Date: Saturday, November 30, 2019
Kickoff Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Watch: CBS Sports Network
All-Time Series: Temple leads, 13-6
Last Meeting: 11/24/18. Temple 57 - UConn 7
Betting Lines: Temple -27.5, O/U 48.5
UConn Huskies (2-9, 0-7) Outlook
The Huskies have reached the finish line for their time in the American Athletic Conference. UConn will leave for football independence after failing to win a conference game the last two seasons.
Last week’s game with ECU was in reach as UConn was in the red zone in the final minute to potentially tie the game, but quarterback Jack Zergiotis threw a fourth-down interception to end the comeback bid. It was their best chance to snap their conference losing streak, which is now at 18 games.
Zergiotis threw for 418 yards in the loss, the third most in school history. His 94-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Cam Ross in the fourth quarter was the second longest touchdown pass in the history of the program as well. The freshman has thrown for 1,532 yards with eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
UConn’s offense is based around running back Kevin Mensah, who is seven yards away from consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. His 1,084 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns lead the team. Mensah was the lone bright spot for the Huskies in last year’s meeting with 94 yards on 24 carries.
Ross is the team leader in every receiving category with 55 receptions for 696 yards and four touchdowns. Art Thompkins is second on the team in carries (92), rushing yards (450) and receptions (38). Thompkins also has four total touchdowns on the year. UConn is last in the AAC in scoring offense at 19.1 points per game.
The defense is not as dreadful as the 2018 version, but the Huskies are last in the AAC in scoring defense once again. They are allowing 39.7 points per game and have been out of games quickly for the most part.
Temple Owls (7-4, 4-3) Outlook
The Owls are coming off a demoralizing loss to Cincinnati last week that eliminated them from a shot at the conference championship. If it was not for a blocked extra point, Temple would be playing a meaningful game to end the regular season.
The focus for Temple will be sending their senior class off in style. This is the second consecutive class that will play in four straight bowl games, and the fifth year the Owls will play in a bowl game. They have been bowl eligible for six straight seasons, the longest in school history. Temple should face little resistance from UConn in a game which the Owls can set several single-season records.
Running back Jager Gardner unfortunately will not be participating in the Senior Day festivities after breaking his ankle in last week’s loss to Cincinnati. He was having the best season of his collegiate career, and will finish the year with 585 yards and five touchdowns rushing. True freshman Re’Mahn Davis leads the Owls in rushing (795 yards) and will carry the load this week and moving forward.
Wide receiver Jadan Blue has etched his name in the Temple history books. His 80 receptions is a school record, and he is 41 yards away from passing Gerald Lucear’s single-season receiving yards record. Blue has gone over 100 yards receiving in five games, the most by any player in the conference. Owls receivers have combined for 10 100-yard receiving games, tied for fifth in the FBS.
Temple will use two quarterbacks in the game. Anthony Russo will get most of the reps, but Todd Centeio will also see action. They have combined for 2,799 passing yards and 22 touchdown passes. Russo is three touchdowns shy of matching Philip Walker (2016) and Brian Broomwell (1979) for most passing touchdowns in a season with 22.
Defense has been Temple’s calling card over this six-year run and defensive end Quincy Roche is making a serious case for AAC Defensive Player of the Year. The junior has eight sacks the last three weeks, and 11 on the season which is tied for fifth best in the nation. He is two sacks away from matching Adrian Robinson’s single-season school record, which was set in 2009.
It will be the last home game for the Owls stellar trio at linebacker. Chapelle Russell, Sam Franklin and Shaun Bradley have all been vital to Temple’s defensive prowess. The group has 184 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, nine pass defended, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and a touchdown.
UConn is not going to stun anyone in their last AAC game. Temple will send them out with 19 consecutive conference losses and do it convincingly.
Temple 41 - UConn 13