendenhall, Fichter and Dunbar have combined 72 stops and four and a half quarterback sacks.
The Temple defensive backfield includes five defensive backs, not unlike WVU's 3-3-5 stack alignment. Yazid Jackson is completing his final campaign for the Cherry and White and is viewed as the leader of the secondary. Jackson is second on the team with 83 tackles and has amassed six pass breakups, two forced fumbles and an interception. Teaming with Jackson at the safety position is Sadeke Konte, a junior from Albuquerque N.M. Konte has been solid on run support, recording 48 tackles and has added four sacks. Manning the cornerback spots are Pete McBride and Ray Lamb. Neither corner is over 6' tall, and both have been susceptible to the long pass all season. McBride and Lamb could have a hard time defending against WVU's tall receivers. The cornerback duo have combined for 75 tackles on the season. Lawrence Wade rounds out the defensive backfield, handling the spur position. Wade has racked up 69 stops along with two sacks and one interception.
WVU ranks 53rd in total offense (386.91 yds/game), 14th in rushing offense (218.09 yds/game) and 102nd in passing offense (168.82 yds/game).
Temple ranks 102nd in total defense (441.64 yds/game), 103rd in rushing defense (202.27 yds/game) and 105th in passing efficiency defense (146.09 rating).
WVU defense vs. Temple offense
This will be the key matchup to determining the outcome of this Saturday's game. The Owl offense has seen a resurgence in output with the emergence of sophomore quarterback Walter Washington. The product of Dodge City Community College has lead the Owl offense with 657 yards in the last two contests against Virginia Tech and Pitt. Washington is a big quarterback with a strong arm that can either run or throw over the defense. On the season the Daytona Beach native has completed 93 of 174 passes. Washington has only been intercepted three times while completing eight passes for touchdowns.
Carrying the ball out of the backfield will be a pair of capable running backs, Makonnen Fenton and Umar Ferguson. Fenton and Ferguson have combined 6 touchdowns and 67 yards per game. The pair have combined to average a respectable 4.2 yards per carry but are often end up as pass blockers and the Owls try to make up late game deficits.
Catching Washington's bullets will be a pack of athletic receivers. Zamir Cobb leads the group with 71 receptions, 825 yards and fvie touchdowns. Opposite Cobb is 6'3" Vallejo, CA., native Phill Goodman. Goodman has been a dependable target since coming to Temple University from Sacramento Community College, averaging 14.4 yards per reception and pulling down five touchdown passes. Rounding out the rotation has been Ikey Chuku and Jamal Harris. Chuku and Harris have teamed for 33.5 yards per game.
By the numbers:
WVU ranks 65th in total defense (383.45 yds/game), 31st in rushing defense (126.55 yds/game) and 48th in passing efficiency defense (118.61).
Temple ranks 82nd in total offense (344.45 yds/game), 98th in rushing offense (114.82 yds/game) and 42nd in passing (229.64 yds/game).
WVU special teams vs. Temple special teams
West Virginia should hold a decided edge on special teams. The Owls have had a solid season returning punt and kicks but have struggled mightily when it comes to punting and kicking.
Jared Davis, the Owl kicker, has had a disappointing senior season, missing 12 out of his 22 attempts, with a long boot of 42 yards. The Saunderstown, Rhode Island native has also missed three of his 22 extra point attempts. Teaming with Davis on special teams is sophomore punter Mike McLaughlin. McLaughlin took over the punting duties midway through the season and has improved the team's fortunes, averaging 40.8 yards, but the team is still ranked 90th in the nation in net punting.
Returning punts for the Owls will be Zamir Cobb. Cobb, a senior from Washington D.C., has had a good career for Temple and is capping it off with a solid final season. Cobb has returned only 18 punts but has gained 203 yards for an average of 11.3 yards, including a 74-yard return against Middle Tennessee State.
Bringing back kickoffs for the Cherry and White will be a pair of speedy Owls. Makonnen Fenton and Jamil Porter has shared duties throughout the season and have combined to average 22.1 yards per return. Porter is more of a threat to take a return to the house but Fenton should be capable of finding a seam, seeing that he is also the starting tailback.
By the numbers:
WVU ranks 73rd in net punting (34.93 yds/punt), 9th in kick returns (24.20 yds/return) and 23rd in punt returns (12.18 yds/return).
Temple ranks 90th in net punting (33.73 yds/punt), 40th in kick returns (21.83 yds/return) and 35th in punt returns (11.28 yds/return)
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On Offense: Kay Jay Harris
On Defense: Scott "Beef" Gyorko
* The Owl's last winning season was 1990 when they were 7-4.
* Temple's last post season experience was the 1979 Garden State Bowl, a 28-17 victory over California.
* Temple began as a night school for "ambitious young people of limited means"...thus the beginning of the Owl as its nickname.
* 38% of Temple's roster hails from the Keystone State.
* The average size of a player on the Temple roster is 6' 1" and 229 lbs., comparing to 6' 1" and 218 lbs for WVU.
Be sure to check out our Stats & Trends section for lots more matchup information!
Let's be honest. If the Mountaineers come into Saturday's contest against the Temple Owls focused on the task at hand, the Blue and Gold will finish the regular season riding a seven game winning streak. On the other hand, if West Virginia has thoughts of gators or oranges dancing in their heads this game could become very uncomfortable for the home team. My guess is that WVU comes in focused on Senior Day and knocks off these nocturnal birds of prey.
WVU - 38 Temple - 17