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UCF Knights vs. Temple Owls Preview & Prediction

Two teams with matching records meet in an elimination game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 19 Temple at SMU Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Date: Saturday, October 26, 2019

Kickoff Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Watch: ESPN2

All-Time Series: UCF leads, 4-2

Last Meeting: 11/1/18. UCF 52 - Temple 40

Betting Lines: UCF -10.5, O/U 60

UCF Knights Outlook

The Knights are coming off a win over ECU in which they jumped out to a 35-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Gabriel Davis hauled in a touchdown pass from Dillon Gabriel and Darriel Mack, and Gabriel opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run in the 41-28 win.

Gabriel has thrown for exactly 2,000 yards, completing 60.2 percent of his passes. The true freshman has 17 passing touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s also had a pair of touchdowns on the ground. UCF is the No. 2 total offense (553.6 yards) and No. 5 in scoring (44.3 points) in the FBS.

The passing game gets a lot of the attention, but it is the UCF rushing attack that gets this offense going. It’s pick your poison at the position with Greg McCrae, Otis Anderson, Adrian Killins and Bentavious Thompson all averaging over five yards per carry and a combined 15 touchdowns between the group. Davis, the star receiver who is sure to play in the NFL, is the centerpiece of the passing game with 47 receptions for 833 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The defense is no slouch either with Nate Evans and Richie Grant wrecking havoc for opposing teams. The group has 15 sacks and forced 12 turnovers thus far. They are getting off the field on third downs, ranked 8th in the nation in third down conversion defense.

Temple Owls Outlook

Going on the road has been rough on the Owls. Both losses have come away from The Linc and they were sluggish against ECU as well. Temple punted on six of their seven first half possessions as the SMU Mustangs continued their magical run in the 45-21 win. The Owls were 4-of-16 on third down and limited to 69 yards rushing on 33 carries.

Anthony Russo continues to be the starter, but Temple continues to mix in Todd Centeio at various points during the game. Russo has thrown for 1,674 yards and 14 touchdowns with six interceptions. Centeio is more a threat with his legs, but is 14-of-17 for 208 yards and a touchdown in his limited work.

Despite a horrific performance last week, the ground game is the catalyst of the Owls offense. Re’Mahn Davis has 629 yards and five touchdowns, while Jager Gardner has 392 yards and four touchdowns rushing.

Russo has three wide receivers that are posting similar numbers this season. Isaiah Wright has 40 receptions for 380 yards and a team-high five receiving touchdowns. Jadan Blue leads the Owls in receptions with 42 for 529 yards and a pair of scores. Branden Mack has 38 catches for 525 yards and four touchdowns.

The 45 points allowed against SMU were a season high as the Owls have been one of the better defenses in the country. They rank second in the FBS in red zone defense, 19th in pass efficiency defense and 23rd in third down conversion defense. Temple will need the defense to have it’s best game yet to contain the Knights.


Temple is back in a familiar position of being a home underdog. They took the first two games against Maryland and Memphis, clamping down on both high-scoring offenses in the process. They kept last year’s meeting close in the first half, before the Knights were able to pull away.

Despite their record, UCF is still the most prolific team in the conference. They are in a class of their own, and similar to last week, the Owls won’t have an answer for the Knights potent offense. UCF will keep their slim chances of returning to the conference championship game alive with a win on the road.

UCF 38 - Temple 28