Date: Saturday, September 30th
Kickoff Time: 11:00am CT
Location: Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia, PA)
Line: Houston -13.5
Series Record: Houston leads 5-0
Well. Last week is over. The silver lining in the loss was that Houston could have easily won that game, but five turnovers ultimately were too much to overcome.
Turnovers. All of them were self-inflicted, which proves that the Cougars could be 3-0. But they’re not, and Temple won’t feel bad for them, so we move on.
There’s still a lot to like about this Houston team, and there were plenty of positives to take away from last week. For starters, this is the best defense in the conference, and it’s not just because of Ed Oliver. His fellow lineman like Nick Thurman, Reggie Chevis, and even freshman Payton Turner are relieving pressure and allowing him to make plays. Behind them, Matthew Adams looks to be a man on a mission this year, and should have his best statistical year yet. The secondary looks like it’s coming together as well. Giving up 521 yards to Texas Tech isn’t something to be ashamed of. The Red Raiders have a good offense, and it would be insulting to them if you thought they would struggle. Houston’s defense held them to just 27 points, which is what fans should focus on. Now they face an offense that struggled mightily against USF last week.
Expect to see Kyle Allen and Kyle Postma to take meaningful snaps. After Allen’s less-than-impressive performance and Postma’s burst of energy late in the game, both deserve a chance to play. You can’t bench Allen after one game, but you also can’t deny Postma’s production either.
Elsewhere on the offense, the offensive line needs to improve. The run game has appeared better at times, but overall nothing too impressive. Pass blocking against Texas Tech was suspect at times as well. There are plenty of athletes that can do damage to opposing defenses, but the running backs need holes to run through and the quarterbacks need time to get the ball to the receivers. Houston’s offense has what it takes to be one of the best in the conference, but some improvement is needed first.
If you thought Houston struggled in the first quarter (which they did), you should have watched the Owls Thursday night. Quarterback Logan Marchi hadn’t committed a turnover all year until Thursday, and it all unraveled from there. It really all unraveled for Temple as a whole.
Frankly, 85 yards of offense won’t win you anything. Marchi obviously struggled, finishing 3-for-13 for 32 yards and three interceptions. Frank Nutile took over, but didn’t do much better, finishing 5-for-13 for 57 yards and an interception. Marchi hadn’t been getting much support from the run game yet, and this game was even worse. Ryquell Armstead’s struggles continued as he finished with 11 carries for just three yards. Three. He now has just 180 yards this season through four games, and it might be time to find someone else to do the job.
The defense hasn’t been much better so far, as the Owls rank 111th in total defense. Their ability to stop the run has been absent so far, and it’s eventually going to take a toll on the secondary. Sean Chandler and Delvon Randall are two of Temple’s top three tacklers through four games. They play safety. Both are probably needed to make plays to stop the run, but it’s never a good sign when you have two safeties this high on the tackles list.
It’s funny how a year changes the scenery so much. The two teams from this week’s AAC Game of the Week, Memphis and UCF, were fairly average last year. Houston and Temple would have been two of the top teams at this point last year, and this game would have been hyped up more. Temple is 2-2 but could easily be 0-4, and I just don’t see how they can move the ball on Houston’s defense.
My pick: Houston 38 Temple 13
Who wins this AAC matchup?
This poll is closed
Houston Cougars (2-1)
Temple Owls (2-2)