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Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Tale of the Tape: Houston versus Temple


Houston’s defense leads the AAC and is 13th nationally in allowing opponents an average of 117.5 rushing yards per game. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar


Here are a few key matchups to watch for when the No. 19 Houston Cougars take on the No. 22 Temple University Owls for the American Athletic Conference championship.

Greg Ward Jr. vs P.J. Walker

One of the main matchups will be between the two quarterbacks. Ward has led the Cougars this season through the air and in the rush. With a 158.6 passer rating, Ward has completed 69.3 percent of his passes, amassed 2,502 yards, throwing 16 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Ward is also a force in the ground-game, with 893 total yards on 161 rushes and 12 touchdowns. Ward is averaging 208.5 yards per game passing and 74.4 on the ground.

Temple’s quarterback P.J. Walker leads his team with 2,450 yards through the air. Walker has a 129.74 passer rating, with a 56.8 completion percentage, with 18 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He also has an average of 204.2 yards per game, while also gaining 151 yards on the ground on 66 attempts.

Ward is the more efficient passer with more yards through the air and on the ground, which I think means he wins the matchup of the quarterbacks.

Kenneth Farrow/ Brandon Wilson vs Jahad Thomas

In the battle of the running backs we’ll see two running backs who can move the ball efficiently and get in the end zone, along with a new member of the Cougar backfield, Brandon Wilson. Houston running back Kenneth Farrow is averaging 86.3 yards per game, with 949 yards on 182 carries and 12 touchdowns.

Temple running back Jahad Thomas is averaging 99 yards per game, and has a total of 1,188 yards on 249 carries with 17 touchdowns.

The x factor in this matchup will be cornerback turned running back Brandon Wilson, who spent last week against Navy running the backfield. Wilson was able to gain 111 yards on 22 carries last week, while also rushing for two touchdowns.

The matchup of the running backs will be tough, yet if Wilson plays as well as he did last week, he will help Farrow win the matchup.

Elandon Roberts vs Tyler Matakevich

Last, but certainly not least, will be the matchup between the linebackers. Running the defensive backfield for Houston is linebacker Elandon Roberts. Roberts has 127 total tackles with six sacks and one interception. He also has four pass breakups and six quarterback hits.

Tyler Matakevich dominates the defensive backfield for Temple. He has 118 total tackles with 14 for a loss. Matakevich has 4.5 sacks and is also Temple’s leader in interception with five. He has five pass breakups with only one quarterback hit.

Roberts and Matakevich both control their defensive backfields. However, I think that Roberts, along with the Cougar defense, take more control and win this matchup.

Houston will have a tough matchup in the conference championship. However, I think the offense comes out strong and helps Houston win the championship.

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