Football Sports

The opposition: Previewing UH against Temple

UH has a chance to clinch a spot in the AAC Championship game with a win over Temple on Saturday. | Courtesy of UH athletics

UH has a chance to clinch a spot in the AAC Championship game with a win over Temple on Saturday. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Houston has a chance to clinch a spot in the American Athletic Conference title game on Saturday, as the Cougars travel to Philadelphia to take on Temple.

Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s showdown:

Owls offense

The Temple offense, which has averaged 18.22 points per game through nine games, features a lot of young, inexperienced players.

Two freshman quarterbacks have taken significant snaps behind center for the Owls this season.

D’Wan Mathis, a Georgia transfer, has spent the majority of the time as the Owls starting quarterback and leads the team in passing yards, with 1,223, and touchdowns, with six.

Justin Lynch has appeared in eight games on the year, making two starts for the Owls, and has for 512 yards and three touchdowns. Lynch is also second on the team in rushing, tallying 210 yards on the ground.

Edward Saydee, another freshman, is the Owls feature back. Saydee leads the Owls in carries, 52, and rushing yards, with 252.

Randle Jones leads the Owls in receiving with 29 receptions for 398 yards and three touchdowns followed closely by Jose Barbon who has hauled in 28 catches for 370 yards and two scores.

Owls defense

The Temple defense has struggled mightily all season, giving up 30 or more points in six of its nine games this season.

The Owls’ defensive problems stem from their trouble defending the run, as Temple has the 123rd ranked rushing defense in the FBS giving up an average of 221.4 yards on the ground per contest.

While Temple has struggled to defend the run, the Owls have been solid against the pass, ranking No. 7 in the nation in pass defense.

Temple’s top three tacklers all come from the safety position as M.J. Griffin, Alex Odom and Amir Tyler have combined for 140 tackles.

How does UH match up with Temple?

Expect UH to establish the run game early with the duo of Alton McCaskill and Ta’Zhawn Henry, who are both coming off 100-plus yard performances in the Cougars win over USF last weekend.

Quarterback Clayton Tune has been dialed-in lately but will be tested by the Temple secondary that has held its ground all season.

Defensively, the Cougars are coming off a game in which they were unable to record a sack so pay attention to UH’s front-seven to make some noise early on.

How to watch

Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. on ESPN+. The game can also be listened to on KPRC 950 AM.

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