ORLANDO, Fla. – UCF treks to Philadelphia this weekend for a chance to taste redemption on Saturday, lining up against the Temple Owls – the reigning American Athletic Conference Champion.
Temple left a rotten taste in the mouth of UCF fans last season. The Owls stole a 26-25 victory from the good guys as time expired, capping off a four play, 70-yard drive with an eight-yard dagger into the heart of the home team.
It’s another chance for UCF to savor the sweet taste of redemption, having already erased the 2016 Maryland loss. This game is shaping up to be the harshest environment UCF has dealt with in their undefeated run, forecasted for a game played under the threat of rain in the chilly range of fifty-degree weather.
Luckily, revenge is a dish best served cold.
Owls’ Revamped Offense
Temple is not striking fear into the heart of any opponent by scoring 23.6 points per game, but has improved recently since Quarterback Frank Nutile was given the keys to the kingdom.
Nutile is 2-1 as a starter, completing 67 0f 103 attempts for 883 yards, 6 touchdowns and three interceptions in thee games as the No. 1 quarterback. Temple has put up 30+ points in consecutive games for the only time this season under Nutile’s leadership, scoring 34 against Navy and 35 against Cincinnati last week.
Temple’s running game has come on as of late under the direction of their two heavy-set backs, with Armstead recording 205 yards and two touchdowns in the past three weeks. Up-and-coming running back David Hood broke out in his last game for 108 yards and a touchdown as well, seemingly taking the starting gig for himself.
Hood has outcarried Armstead 30-18 in the past two games.
Stingy Scoring Defense
The Owls own the conference’s No. 3 total overall defense and No. 4 scoring defense. Ranking so high in the conference looks great on paper, but the Owls aren’t doing anything spectacular to teams on defense.
Philly’s hometown team is keeping opponents to just 2.45 less points per game than they score on average. Temple has kept opponents in their lane but hasn’t stopped any high-powered offenses in their tracks.
It will be the Temple safeties challenging Milton and company the most at The Link, as the starting duo consistently lead the team in tackles and have recorded five interceptions.
Wide Receiver Rotation
Nutile has found comradery with a core of four receivers since his emergence as the starting quarterback. Jeremy Jennings, Keith Kirkwood and Isiah Wright all have hauled in over a hundred yards worth of production from the junior, and Bryant Ventell has eight catches for 91 yards while starting just two of the three past games.
Kirkwood is the only receiver to have caught touchdowns in the past two games, but Jennings has the group’s only multi-score game in the span since the offensive remodel. Isiah Wright has