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Friday, July 19, 2019

Football

Round table: Cougars look to bounce back against Temple


Cougars

The Cougars struggled on offense. Kyle Allen was benched in the fourth quarter of the game in a 27-24 loss against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

The Cougars have some soul-searching to do this week after a stunning 27-24 loss against the Texas Tech.

Many questions remain for head coach Major Applewhite, including who will lead the offense on the road against the Temple Owls on Saturday. Quarterback Kyle Allen’s expectations came crashing down after a performance that left a lot to be desired.

Now, the Cougars are looking to bounce back against the Owls as they travel to Philadelphia and take on their first conference opponent this season. The Cougar’s sports staff discusses the loss and predicts how the Cougars will perform against Temple.

Sports editor Frank Campos

The Cougars need a win on the road as badly as I need to get my grades together this semester. After an unorthodox start to the season and two straight wins, the Cougars were flying high going into the game against the Red Raiders.

They seem to have flown a little too close to the sun and came tumbling down, thanks to the Red Raider offense and defense, which made quick work of the Cougars.

Kyle Allen found himself on the bench in the fourth quarter with two interceptions against the Raiders after completing 31 of 33 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns against the Rice Owls.

The Temple Owls have not fared so well themselves this year and are 2-2 this season after getting hammered 43-7 by South Florida. The Owls finished the game with six turnovers and not much life on offense, scoring one touchdown through four quarters.

Head coach Major Applewhite has a big choice on his hands at quarterback and still isn’t sure who will be under center against the Owls, but I don’t think it will matter.

If the defense can be as dominant as they have shown they can be, then it should be a relatively easy game for the Cougars no matter who is under center. If they can fix the play-calling on offense and give the quarterback easy third downs, then the Cougars should cruise to a double-digit victory against the Owls.

Assistant sports editor Reagan Earnst

Traveling to Philadelphia to play the Temple Owls following a heartbreaking loss against Texas Tech will prove to raise the moral of the team as they enter conference play. Because uncertainty at the quarterback position and inconsistency on offense raise questions about the Cougars’ ability to put points on the board, Houston will dominate on defense to secure the win.

The Cougars entered their game against Texas Tech with one of the top defenses in the nation, but their shaky showing has some fans worried.

For many teams, allowing 528 yards of offense and having five turnovers against Texas Tech would indicate a blowout of epic proportions, but the Cougars’ defense surrendered only 27 points — just three of which came off Houston turnovers — against one of the most efficient offenses in the country.

The same cannot be said for Temple.

An average of 17 points per game places them 117th among the 130 FBS schools in the category. The Owls have not found any way to produce in the run game and are among the worst running offenses in all of college football.

Fortunately for Houston, stopping the run has not been an issue in recent years. Prior to giving up 200 rush yards to the Red Raider on Saturday, Houston was a top-10 team in run defense.

When all the dust settles, I think the Owls’ offense cannot overcome the Cougars’ defense. Houston will leave Philadelphia with a 31-7 victory.

Assistant sports editor Peter Scamardo

As the Cougars attempt to bounce back, they will face a tough test in Temple’s defense. When Matt Rhule left to become Baylor’s head coach, Geoff Collins filled the void.

Before coming to Temple, Collins was coaching SEC defenses for seven years — first at Alabama, then at Mississippi State and finally at Florida. For a team that has lost multiple defensive leaders to the NFL, Collins was the perfect fit to carry on the defensive prowess of the Owls.

But at the moment, the Owls are struggling. Their last game against South Florida saw the Owls surrender 43 points and only score seven. Their only wins include an eight-point win at Massachusetts and a three-point win at Villanova.

The team hit a brick wall in the form of South Florida, but that means they will come out strong Saturday against the Cougars. Playing at home in Philadelphia, the Owls will be motivated.

But given Temple’s offensive struggles, the Cougars should leave Philadelphia with a win.

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