As we make our way towards the end of the 2022 Season, the Bearcats face their last regular season road test at the desolate Lincoln Financial Field against Bill Cosby’s Temple Owls (4PM ESPNU). Will the Bearcats be able to avenge their 2018 loss in Philly? Or will the Owls derail the Bearcats Cotton Bowl Hopes? The Bearcats look to finish off with a win against another opponent they might never see again.
Note: Actual Size of Dontay Corleone
Walk the Plank
The Bearcats had another frustrating performance last Friday night at Nippert Stadium, but appearances by Sauce Garnder and Desmond Ridder were enough to send ECU back to Greenville with a 27-25 loss. Jadon Thompson was the star of the game, ripping a kick off return away from his teammate and to the endzone to take a 7-5 lead after a disastrous start to the game. Bryant was once again frustrating, only completing 14/30 passes, but for 244 yards and 2 TDs along with an interception and a safety. The running game was only able to get 66 yards on 26 attempts.
RB Keaton Mitchell was as good as advertised, rushing 16 times for 112 yards and a TD before being knocked out on a hard hit from Bryon Threats. ECU Head Coach Mike Houston was once again crying after a loss at Nippert Stadium.
“That was a pretty dirty play. There wasn’t any effort to make a play on the ball right there. That was trying to take him out.”
16th year Senior Holton Ahlers was echoing his head coach in the post game:
“I 100% think they were trying to take him out, it was a dirty play, and they’re known for that so that’s all I’m going to comment on that.”
Ahlers ends his career 0-5 against the Bearcats despite his team having a lead going into the 4th Quarter. The Bearcat seemed to have knocked a few high profile players out of games, John Rhys Plumlee, Tanner Mordecai, and now Mitchell. However, the hit on the Mitchell is the only one that was flagged. Fortunately for the Bearcats, the only way they’ll be seeing the Pirates in the future, is in a Bowl Game.
Free for Owl
This will be the 24th meet up between the Bearcats and Owls, with the Bearcats looking for their 10th win. The Bearcats have won the last two against the Owls, both at Nippert Stadium. The Bearcats last trip to Philadelphia in 2018 ended up with a 27-24 Bearcats loss that was the subject of some controversy. The Bearcats kicked a tying field goal, but it was waved off by the referees, claiming the game was still at a commercial break, despite the fact it was live. Also, Penn Station has better cheesesteaks than anywhere in Philly, fight me.
Last year’s match-up against Temple was a rough one for the Owls. The Bearcats won 52-3 in the largest margin of victory for either team in the series. Desmond Ridder threw for 3 TDs and Jerome Ford rushed for 2 in a total blowout. The Bearcats offense scored 35 unanswered points in the second half and the Blackcats defense forced three turnovers to send the Owls soaring back to Philly with a loss.
Are They Terribowl?
This year’s Temple team hosts our Bearcats, 3-7 on the season and 1-5 in Conference play. Their lone win came against South Florida 54-28. The Owls Offense took flight in November, having scored 90 points in their last two games. Freshman QB E.J. Warner, son of NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, has been on fire in November. He’s passed for 71.6% completion on 69-95 passing, 830 yards, 5 TDs and 1 INT. Fortunately for the Bearcats, they’ve managed to find a team on their schedule who struggles rushing the ball. The Owls are 125th in the country in rushing per game, averaging 90.6 yards on the ground, nearly 40 yards worse per game on the ground than the Bearcats. It appears that Temple’s Offensive Line has managed to keep E.J. upright, they’ve only allowed 9 sacks on the year, good for 8th in the country, but are 45th in the country in tackles for loss allowed. If the Bearcats have the same success they’ve had against pocket passers, it should be a rough day for E.J. Warner, who has thrown 9 interceptions to go along with his 13 TDs on the year.
Defensively, Temple is about average in yards per game, #67 overall, allowing 377.2. They are 80th overall in points per game, allowing an average of 27.9. On paper, their pass defense looks elite, having only allowed 181.2 yards per game, but they played 3 teams with run first offenses. Their passing efficiency on defense is #102 in the country. If there was ever an opportunity to get the running game going, it’s this week against Temple, who are #115 in the country allowing 196 yards on the ground per game. They are in the same territory as SMU, USF, and Tulsa in rushing yards allowed, which happened to be UC’s 3 best games rushing the ball. If the Bearcats can get the ball going on the ground, it’s going to be a long day for the Owls. If not, Ben Bryant is going to have to test the Owls defense.