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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Football

Homecoming game against Temple crucial for Houston


Senior linebacker Roman Brown would benefit greatly from junior defensive tackle Ed Oliver’s return to the field, as the line would open up for Brown to put pressure on the offense. | Corbin Ayres/The Cougar

 

Houston returns to action Saturday night against the Temple Owls at 6 p.m. at TDECU Stadium and will be looking to rebound from its loss to SMU.

Houston still controls its ability to reach the American Athletic Conference Championship Game on Dec. 1, and a win against Temple is crucial for Major Applewhite’s team. The Owls are coming off a loss against No. 11 UCF.

UH will be led by its athletic junior quarterback D’Eriq King, who has 2578 passing yards this season, ranking him No. 1 in the conference and No. 13 in the nation. King has also recorded 42 touchdowns this season, 30 with his arm and 12 on the ground.

Paired with King’s three most frequent receivers, sophomore Marquez Stevenson, junior Keith Corbin and junior Courtney Lark, the Owls defense will have their hands full of competition. The three have recorded 22 touchdowns and 1868 yards thus far this season.

While the offensive capabilities of UH are the talking point of the matchup, the defensive tendencies for Temple could make this meeting all the more interesting.

Senior defensive tackle Michael Dogbe will be the leading figure for the Owls defensively, as the 280-pounder has recorded 23 tackles through nine games with six being sacks. Dogbe has also forced three fumbles this season, the second most in the AAC.

The lifeline of Temple’s offense will be their leading rusher, senior Ryquell Armstead. Despite missing two games this season with an ankle injury, Armstead has recorded impressive stats, notching 768 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

Even more importantly, as the Owls face a tough test in Houston, Armstead steps up in big games, accounting for 313 yards and four touchdowns in Temple’s two games against ranked opponents in Boston College and UCF.

As for the Cougars, the defensive success will stem directly from probable top-five draft pick Ed Oliver.

The junior defensive tackle has missed Houston’s last two games with a knee injury, and with Armstead on the other side of the ball, the Cougars could certainly use their star lineman Saturday night.

Through his seven games this season, Oliver has recorded 27 tackles, including three sacks. The Houston native has also forced one fumble.

Along with Oliver, senior linebacker Austin Robinson has seen tremendous success defensively. With 50 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles, Robinson can push the Cougar defense to success even if Oliver misses his third straight game.

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