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Temple Forgetting Penn State, Shifting Focus to Cincinnati

The Owls are fresh off beating Penn State for the first time in 74 years and have momentum heading into Week 2. Their second matchup also is daunting as Cincinnati is an AAC powerhouse.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Z's "On to the Next One" adequately describes the mindset of Temple's coaches and players after enjoying a state of nirvana last Saturday. Don't bring up Penn State to Matt Rhule and the rest of the Owls roster. They have a new focus in mind as they travel to Cincinnati Saturday.

Matt Rhule stressed last week to his team to focus on yourselves as players and not worry about the opponent. The third-year head coach focused on preparation leading up to the AAC showdown:

"We will be ready. That I'm not worried about. It's just, is ready good enough? This is a really good team; this is a really dynamic offense. We'll be ready to play - we'll be ready to battle - who plays the best wins."

It was evident the Owls outplayed Penn State in the second half en route to a major upset. Temple is going to have to maintain that focus and drive in order to take down another favorite in the Bearcats. Last year, Cincinnati won an offensive struggle at the Linc, 14-6, as their defense locked onto the Owls who struggled all game to create consistent offense.

Rhule talked Tuesday about the inefficiency against the AAC East division foe and their tendencies on the field:

"Last year I think they were kind of shutting us down. They were able to run the ball and coach (Eddie) Gran is a great offensive coordinator. They did a great job of saying 'ok this is what we're going to do to win the game'. We had to move the ball, but we couldn't score in the red zone. We know, two years ago, they went high-tempo on sand wore us out so last year wasn't as much tempo as we were prepared for it to be. That will be a real key, if our kids can handle that fast tempo that they have. Penn State went up-tempo against us early and it had us off guard. Not schematically, but our players were panicking a little bit. I think they've had all off-season to prepare. I know they'll have a great plan and they'll go fast."

Cincinnati has a history of high-powered offenses and relies on one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. Temple wasn't let off the hook against formidable QBs. Cincy's Gunner Kiel leads an explosive attack as a junior and has returning weapons in both Mekale McKay and Shaq Washington.

Cincy also features a three-headed monster at tailback in Tion Green, Hosey Williams and Mike Boone who all had a rushing touchdown in their season opener against Alabama State. Rhule talked about how Green and Co. ran all over the Owls a couple of seasons ago.

Corners Tavon Young and Sean Chandler have little time to recover from an emotional victory as they face explosive wideouts two weeks in a row. However, Chandler is ready for the battle:

"We know it's going to be a challenge, but we're just going to go out there and play football. We're just going to watch film and do everything that we do every week."

A guy who lives in the film room and has been a vital senior leader arguably had the biggest came of his career last week. Tyler Matakevich was repetitively in the Penn State backfield Saturday racking up sacks and charging up the Cherry and White.

Like Chandler, Matakevich also is amped to take on the Bearcats and get one step further to reaching his first bowl game:

"They're one of the most high-powered offenses in the country. Definitely as a defensive guy, you love to go up against a challenge like that. We're really looking forward to this opportunity and we're not going to let it pass us by."

Rhule constantly referred to Matakevich, last week, as a guy who gets his teammates ready for game action and focused on their immediate goals. Temple's keying in on Cincinnati as the 'who's next?' mentality continues for the Owls.